Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Should We Give Tax Dollars To Churches?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 13, 2020

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

Since before our nation’s founding, the framers of the Constitution had very powerful feelings about religion. Not that they were religious men and women, per se – some were, some weren’t – but that they didn’t want the government to tell them how they ought to worship, if they so chose to do.

In fact, they despised the idea so much that some folks (think “pilgrims”) traveled across an ocean in a small wooden sailboat which was little more than an over-sized primitive row-boat, to a far-away land, where literally no one knew them, just in order to escape the overbearing behavior of the ruler of the government (a king), who also just so happened to also be the head of the officially-recognized, governmentally-supported and approved state-sponsored religion – The Church of England.

Yeah.

Governmentally supported.

“Supported” as in “took tax money to give to the church” – the state-sponsored church… the one of which the king was the head – the chief priest, if you prefer.

Yeah.

THAT church.

So, they got so sick and tired of the “long arm of the law” reaching into their pockets and their private lives, that they said “adios!” to the King via the Declaration of Independence, and the very first law they wrote up after that was the First Amendment.

And the FIRST clause in the First Amendment was about… freedom and independence of (and from) religion – one which had become overbearing and intrusive. It was just too easy for the King to claim “Divine Right” (as in “God told me to…”) to any old thing. And you know, since everyone hears the same voices in their head (all of which are purportedly from “God”) – yes, that’s sarcasm – because NO ONE, but NO ONE hears any “voice.” And for those who say they do, we either give them psychiatric medicines, or if they harm themselves, or others, place them in protective institutions – including prisons.

Because “crazy,” you know.

But back to the point.

The framers of the Constitution wanted to “level the playing field” for religion while not playing favorites in any way, shape, or form, and to allow the people to worship as they saw fit – if they wanted to.

Thus, no “respecting” (showing deference or favoritism to) nor “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

In practice, that meant no more taxes being taken from them to support that church – or any other – as well as not requiring people to join, attend, or support any religion in any way, shape, or form, and allowing them to practice religion (if they so chose) as they saw fit.

That “separation of church and state” has been, and continues to be a most distinctive hallmark of our government which makes it uniquely different from any other government ever, in the history of the world.

Now, to be absolutely certain, that phrase – “separation of church and state” – does NOT appear anywhere in our Constitution, but rather, appears in a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson in response to the Danbury Baptist Association (a group of 26 churches in western Connecticut and eastern New York), and dated January 1, 1802.

In pertinent part it reads that,

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ʺmake no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,ʺ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

So given all the above, I ask this question in all sincerity – NOT rhetorically:

Why has our government LITERALLY given out MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars to churches and other religious organizations?

https://projects.propublica.org/coronavirus/bailouts/industries/religious-organizations

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