Please Stop

I have seen these around for years on the subway lines and buses here in New York.  This bit of Theist Graffitti:

Imageand I have up until recently just laughed and ignored it.  But today on my trip to the city and back home, I saw it no less than 15 times.  Once even scribbled in a speech bubble on a college advertisement.  And so, as I seethed on the train ride home, clutching my red Sharpie and actively willing myself to not write N O over those empty headed demands, I hatched a plan.  

You see, there was a time not too long ago when I was part of a Guerrilla advertising campaign with Anonymous to rally against Scientology.  Part of me misses that thrill and the excitement that knowing we were actually helping inform random strangers.  So I planned a few stickers to carry on my person in case I come across anymore of these asinine theist demands that one “pray”.  First there will be a smaller sticker that just says “THINK.” which will cover and replace the word Pray.  Second, I will make a set of stickers which read “Millions are Good without God.”  and lastly, for those particularly vile spammers who litter entire cars advertising their local churches, I will print up “Religion Poisons Everything” stickers.  Yes, I will surly offend some people.  But I will rest easily knowing no one else will have to see “Please Pray” and want to vomit. 😛

America is a Secular Nation.  Always has been and always will be.

Tax The Rich? Sure, Let’s Start at the Collection Plate

All this talk swirls around every election about how corporations are evil and CEOs are selfish. And people demand with foam in their mouth that these greedy companies need to care more about the environment. Give back to the poor. Pay a fairer share of federal tax. Give back to the American Economy instead of investing so much overseas. etc etc
And I agree with you. There is such a thing as excessive wealth. And this is a shared space, we all built it together. Whether it’s the farmer whose work fed your children or the public school system that educated them or the public roads and buildings they now use for work. So yes, if you succeeded, you did not do it alone.

But here’s a large economic drain that NO ONE seems to talk about: Church tax exemption. Quick history lesson, does anyone know why churches are afforded tax free privileges? It’s because 200 years ago churches in this country were running soup kitchens. Giving beds to the homeless. Orphans were dropped off on chapel doorsteps and raised by nuns. So, sure, we all agreed as a secular community, to let non profit organizations stay tax exempt. After all, they were not in business for the money.

Fast forward to today. Scientology has 46 front groups (mostly fake drug rehab spas and printing houses for L. Ron Hubbard’s crappy books) which raise money specifically for the “church” of Scientology. A business started by a sci fi writer who himself said 60 years ago “if a man wants to make a million dollars, he should start a church”.

We also have the Televangelists of today. Practically begging for money every time they open their mouths. Telling people that the world is ending soon so why hold on to your hard earned money? Well, why would the “church” need it? You can’t take it with you when you die, so why would these TV Show preachers need to amass millions each year? Probably because they don’t believe the world is ending. So now you’re just giving your money to someone who lied to you. These despicable people are the used car salesmen of the faithful.

And lastly, we have the Mormon Church (aka LDS). Created little over a century ago by an illiterate, racist slave owner who wanted to be a polygamist. This never-was-a-real-church has swindled countless morons out of their money by insisting on necessary donations and going door to door like vacuum sales men. And have they used this vast wealth to help the poor? Feed the hungry? Build new schools? No. They have invested billions through “superPACS” and “Coalitions” see also: FRONT GROUPS to play politics. Overturning laws in Hawaii and California by throwing ill-gotten gains into advertising. And now they are helping fund a presidential candidate. A faceless suit filler with no personality of his own.

So yes, by all means. Let’s tax the rich. But I say, let’s start with the 78 BILLION wasted each year by allowing churches to stay tax free even when they do little to nothing for the community. I think all non profits should have to prove that they have given back every year and reapply for tax exemption EVERY year. If you want to run yourself like a corporation and build your gilded towers and fund your church yacht parties, then you should have to pay a tax on that lifestyle like everyone else.