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Old 09-05-2013, 03:25 PM
 
Location: In a little house on the prairie - literally
10,202 posts, read 6,309,147 times
Reputation: 4535

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LALady View Post
Interesting article about a very specific area in the Valley. North Hills was renamed to breakaway from the image of Van Nuys/Panorama city. This article smudges that image

LA Daily News - Silent suffering the norm in gang-scarred part of North Hills-Panorama City

Silent suffering the norm in gang-scarred part of North Hills-Panorama City
BY RACHEL URANGA, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 07/23/2007 12:28:22 AM PDT


*****************
read the full article at the link
That is a good article.

First of all I am NOT in any way shape or form religious .

That being said, I have no problem with the church, the mosque, the synagogue, or a coven to have tax exemption.

That is, as long as activities are strictly for those religious purposes. As soon as it goes into anything else, including running any it that create revenue, that revenue should be taxed . Other words, if you want a book store, that bookstore's revenue should be taxed. If you own a subsidiary such as a farm or ranch that entity should be taxed.
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Old 09-06-2013, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
59,630 posts, read 57,151,184 times
Reputation: 71085
Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
I beg to differ with this (some churches certainly helped, but...)

Secular organizations band together to give aid to Hurricane Sandy victims - Philadelphia freethought | Examiner.com

Also, donorschoose.org which helps schools is secular and raised money for Sandy victims and also other victims of natural disasters.

I contributed to this one and there are ongoing efforts to help teachers and schools on this website.
Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund
Nice link, thanks (referring especially to the first one. I love this at the bottom of the page:
In this time of need for so many people in both the United States and the Caribbean, we urge you to lend a hand and show the world that we are indeed “Good without God.”)Too often religious people assume that people who don't believe are by default uncaring. And perhaps I wasn't clear--I did not mean to say that secular orgs and people of every stripe did not offer help after Sandy. There was a huge response from many different corners in the days and weeks after the storm, and, of course, that big televised concert.

I'm talking about now. It's been almost a year, and there are still a lot of people in trouble. Their houses are not back together, they lost jobs, etc. In Keansburg, NJ, a low-income bayshore town often described as "white trash", there are still people sleeping on the beach every night. A lot of their ongoing, everyday needs--food, gift cards to home improvement stores, clothing to replace that which was lost--is being provided quietly through the effort of some small, poorer parishes that provided help before the storm and have now stepped up their efforts. For example, one Episcopal church that used to provide meals to the neighborhood once or twice a week is now feeding people every day. FEMA and insurance didn't cover everyone. Where I live, Sandy fallout is still a front-page story in the regional newspaper every Sunday. (Maybe other days, too--I only get the paper on weekends.)
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Old 09-06-2013, 08:10 AM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
59,630 posts, read 57,151,184 times
Reputation: 71085
Quote:
Originally Posted by cupper3 View Post
That is a good article.

First of all I am NOT in any way shape or form religious .

That being said, I have no problem with the church, the mosque, the synagogue, or a coven to have tax exemption.

That is, as long as activities are strictly for those religious purposes. As soon as it goes into anything else, including running any it that create revenue, that revenue should be taxed . Other words, if you want a book store, that bookstore's revenue should be taxed. If you own a subsidiary such as a farm or ranch that entity should be taxed.
^I agree with this.
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Old 09-06-2013, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,267 posts, read 9,387,684 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cupper3 View Post
I have no problem with the church, the mosque, the synagogue, or a coven to have tax exemption.

That is, as long as activities are strictly for those religious purposes.
I'm arguing the opposite. There is no reason to give a tax exemption "strictly for religious purposes". There is a reason to give a tax exemption for activities that benefit society in ways that would otherwise require government services.

I believe you are drawing a different contrast perhaps, between not for profit and for profit activities, and I would argue that pure religious activity (teaching dogma, worship / ritual, and such) is a for-profit activity quite often and even when the profit motive is not front and center, it's not an activity that secular society requires -- the government would not promote religious teaching or ritual and in fact in the US we would prohibit that. So there's no reason to give a tax exemption for those parts of religious organizations that don't benefit society in the narrow sense that (1) society wants them and (2) they are part of government purview. Why, pragmatically, would government reduce its tax revenue if it's not offset by a corresponding service that government would provide anyway?

One answer to that rhetorical question that a theist might come up with is this: while religious training and ritual don't directly contribute to society, they indirectly contribute by producing better adjusted, happier, and more responsible citizens. Tax exemption for these activities is a way for government to acknowledge the central importance of spirituality while not endorsing any particular brand of spirituality.

I would argue that the government has already acknowledged that, at least in the US and many others countries, by providing freedom of religion. As soon as you cross the line into providing financial incentives you aren't just permitting religion, you're enabling it. And I don't think that's ultimately good either for society, or for religion. Let ideas and beliefs earn their own way; if they need to be artificially propped up, they aren't proving their mettle. Besides, there is a great deal of evidence that religious people are not in fact, on balance, better adjusted, happier, or more responsible citizens.
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Old 09-06-2013, 09:48 AM
 
Location: In a little house on the prairie - literally
10,202 posts, read 6,309,147 times
Reputation: 4535
Just be glad that we in North America do not subscribe to the idea of the church tax as many European countries do.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_tax
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,267 posts, read 9,387,684 times
Reputation: 6188
Quote:
Originally Posted by cupper3 View Post
Just be glad that we in North America do not subscribe to the idea of the church tax as many European countries do.

Church tax - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Technically, the only difference I see is who actually collects the money -- the ushers in church or the tax collector. Of course, to the extent the taxes are mandatory (e.g., there's not an optional tax form opt-in for it as in Sweden), that's a cushy deal for churches who would otherwise have to constantly resell themselves to voluntary contributors and actual members.

These "church taxes" are the dying echoes of the church and the state being more interrelated historically than they have been in the US; indeed, many early American settlers made the voyage here precisely to get away from that. But then we re-muddied the waters with blanket tax exemptions for churches. Because even in America, churches always seek subtle and not-so-subtle ways to get a free ride on the state and to influence the state and the legal system because it's much harder to sell yourself week after week to your own members. That's pretty telling.
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