2016 Presidential Campaign


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5 hours ago, Kevin. said:

of course you don't think churches should be taxed, because you belong to one. Can you imagine what we could do if even half of the churches in our country were taxed? We wouldn't have trillions of dollars of debt, I'll tell you that much.

 

how does it not bother you that religious institutions are telling people how to vote? Religion has no place in politics, and that includes churches. 

Half of the churches in the nation couldn't even afford to be taxed.  Not all of them are what you see/perceive or what you see with those assholes on TV, most are located in rural areas and are the only lifeline in that area for the poor aside from welfare. My mother runs the food pantry for a Catholic church in an incredibly poor community...the church pays for upkeep and keeping the lights on, the priest volunteers and everything else goes to the poor.  There is nothing to tax.

Religious institutions aren't telling people how to vote just like unions aren't telling people how to vote.  It's an endorsement or suggestion.  People vote with what suits them, their lifestyle and what they perceive as issues.  Agendas?  who the fuck isn't pushing some sort of agenda?

If simple shit makes you angry you need to take a long-term vacation from the online world and turn that energy into something else.

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Kevin, you should move to China or Iran or Saudi Arabia where religion is forbidden or heavily restricted and you'll soon learn what an important impact the freedom to worship as you choose has on development of those freedoms you like to throw around as being so fundamental.

Do you even understand why the State (Federal Government) collects taxes?

Let's have that discussion.  Why does the government collect taxes?

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25 minutes ago, Burn-E said:

Kevin, you should move to China or Iran or Saudi Arabia where religion is forbidden or heavily restricted and you'll soon learn what an important impact the freedom to worship as you choose has on development of those freedoms you like to throw around as being so fundamental.

I don't see that applying taxes to them the same as everyone else is oppressing religion. Though I don't know where that would leave me on my own question of taxing other non-profits. I suppose they get to pay too.

To some degree, you're taking the tone that religion is the victim now, and I see that elsewhere. But I can sympathize with his anger in that it's obnoxious that there is some effort to make or keep law for the purpose of enforcing what a religious text says. I cannot see how LDS should be petitioning against assisted suicide. That's a problem within their own group, not for the law to handle.

2 hours ago, Matty Moo said:

Half of the churches in the nation couldn't even afford to be taxed.  (..) There is nothing to tax.

I don't think he's arguing to apply a flat tax to everyone, and then demand payment. I assume it'd be like a business. If you don't have any money on the books, then there is no money to pay tax on. If you wrote off all your costs of running community services by spending your money, that seems reasonable. Once you start spending that money on advertising though, no write off.

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15 hours ago, Burn-E said:

Kevin, you should move to China or Iran or Saudi Arabia where religion is forbidden or heavily restricted and you'll soon learn what an important impact the freedom to worship as you choose has on development of those freedoms you like to throw around as being so fundamental.

Do you even understand why the State (Federal Government) collects taxes?

Let's have that discussion.  Why does the government collect taxes?

 

last I checked Saudi Arabia is funding ISIS and religious extremists so....

 

taxes pay for all kinds of programs (roads, schools, etc)

 

to reiterate, if a church can afford to advertise on TV/Radio it needs to pay taxes. If a religious institution such as the LDS makes a public stance on an issue and tells it's followers to vote/treat people a certain way it needs to be taxed

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What all of you fail to understand is that historically taxation was used in other countries as a means to stifle and even silence religions.  By levying taxes that were too high of a burden governments were able to seize land and property and even imprison the leaders.  There's a deep historical basis as one of the fundamental principles of the 1st Amendment including protecting religious speech by not taxing those organizations.

As for why discourage assisted suicide it is about the messages this sends to society:

1. It removes protection for feeble seniors whose children or heirs who often have power of attorney and can (and have in States like Oregon) use the opportunity to have them "relieved of life" for less than homorable reasons.

2. It actually leads to a significant uptick in juvenile suicides.  There is a direct correlation between the law being on a State's book and a hike in younger suicides.  It cheapens life and actually reduces a friction that younger adults and teens consider when contemplating their own lives.

So it is far more than just the idea of protecting our own community but also examining the strength of the moral fabric of society and how such a law weakens it to the detriment of the weakest.

Now Kevin, yes some members of the Saud family are funding Islamic extremists but my point was try being something other than a Muslim in SA and see how freely you can live.  Even consider the lack of freedoms that they offer for Muslims.  This is because there is no freedom of conscience and religion.

I never said religion was a victim.  What I said was the founders and wise leaders who followed recognized the benefits to diversity and morality in our country that are enjoyed by protecting religious rights to worship who or what you may how you desire.

To fail to understand that is to ignore history.

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But do you see the difference in the points you raise against it, compared to the overall point made by the church's letter? Why does the church need to petition it's members to vote a certain way, to enforce their views? It's so blatant that the church wants the law to do it's work. To control the acts of the population based on their social expectations.

Full disclosure, this one's kind of a developing thought so I'm just talking out loud:

I see a double standard. Religious people don't want laws that stifle their way of life, but want laws that enforce their own. They'll happily vote against assisted suicide, but then hide behind their religion when it comes to being asked to sign a gay couple's marriage certificate. I understand (and value) the protections granted, but I think it's perhaps an oversight that indirectly, those without religion lack similar protections. There's comedy in that I could try and argue that atheism is a religion despite having strongly argued against that. So let's pretend it is. If atheism were a religion, then shouldn't we all get together and write a book of rules, and then claim you can't pass these laws because they stifle ours? I think to some degree, that's already played out with religious group's use of drugs but I haven't followed those issues closely.

