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Two prominent Americans — an Eminent Social Scientist and the President of the United States — decided to answer the question: How have America’s churches failed the poor? Americans give to Religion 82.5 Billion Dollars Annually.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2015 by sheriffali

Their answer was one deeply congenial to the progressive mind:

 

 “They’ve been too obsessed with the culture war.”

 

“Over the last 30 years,” Harvard’s Robert Putnam told The Washington Post, “most organized religion has focused on issues regarding sexual morality, such as abortion, gay marriage, all of those. I’m not saying if that’s good or bad, but that’s what they’ve been using all their resources for … It’s been entirely focused on issues of homosexuality and contraception and not at all focused on issues of poverty.”

 

President Obama’s version, delivered when he shared a stage with Putnam at Georgetown University, was nuanced but similar in thrust: “Despite great caring and concern,” the president remarked, when churches pick “the defining issue” that’s “really going to capture the essence of who we are as Christians,” fighting poverty is often seen as merely “nice to have” compared to “an issue like abortion.”

 

It would be too kind to call these comments wrong; they were ridiculous. Not only because (as Putnam acknowledged) believers personally give abundantly to charity, but because institutionally the churches of America use “all their resources” in ways that completely belie the idea that they’re obsessed with culture war.

 

As Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standard pointed out, “Even the most generous estimates of the resources devoted to pro-life causes and organizations defending traditional marriage are just a few hundred million dollars.” Whereas the budgets of American religious charities and schools and hospitals and other nonprofits are tabulated in the tens of billions. (Indeed, as Bloomberg View’s Megan McArdle noted, some of that money — from Catholic sources — paid Obama’s first community-organizer salary.)

 

Twitter @sheriffali

 

 

Open New York Times Link For Full Article:

 

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/opinion/sunday/ross-douthat-do-churches-fail-the-poor.html?_r=0

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Americans give Religion 82.5 Billion Annually and the people receiving the money are schemers!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2015 by sheriffali

 

[All Religions were created by fallible men and carried out by fallible people that use religion to “prey” on the vulnerable. Religion in America and Republican Politics are “indivisible.” Personally, I reject all Religions, I do not follow any.

 

The Pastors, Preachers, Deacons, Reverends or by whatever name they use, they purchase mansions, fly in Private Jets and are driven in Limousines. Their corruption is humongous and if you don’t believe me, Google their names and you would be shocked.

 

Benny Hinn had an affair with Paula White and ended up in a bitter Divorce with his wife. Joel Osteen and his wife bought a 10 Million Dollar Mansion. The photos are just some of the people but as you would ascertain, they are protected by Republican Legislators hiding behind Religion. One can have a “Spiritual Relationship with God if you are a believer, however, you don’t need religion for that.] Sheriff Ali.

 

Matt Yglesias thinks we ought to start taxing churches. “Whichever faith you think is the one true faith, it’s undeniable that the majority of this church-spending is going to support false doctrines,” he notes. Even if you did direct the money toward the one true faith, it’d still be a bad idea, as “Upgrading a church’s physical plant doesn’t enhance the soul-saving capacity of its clergy.”

 

Regardless of whether you buy Yglesias’s logic, this raises an interesting question — exactly how much money are we talking about here? If, all of a sudden, churches, synagogues, mosques and the like lost their tax privileges, how much tax revenue would that generate?

 

Ryan T. Cragun, a sociologist at the University of Tampa, and two of his students, Stephanie Yeager and Desmond Vega, took it upon themselves to figure it out. They’re not exactly disinterested parties; their research appeared in Free Inquiry, a publication of the Council for Secular Humanism. But Cragun is a serious sociologist of religion and the data seems to check out. The full scale of subsidies religions get is pretty staggering:

 

When people donate to religious groups, it’s tax-deductible. Churches don’t pay property taxes on their land or buildings. When they buy stuff, they don’t pay sales taxes. When they sell stuff at a profit, they don’t pay capital gains tax. If they spend less than they take in, they don’t pay corporate income taxes. Priests, ministers, rabbis and the like get “parsonage exemptions” that let them deduct mortgage payments, rent and other living expenses when they’re doing their income taxes. They also are the only group allowed to opt out of Social Security taxes (and benefits).

 

Cragun et al estimate the total subsidy at $71 billion. That’s almost certainly a lowball, as they didn’t estimate the cost of a number of subsidies, like local income and property tax exemptions, the sales tax exemption, and — most importantly — the charitable deduction for religious given. Their estimate that religious groups own $600 billion in property is also probably low, since it leaves out property besides actual churches, mosques, etc. Written By: Dylan Matthews

 

Twitter @sheriffali

 

Continue to source article at washingtonpost.com

https://richarddawkins.net/2013/08/you-give-religions-more-than-82-5-billion-a-year/

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