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The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:21 pm

Nuns (and women in general) have no power in the male dominated Catholic hierarchy. It has always been that way.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:16 pm

Pastors prepare to take on IRS over political endorsement ban

When Ron Johnson takes take his pulpit on Sunday, he will willfully break the law. After presenting his views on President Barack Obama’s handling of religious issues –- like abortion, gay marriage, and religious freedom - Johnson will ask his congregation a question.

“In light of what I have presented,” Johnson says he will say, “How can you go into that election booth and vote for Barack Obama as president of the United States?”

What Johnson plans to do is in violation of the IRS’ so-called Johnson Amendment, a 1954 law that has made it illegal for churches that receive tax exempt status from the federal government to intervene in “any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”

Why is Johnson so brazenly violating that law this Sunday? Strength in numbers: He will be joined by at least 1,400 others pastors across the United States.

If they give up their tax exemptions, then they can endorse candidates. But not until then.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:10 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:Pastors prepare to take on IRS over political endorsement ban

When Ron Johnson takes take his pulpit on Sunday, he will willfully break the law. After presenting his views on President Barack Obama’s handling of religious issues –- like abortion, gay marriage, and religious freedom - Johnson will ask his congregation a question.

“In light of what I have presented,” Johnson says he will say, “How can you go into that election booth and vote for Barack Obama as president of the United States?”

What Johnson plans to do is in violation of the IRS’ so-called Johnson Amendment, a 1954 law that has made it illegal for churches that receive tax exempt status from the federal government to intervene in “any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”

Why is Johnson so brazenly violating that law this Sunday? Strength in numbers: He will be joined by at least 1,400 others pastors across the United States.

If they give up their tax exemptions, then they can endorse candidates. But not until then.


Looks like an interesting topic, I'm kind of confused why you bumped a thread about Catholics, birth control and health care to bring it up though. Doesn't really seem to relate that closely.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:28 pm

I didn't want to start a new discussion and I thought it would fit, especially considering the RCC's opposition to abortion, birth control and gay marriage (thus their opposition to Obama). The issue of their tax exemption has already been raised in this thread.

So what do you think? Should churches, which from their pulpits openly support or oppose a political candidate, keep their tax free status?
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:36 pm

I'm not a big fan of organized religion so I'm probably not the best person to give an unbiased opinion.

Over all, I guess it should be consistent. Are there any other organizations that enjoy a tax free status who are not barred from political activity?

On the other hand it seems like an odd line to draw. They are allowed to denounce or encourage various behaviors that have a strong political context so not being able to point out those politicians who are in agreement or disagreement with the church or preacher's stance seems silly. Especially if the statements are only barred while speaking to the congregation in an official capacity. It's not like a priest or reverend can't speak his mind outside of church and suddenly everyone is going to forget they are religious leaders.

Ultimately though, the major religious organizations in this country would be just fine without tax exempt status, and the less major ones probably don't pull in enough money in comparison to expenses to be taxed anyway. So I guess my opinion on the tax exempt status has nothing to do with the free speech issues.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Stebben84 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:02 am

They shouldn't be given tax exempt status period. Like any other non profit, they should have their religious function and other charitable wings should be a separate organization that is then given tax exempt status. This is like any other non profit who has a lobbying wing of their group. One is given tax exempt status, the other is not.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby snoqueen » Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:12 am

The original idea behind the tax exempt status was to separate church and state. If the state was supported by church money, that implicitly gave the church the right to try and influence legislation like any other taxpayer, and if one church got overwhelmingly wealthy or large the result would have been too much like the various unholy alliances between church and state in Europe from which the earliest European settlers were fleeing.

I'm not sure how this relates to present-day US realities, except the alliance between the Teaps and conservative Christianity, fragmented as it is, can't be disregarded. Still, it seems like we are far more threatened by the alliances between big business and government these days given the secular drift of the industrialized world.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:12 pm

A local pastor plans to defy the IRS and make political recommendations from his pulpit.

On Nov. 4, the Rev. John Clark plans to get a few things off his chest, possibly breaking the law in the process.

Clark, pastor of Evangel Life Center in Madison, says he’ll preach a no-holds-barred sermon two days before the presidential election that will give parishioners a clear biblical road map for evaluating candidates.

He’s not revealing what he plans to say, but he promises it will cross into territory the Internal Revenue Service says a church should avoid if it wants to keep its tax-exempt status.

“Just by the things I plan to say, yes, I certainly think I’ll run quite afoul of IRS guidelines,” Clark told me.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby ilikebeans » Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:56 pm

Not really about the Catholic church, but the thread seems to have gone this direction.

[Colorado Springs] church breaks law, preaches politics

I'll give you one guess as to which candidate was endorsed during the sermon.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:38 pm

Will churches that preach politics lose their tax exempt status? Maybe not.

For the past three years, the Internal Revenue Service hasn't been investigating complaints of partisan political activity by churches, leaving religious groups who make direct or thinly veiled endorsements of political candidates unchallenged.

The IRS monitors religious and other nonprofits on everything from salaries to spending, and that oversight continues. However, Russell Renwicks, a manager in the IRS Mid-Atlantic region, recently said the agency had suspended audits of churches suspected of breaching federal restrictions on political activity.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:45 am

Looks like Bishop Morlino isn't worried about losing his diocese's tax exemption.

Bishop Morlino lists 'non-negotiable issues' for Catholic voters Tuesday

Morlino lists what he calls the three “non-negotiable issues for the formation of a Catholic conscience in this election.”

He writes that “no Catholic may, in good conscience, vote for ‘pro-choice’ candidates.” If both candidates are pro-choice, the Catholic voter “must choose the candidate who would place greater restrictions on abortion.”

Also, “no Catholic may, in good conscience,” vote for candidates who “promote same-sex marriage” or who would “promote laws that would infringe upon our religious liberties and freedom of conscience.”
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby jman111 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:03 am

You don't like it? Well, get out!
More political insight from Morlino, via Wineke:
"If one is called to be Catholic, one follows what the Church teaches: That is the correct understanding of conscience (as upheld also by Vatican II). And if one really cannot follow what the Church teaches, then one’s conscience requires that one leave the Church. That is the adult decision. One’s conscience does not require that one makes up one’s own personal religion and then pretend it is Catholic."


I like this:
Wineke wrote:Catholics long ago seem to have determined that their bishops serve a colorful function but are not to be taken seriously.
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:21 am

Obama got a little over half of the Catholic vote, despite what their bishops said.
But the commingling of religion and politics is still troubling.

Election blurring of church, state separation draws complaints

Political watchdog and secularist groups are asking the U.S. government to investigate whether Catholic bishops and a Christian evangelical group headed by preacher Billy Graham should lose tax breaks for telling followers how to vote in this year's election.

Under constitutional protections of free speech and separation of church and state, churches are free to speak on any issue. But they risk losing tax breaks worth $145 billion in the past decade if they violate Internal Revenue Service rules by promoting or opposing any particular candidate. Other non-profits also have special tax status.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a political watchdog group, in its complaint to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, cited reports of individual bishops "abusing their positions to advocate against the election of President Barack Obama."
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:05 pm

Bishop Morlino taken to hospital after falling and hitting head

Did he drown his sorrow over Obama's win with a little too much sacramental wine?
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Re: The Catholic Church, health care and birth control

Postby Bwis53 » Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:31 pm

Maybe that bus full of nuns, protesting Ryan's budget, made a difference in the Catholic vote.
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