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Keep trying Alden.  I think your arguments as they stand are extremely half baked.

There's little room between the points I made and the letter encouraging members to vote against assisted suicide and marijuana legalization.  Religion has long held a role of teaching and speaking out on moral issues as a voice within society.

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Well Alain, Alden did state a disclaimer indicating that the statement in his last post was "developing"...

I think that I kinda understand his point

My problem is that religion's role, as you described it, is based on, what has proven over time to be, a fluid moral code.

Have you seen the clip for the Nat Turner movie where Nat Turner and the preacher are each using bible verses to support their position on slavery? 

What about the pushback that the Pope receives each time he advocates that priests live a more modest lifestyle? 

I've recently seen where several theological schools recognize, support and advocate on behalf of LGBT student groups. I dont care that the people are LGBT - but I'm fascinated at the institutions ablility to justify their position considering the whole sodom and gomorrah storyline.

I just wanna yell "Pick a lane"

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I've made my point.  If you want to debate religion take it back to that thread.

Let's examine Kevin's point on taxes. 

20 hours ago, Kevin. said:

taxes pay for all kinds of programs (roads, schools, etc)

But why does the government need to take money from you Kevin in order to pay for those programs? We're talking about the Federal Government where if you don't recall the Treasury resides.  Whose signature is on that yuppie food stamp you pulled out of your wallet to pay for lunch today? Telling me the government uses taxes to pay for roads and schools is failing to appreciate that the Federal government prints money. So why do they need yours again?

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16 hours ago, Fudge_Brownie said:

I see a double standard. Religious people don't want laws that stifle their way of life, but want laws that enforce their own.

There's nothing half baked about that statement. There is no question that legislating on behalf of religion should be out of bounds. The tricky part is finding the line between concepts like "basic moral fiber" and "extremist christianity" or the current rendition of any other locally popular set of beliefs. What's common sense, and what's religious nonsense? And keeping up with religious fluidity is an integral part of the issue, as religions change and adjust their views for various reasons, including some I would be cynical about, but some I would not.

Alain, printing money just devalues it (causes inflation), it does not redistribute wealth. Collecting taxes gathers existing wealth to apply it to a common purpose. Not sure why you are baiting on an idea that is patently pointless as a long-term policy. Spot usage sure, but not as a permanent solution.

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I'm not baiting on anything but if printing money devalues it and creates inflation while taxes gather existing wealth then what taxes really do is not pay for programs but instead levying them regulates the economy.

I'll let you guys ponder that comment because that's not how anyone talks about taxes.

And it's certainly not a pointless consideration when it comes to long term policy. Because unless you think about taxes in the correct light, as a lever for regulating the economy, only then can you effectively evaluate the types of taxes and who they impact and why.

And unless you can think about it in that way then this discussion of taxing churches is a pointless exercise because it's based on faulty thinking that will always lead to bad policy decisions that can have disastrous results.

 

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8 hours ago, Burn-E said:

There's little room between the points I made and the letter encouraging members to vote against assisted suicide and marijuana legalization.  Religion has long held a role of teaching and speaking out on moral issues as a voice within society.

I think you said it better than they did. I agree, there's little room. It's just enough to matter IMO. The letter just crosses the line. I'm not disputing religion's historic role, or whether it should continue to have role today. But role should not mean law. I understand that within a religious group, they will have a moral code driven by their religious leaders. And that this will drive their decisions when it comes to voting. I'm saying at some point, one has to say 'that's for you to self police, not to write law about'. For example, there is not, and should never be, law about dietary choices on a specific religious celebration. But if someone proposed it and said it has social value (health or green), isn't it reasonable to say 'no, that's just your religious value?'. I see that applying to a broader set of decisions.

3 hours ago, Burn-E said:

I'm not baiting on anything but if printing money devalues it and creates inflation while taxes gather existing wealth then what taxes really do is not pay for programs but instead levying them regulates the economy.

I'll let you guys ponder that comment because that's not how anyone talks about taxes.

And it's certainly not a pointless consideration when it comes to long term policy. Because unless you think about taxes in the correct light, as a lever for regulating the economy, only then can you effectively evaluate the types of taxes and who they impact and why.

And unless you can think about it in that way then this discussion of taxing churches is a pointless exercise because it's based on faulty thinking that will always lead to bad policy decisions that can have disastrous results.

I would have effectively said the same as Kevin. That federal income taxes are to pay for government services that theoretically benefit society. Like the military, the roads, or the FDA. I agree it also lends to economic influence, by allowing deductions in certain areas. But you don't think it's debatable to say economic leverage is the primary purpose?

Is it fair to say you're arguing that tax is used as a tool to maintain wealth distribution? If so, I don't see that a church should be given preferential treatment to encourage them to accumulate wealth beyond the way we treat businesses.

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No, I'm not arguing that taxation is used as a tool to maintain wealth distribution.  I'm arguing that taxation along with printing money are the two levers the government uses to regulate the economy.  Monetary and Fiscal policies.  And you have to think about how and why they are effective levers in order to understand what makes for good and bad tax policy.

As Erik said, printing money would could lead to unacceptable levels of inflation so instead we levy taxes in order to avoid inflation.  But sometimes the Fed prints money instead, especially when facing a deflating economy and when things are especially bad the government reduces taxes. For the inverse scenario increasing taxes and restricting the money supply achieves the control of inflationary pressures. 

The point is, taxation is a tool but do you really understand its fundamental purpose in our economy? If you think the government needs taxes in order to fund its activities then you're going to make bad decisions on how and what to tax.

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