Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

skepticalavenger:

Is religion more important than education?  I have no doubt what MY answer would be to that question.

skepticalavenger:

Is religion more important than education?  I have no doubt what MY answer would be to that question.

Secular victory: Religious income tax exemption ruled unconstitutional

…The unconstitutional law, passed by Congress in 1954, allows a clergy member to use the untaxed income to purchase a home, and then, in a practice known as “double dipping,” deduct interest paid on the mortgage and property taxes.

The 1954 bill’s sponsor, Rep. Peter Mack, argued ministers should be rewarded for “carrying on such a courageous fight against this (godless and anti-religious world movement).”…

…“The Court’s decision does not evince hostility to religion — nor should it even seem controversial,” commented Richard L. Bolton, FFRF’s attorney in the case. “The Court has simply recognized the reality that a tax free housing allowance available only to ministers is a significant benefit from the government unconstitutionally provided on the basis of religion.”

confrontingbabble-on:

Support education…not religious superstition…
Are you happy that your parent’s religion gets tax free status and is therefore subsidized by all tax payers? Now replace “your parent’s” with “a militant radicalized fundamentalist’s”, and reconsider. Now insert “a multimillionaire  tel-evangelist’s”, and reconsider again…
___
"The first recorded tax exemption for churches was during the Roman Empire, when Constantine, Emperor of Rome from 306-337, granted the Christian church a complete exemption from all forms of taxation following his conversion to Christianity circa 312. The law against churches intervening in political campaigns was passed by the US Congress in 1954. Since then, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been successful in using the law to revoke the tax-exempt status of only one church: the Church at Pierce Creek in Binghamton, NY, which had placed an advertisement in USA Today and the Washington Times rebuking Bill Clinton four days before the 1992 presidential election.If the “parsonage exemption” on religious ministers’ housing costs were revoked, American clergy members would cumulatively lose an estimated $2.3 billion over five years.In spring 2010, the state of Oklahoma awarded tax-exempt status to a Satanist group called The Church of the IV Majesties.According to former White House senior policy analyst Jeff Schweitzer, PhD, US churches own $300-$500 billion in untaxed property. New York City alone loses $627 million in annual property tax revenue due to 9,500 churches being tax-exempt, according to a July 2011 analysis by New York’s nonpartisan Independent Budget Office.
The “parsonage exemption” on ministers’ homes makes already-wealthy pastors even richer at taxpayers’ expense. The average annual salary for senior pastors with congregations of 2,000 or more is $147,000, with some earning up to $400,000. In addition to the federal exemption on housing expenses enjoyed by these ministers, they often pay zero dollars in state property tax. Church leaders Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International had three tax-free parsonages: a million-dollar mansion in Atlanta, GA, a two-million-dollar mansion in Fayetteville, GA, and a $2.5 million Manhattan apartment. Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, leaders of Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth, TX, live in a church-owned, tax-free $6.2 million lakefront parsonage.”
Read in full the pros and cons… http://churchesandtaxes.procon.org/
Watch Some Maryland pastors get tax exemptions on multi-million dollar homes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny6NNUZCaY8
 

confrontingbabble-on:

Support education…not religious superstition…

Are you happy that your parent’s religion gets tax free status and is therefore subsidized by all tax payers? Now replace “your parent’s” with “a militant radicalized fundamentalist’s”, and reconsider. Now insert “a multimillionaire  tel-evangelist’s”, and reconsider again…

___

"The first recorded tax exemption for churches was during the Roman Empire, when Constantine, Emperor of Rome from 306-337, granted the Christian church a complete exemption from all forms of taxation following his conversion to Christianity circa 312.

The law against churches intervening in political campaigns was passed by the US Congress in 1954. Since then, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been successful in using the law to revoke the tax-exempt status of only one church: the Church at Pierce Creek in Binghamton, NY, which had placed an advertisement in USA Today and the Washington Times rebuking Bill Clinton four days before the 1992 presidential election.

If the “parsonage exemption” on religious ministers’ housing costs were revoked, American clergy members would cumulatively lose an estimated $2.3 billion over five years.

