Then I turned twelve. Oh, joy.
It was in that year that my mother decided to spend a year in Illinois, in a town just south of Chicago. Now, please don't think that Chicago, Homewood, or Illinois is a bad place. I'm sure it's a fine area. It's just that for me, at that time, it was quite literally hell. And chief among the reasons was his infernal hellishness, the "reverend" John Scudder. His was a mishmosh brew of hatred of blacks, Asians, Native Americans (!) and everyone else who wasn't white. Oh, and Jews. He couldn't stand Jews.
He even warped the food we ate. The food? Well, are you familiar with the nut called the 'Brazil nut'? Well, not in Scudderland. He delighted in calling them 'nigger toes'. Isn't that just precious? Mix that in with liberal amounts of 'healing' quackery, faithful readings of the National Enquirer, and a haughty tone that rivals the Pope, (oh, I forgot, he's bad too) there you have John Scudder.
Oh, did I mention that donations made to the Pyramid of Light cult, oh, uh, church were entirely tax-deductible???
It's time for this mess to end.
Okay, okay. I know what you're thinking. What about that nice, really unassuming minister, priest, rabbi, or muezzin who only has the best interests of the congregation (and, in the wider sense, the nation and the world) at heart? To be sure, these good people do exist. I do not dispute that. However, there are problematic nettles in which any house of worship finds itself. Let's take the wider Christian church (Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox). And let's say that better churches have housing, food, and/or shelter in their communities. Here's the question: what percent are they giving to the poor? One percent? Ten? Fifty? If you really want to be all nit-picky about it, here's what Jesus said on the subject: "If you want to be perfect, go, sell all your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven." (Matthew 19:21, emphasis mine)
Well, how's our ol' pal Don Wildmon doing? Not bad, not bad. In his latest tax return, Don's doing nicely, thank you. His son Timothy's doing even better. And that's only how they're doing on the Million Moms March.
Now, I have no beef with the Million Moms March. I don't agree with them at all, but hey, this is part of the wonderful life that our zany creators put into place. What I DON'T agree with their tax-free status.
Here is what I propose: tax every house of worship in the United States, liberal, moderate and conservative; black, white, Asian, Native American or whatever combination they so choose, with the following exception-
If a house of worship dedicates to the poor housing, shelter, food and/or clothing, they can use an area
of a building for that purpose tax-free. If the building is multipurpose, only those areas of the building for the express purpose listed above should be tax-free. They must meet the following criteria:
1) If the person expresses a different faith, or no faith, they must nevertheless be welcomed.
2) If the person expresses different clothing attire, they must be welcomed.
3) If a person is offered a holy book but refuses, they must be welcomed.
4) No one should be coerced/cajoled or threatened with expulsion based on their attire.
Is it tough? Yeah. But they'll get used to it.