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Fundamentalist Welfare
Bush panders to the religious right with his $1.5 billion marriage money package -- which gays are excluded from partaking of. I'm against this package altogether (whatever happened to the guy who campaigned for small government?), but it's completely wrong (and certainly unconstituional) that one segment of the population is discriminated against by the government they pay taxes to on the basis of sexual orientation. Chris Geidner has a good piece on this. And one of his commenters hits on one of my suspicions:

I'm sure this money is really going to be thrown at various churches, whose training is largely going to consist of the importance of accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, and building & improving your relationship with Christ as a first step to building & improving your relationship with your spouse.

Not to malign that as a possibly very successful means of improving marital relations, but it's one that should be privately funded.

Yes, it should.

Posted by aalkon at January 17, 2004 9:26 AM

Comments

From the church leaders I know from many different denominations and in different areas of the country, they will not take government money because it opens the church up to government interference and red tape.

Posted by: Peggy C at January 17, 2004 1:00 PM

Peggy C is correct. Mark Chaves at the University of Arizona did a survey of religious congregations in the U.S. in 1997 and found that the vast majority (77%) had policies against receiving public funds.

More information about the National Congregations Study: http://saint-denis.library.arizona.edu/natcong/

Posted by: Sister Lena of the Most Holy Assumption at January 17, 2004 6:06 PM

But the churches and their many-tentacled enterprises (education/real estate/theme park [SC only]) aren't taxed, are they?

Posted by: crid at January 17, 2004 10:46 PM

I believe parachurch organizations (such as schools, hospitals, etc.) are taxed--I think only churches themselves are tax-exempt. I'd have to go back to the tax code to know for sure. (Yes, pity me, I actually have copies of portions of the tax code at my desk at work!)

Regardless, once you start accepting money from the government, you then have to apply governmental standards and give account to the government for what you did with their funds. That's why most religious organizations plan to steer clear of government money.

Posted by: Peggy C at January 18, 2004 6:13 PM