In spring 2010, the state of Oklahoma awarded tax-exempt status to a Satanist group called The Church of the IV Majesties.

According to former White House senior policy analyst Jeff Schweitzer, PhD, US churches own $300-$500 billion in untaxed property. New York City alone loses $627 million in annual property tax revenue due to 9,500 churches being tax-exempt, according to a July 2011 analysis by New York’s nonpartisan Independent Budget Office.

The “parsonage exemption” on ministers’ homes makes already-wealthy pastors even richer at taxpayers’ expense. The average annual salary for senior pastors with congregations of 2,000 or more is $147,000, with some earning up to $400,000. In addition to the federal exemption on housing expenses enjoyed by these ministers, they often pay zero dollars in state property tax. Church leaders Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International had three tax-free parsonages: a million-dollar mansion in Atlanta, GA, a two-million-dollar mansion in Fayetteville, GA, and a $2.5 million Manhattan apartment. Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, leaders of Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth, TX, live in a church-owned, tax-free $6.2 million lakefront parsonage.”

Read in full the pros and cons… http://churchesandtaxes.procon.org/

Watch Some Maryland pastors get tax exemptions on multi-million dollar homes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny6NNUZCaY8

 

confrontingbabble-on:

Believers are screwing us all: Believers should just pull out…of profiting from tax deductibility

confrontingbabble-on:

Believers are screwing us all: Believers should just pull out…of profiting from tax deductibility

Corporations are the only reason the tax code is so complicated in the first place. Those offshore loopholes didn’t get carved out by poor people. Our tax code is purposefully complex…

Jon Stewart on Apple’s tax issues. (via playanon)

sirmitchell:

(From reddit)
This fucking butt baby pays to have a card made then goes out and buys himself dinner. He then eats his food (no doubt with a raging boner the entire time) knowing full well at the end he is going to leave this dick smell of a card for the person who served him instead of a tip. What a load of cock dust. 
First of all, Prop 30 is a California state proposition to help fund schools. It has nothing to do with Obama. Regardless, it also only affects those who make $250k or more a year. Yet this walking talking flacid dick still leaves it. 
I’ll tell you what, I don’t think I like this guy. 

This is just the height of douchebaggery.

sirmitchell:

(From reddit)

This fucking butt baby pays to have a card made then goes out and buys himself dinner. He then eats his food (no doubt with a raging boner the entire time) knowing full well at the end he is going to leave this dick smell of a card for the person who served him instead of a tip. What a load of cock dust. 

First of all, Prop 30 is a California state proposition to help fund schools. It has nothing to do with Obama. Regardless, it also only affects those who make $250k or more a year. Yet this walking talking flacid dick still leaves it. 

I’ll tell you what, I don’t think I like this guy. 

This is just the height of douchebaggery.

Because Republicans now lack the power to prevent legislated tax increases, the nation is no longer held hostage to their stubborn opposition to any tax increase whatsoever, which has torpedoed every serious effort to reduce the trajectory of debt since 2010. That is why I am optimistic about our fiscal future.

The modern American right, and much of the alleged center, is obsessed with the notion that low tax rates at the top are essential to growth…

Yet in the 1950s incomes in the top bracket faced a marginal tax rate of 91, that’s right, 91 percent, while taxes on corporate profits were twice as large, relative to national income, as in recent years. The best estimates suggest that circa 1960 the top 0.01 percent of Americans paid an effective federal tax rate of more than 70 percent, twice what they pay today.

Nor were high taxes the only burden wealthy businessmen had to bear. They also faced a labor force with a degree of bargaining power hard to imagine today. In 1955 roughly a third of American workers were union members. In the biggest companies, management and labor bargained as equals, so much so that it was common to talk about corporations serving an array of “stakeholders” as opposed to merely serving stockholders…

[E]conomic justice and economic growth aren’t incompatible. America in the 1950s made the rich pay their fair share; it gave workers the power to bargain for decent wages and benefits; yet contrary to right-wing propaganda then and now, it prospered. And we can do that again.