Beginning of the End of McCarthyism?!

The tax subsidy for clergy, one of the echoes of McCarthyism, may finally be being put to rest. A couple of the others that survived to this day are “In God We Trust”, which was not our country’s motto until 1956, and “under God”, which was added to the pledge of allegiance in 1954.

These two still stand as a reminder that the embarrassing period of McCarthyism with its fight against the “godless communists”, and persecution of many innocent people in the entertainment industry in particular, is not over yet. However, ending the tax subsidy for clergy, that was implemented at the same time, also in obvious violation of the establishment clause of the first amendment, is a powerful step in the right direction.

Federal Judge Strips Religious Tax Exemption From Preachers, Declares It Unconstitutional

The inclusive E. Pluribus Unum, “out of many, one”, had been our unofficial motto from 1782 – 1956. It was replaced by the divisive and sectarian “In God We Trust” at the height of McCarthyism. Similarly, during the same time period, “under God” was added to the pledge of allegiance. The founders of this country would be horrified to see such obvious godvertisements being issued by the federal government.

We should be proud of the heritage of our country, the first ever constitutionally secular country in the world.

Those who are horrified by the removal of god(s) from our our federal tax code, and hopefully soon from our pledge and motto as well, would be wise to remember to whom Jefferson wrote the “wall of separation letter” and why. The letter is officially known by the Library of Congress as “Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists”.

Then president Thomas Jefferson, author of the first amendment, explained that the first amendment set up a “wall of separation between Church & State”. Importantly, this was intended to reassure the Baptists of Connecticut of protection from other Christians!!!

Christians needed protection from Christians to be able to worship in their own way.

If you are a Christian and you care whether you are Catholic or Episcopal or Mormon or Baptist or Jehovah’s Witness or Christian Scientist or Lutheran or Amish or whatever other subsect I may have missed, you should strongly support the wall of separation between Church & State. Making no judgements here, if you care whether or not you drink the blood of Christ and eat His flesh or not, if you care whether or not you engage in the worship of statuary (graven images?) in many churches or not, if you care whether or not you use the cross as a symbol of your faith (Mormons believe it to be the murder weapon of Christ and do not use it.), if you care whether your faith allows you to use modern medicine, if you care whether your faith allows you to go to war, if you care whether your faith allows you to drive a car, you must support the strongest possible separation of Church & State lest you be in the minority and be forced to worship in ways that go against your beliefs.

Please join with me in celebrating this small step towards a return to a more secular and inclusive government.

12 Responses to Beginning of the End of McCarthyism?!

  1. Rodnikov Magilovich says:

    Amen, brother!

  2. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Too many religious leaders today (but I’m mostly thinking of TV BlowHards like O’Reilly, think that you are abusing religion if you restrict them from forcing their religion on you.

    We see a similar confusing right now with the Duck Dynasty anti-religion/anti-free speech claims the BlowHards are yowling about right now. When you support freedom “for ALL” you are infringing on their right (SIC–DESIRE!) to impose their beliefs on you.

    Just look.

    • Ack.

      Unfortunately, this new ruling will not affect the bloviating blowhards on Faux Spews. It might take some of the wind out of the sails of the clergy running megachurches though. One can only hope.

      Personally, I want to see the tax-free status revoked for any religious institution that lobbies the government in any way. There’s a reason that your contributions to ACLU are not tax free. It’s because they’re a lobbying organization.

      Under existing tax law, for a religious institution or any other 501(c)3 to remain tax free, it is not allowed to lobby.

      No new law needs to be passed to get the Catholic Church out of the business of deciding whether insurance must cover birth control. All we need to do is recognize that if some council of bishops is testifying about the Affordable Care Act, that they are a lobbying organization and tax the crap out of them.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        I have often said that any “religion” that does in fact qualify as tax exempt has lost its way as a religion. THEY SHOULD LOBBY each according to their faith. Not doing so, indicates they worship Mammon and not the Big Guy in the Sky.

  3. bobbo,

    I have to strongly disagree with you on this point.

    • Not all religions believe that non-followers of their religion even should follow the laws of their religion. What you refer to is Dominionism.
    • Not all religions even want to convert others to their faith. For example, in the religion into which I was born, it is explicitly stated that if someone wants to convert to Judaism, it would be my job (were I a good Jew) to talk them out of it. Actually, I would still do so, but for different reasons.
    • I am only aware of this particular bit in the tax code being in U.S. law. So, in most countries there is no legal discouragement from lobbying AND worshiping Mammon.
    • Even in the U.S. where this tax code exists, it is completely unenforced, allowing religions to lobby their values onto the rest of us while still worshiping Mammon.

    Why do you believe that ALL religions must attempt to legally force their views on others? Isn’t that just you trying to dictate your beliefs onto various religions and sects of which you may possess little knowledge?

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      I said “according to their faith”

      Once again, you stop reading/comprehending early in a statement without wrestling with the subtleties fully present.

      In general, if you believe something to be true, and true beyond doubt, and something that is of cosmic eternal importance, how could you not lobby/evangelize/teach/respond/counsel that belief? Religions that do not call for this are over incorporating the slings and arrows of opposing political/cultural/religious forces….once again Mammon over the Everlasting.

      Would a good christian deny god simply to avoid being eaten by Lions? If not, then why deny that the needs of the poor should take precedent over the wishes of the rich?…. and so forth. What should any good christian lobby/evangelize/teach/respond/counsel regarding the termination of unemployment benefits, food stamps, school lunch programs, day care etc? Are christians their brother’s keepers, or simply gathering up the donation proceeds?

