It appears that the Republicans in the US House of Representatives have begun the process of eliminating the deduction on Federal Income Tax for religious institutions. They have passed a bill that would eliminate the tax deduction for health insurance that provides fro abortion insisting that such a tax deduction is a “government support for abortions”. If their logic is sound (doubtful) then it stands to reason that a tax deduction for religious institutions is also a government support of religion, which I believe is unconstitutional.
I think it has always been a viable argument that religious tax exemption is equal to government promotion. However, politicians are afraid to change anything because in today’s political environment moves against religion are political suicide. The real problem is that religions have too much power, and they have too much power because they have too much money. Their wealth allows them to proselytize and recruit large congregations as well as promote religious dogma in Washington.
This is why I think it’s imperative that the secular community become more militant about this issue. Atheists are wasting valuable media time squabbling over taking god out of the pledge or off the dollar when this is the real issue. And right now, I don’t hear this even being discussed in the mainstream media, and it should be.
What the Republicans are doing now by denying abortion rights to women is very worrisome because the government is now denying health privileges to a group because of religious dogma. This goes beyond government promotion. In fact, I see this as a slide towards theocracy.
When one considers how much influence the evangelical community has over Washington, it is very scary. Particularly if one considers that evangelicals are the same people who believe that the Earth is 6000 years old and that humans lived along side dinosaurs. These are clearly people who will refuse to be persuaded by evidence or facts in order to cling to their flawed and antiquated dogma.
Therefore, I agree with you. By logic, if the Republicans want to deny abortion to women because it represents government promotion of health care then by precedent, they should abolish religious tax exemption. However, I fear that this will not happen because what we are actually seeing is a religious infiltration of the government that will never allow the funds to be cut off. Again, this is why now more than ever, I feel that it is imperative that atheists take a more aggressive stance. Too often when I turn on the T.V. and see a member of the secular community being interviewed or on a talk show, there is no mention of religious tax exemption. They seem to be more concerned with improving the perception of atheists in America or taking god out of the pledge of allegiance. While these issues are also important, I see them as symptoms of the greater problem that is the wealth that religious institutions are able to accrue in order to promote their ideologies.
Unfortunately, I often I feel I spend as much time arguing with apathetic or complacent atheists as I do arguing with the religious. There are too many members of the secular community who are too happy to leave things as they are. They would rather leave ‘those silly people’ to their folly than speak out or do anything about it. And while we are facing an opposition that is both militant and aggressive in pushing their world view on others, I see this as a very real and dangerous problem.