      Some aspects of this fundamental acceptance of what a belief system is and calls for does amount to Dominionism. Perhaps it is a shade of emphasis too pale to notice, but it is the championing of the belief, not the championing of the religion behind it that I am addressing.

      I had a good Christmas this year. ALL MY NEIGHBORS left me alone. Quite nice.

      • I read what you wrote. You did not read what I wrote. Is Christianity the only religion in your world? Are you even aware that not all religions actually posit an “everlasting”?

  4. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Scotty–ONCE AGAIN: I said “according to their faith.” This cannot be taken as other than a generic statement applying to most if not all faiths. Giving AN EXAMPLE of Christianity does not limit the posted idea to only Christianity. ONCE AGAIN: you are stuck.

    This is very objectively clear to me. I wonder what we would come up with if we actually read things the same way? Oh well.

  5. Wrong again bobbo. You’re leaving a lot of turds in the punch bowl this time. I have given you repeated examples of multiple religions with very different beliefs about proselytizing and taking over the world than Christianity. You keep coming back to Christianity.

    Not all faiths are dominionists. You’re just flat dead wrong and dramatically increasing the turd per gallon count in the punch bowl.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Okay Scotty, lets “drill down” on this one. What I said with explanation was:

      I have often said that any “religion” that does in fact qualify as tax exempt has lost its way as a religion. /// I said “ANY” religion. NOT limited to Christians. I did use christians as an example as I think I know them best. The MUSLIM religion can’t be used as an example because they DON’T separate their Dominion Philosophy. Hmmm… interesting that, I assume they are tax exempt in the USA…so we have to be very specific there that to qualify its all about not campaigning for candidates as opposed to campaigning for the values and morals they believe are correct? Can be very separate issues, can have a lot of overlap too. Case by case. I understand the Jewish faith has sects that very in the same manner but more than Christians and Muslims (outside of Israel???) they don’t push for political ends. Then we have the Eastern Religions, many of which are more Life Philosophies. So…in dashing off a quick sentence, I was not interested in making an field study and logging in all the religious, philosophical approaches and thought what I did post was unassailable with the modifier I attached which follows.

      THEY SHOULD LOBBY each according to their faith. /// Again Scotty–your point is directly addressed and negated by the recognition that not all religions want to lobby or be involved with governing the wider society at all so I including “EACH ACCORDING TO THEIR FAITH.” I can see not recognizing what this modifier means on first quick read and response, but NOT AFTER it being pointed out to you three times now. Why don’t you change you understanding of what I said, if not what I meant, when its clearly pointed out to you and clearly supported by the words actually posted? Why don’t you do that? There is no reverse in your dialectic.

      Not doing so, indicates they worship Mammon and not the Big Guy in the Sky. /// Here, “they” refers to those religions that don’t preach their values in order to secure tax exempt status. Again, unassailable.

      I define “Dominion” as seeking no separation between Church and State. If a group of people seek legislation to ban abortion services and therefore to vote for Raun Paul, I see that as pressing a moral position UNLESS the reasoning for that is “because the Bible says so.” The former is non-Dominion establishing advocation of a value system that ANY religious group should do if they are following their faith and not Mamon, but the later is going for Dominion. Its a very fine line. We shouldn’t even discuss that until you recognize that saying “any” religion followed by Christianity as an example is NOT a discussion limited to Christianity.

      Its just that simple. You need to stop fixating on your errors. Inappropriately repeating the turds in the punchbowl theme does not cure your lack of recognition.

      How do we know what we know, and how do we change our minds?/// We think with words…….

      Yea, verily.

      • bobbo you ignorant slut.

        “They should each lobby according to their faith.”

        If their faith says not to lobby then they should lobby against lobbying for their faith.

        You really aren’t reading your own words.

        But, at least now, for the very first time on this particular thread, I think you finally understand what I’m saying. Since I still think your point makes no logical sense and parses either to every religion should behave as your experience with Christianity does or parses to semantically null, I’m prepared to leave it at this.

        I wonder if we can actually do that this time or if you must find some last word to have on the subject.

        Last time, even I had to drop the subject which really doesn’t happen often. If you feel the need to make yet another silly statement, go for it. I’ll try not to reply … unless you say something I just can’t leave alone.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Exactly so. Each of us exasperated by the retardedness of the other, time passes, we are moved to respond. Smooth move exlax as I first learned.

        We get along because we agree on Big Issues, but we break down on any subtlety. In its best view, you take what can be seen as an ambiguous statement/position and refuse to apply/understand/LEARN FROM any interpretation but your own. Many very successful people are like that. It is a fault or a winning trait depending on …………………. wait for it ……………………yes …………………… CONTEXT , and what you really want.

        Do you want to “win” or do you want a fuller, deeper, more nuanced understanding of whatever is under discussion? Your answer is clear.

        “Each according to their faith”//// to me, clearly means that if your faith does not include the idea of lobbying, or even has a command not to do so, THEN ==>according to that faith, there is no need to lobby. Its the only way to make my statement more universal in its application which in original context is clear to most people who can read, and now by EXPRESS STATEMENT has been made clear FOUR times now. Yet you still resist the plain and expressed meaning.

        Why you do dat? It is the action of a very stupid person….. yet you are not stupid. It is the action of a very uneducated person …. yet you are not uneducated. It is the action of a very uninterested person … but you are supremely interested across a broad range of subjects.

        What could it be then? Ha, ha. Yeaup—some emotional hangup, failure to thrive??? I’ll save it for a beer.

        Yea, verily.

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