It’s About Time (or “Why the Council of Catholic Bishops Should Be Savagely Violated With A Rusty Coat Hanger Twisted Into The Shape Of A Tax Exemption”)

The idea that a jabbering gaggle of elderly, crotch-sniffing, god-bothering male virgins should have even the slightest influence on womens’ health care policy is obscene in itself;  that they do it on the taxpayers’ dime is an outrage that should infuriate anyone who believes in the separation of church and state.  Rep. Lynn Woolsey gets it:

I expect political hardball on any legislation as important as the health care bill.

I just didn’t expect it from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Who elected them to Congress?

The role the bishops played in the pushing the Stupak amendment, which unfairly restricts access for low-income women to insurance coverage for abortions, was more than mere advocacy.

They seemed to dictate the finer points of the amendment, and managed to bully members of Congress to vote for added restrictions on a perfectly legal surgical procedure.

And this political effort was subsidized by taxpayers, since the Council enjoys tax-exempt status. […]

The IRS is less restrictive about church involvement in efforts to influence legislation than it is about involvement in campaigns and elections.

Given the political behavior of USCCB in this case, maybe it shouldn’t be.

Now that’s an idea that’s long overdue.

26 Responses to “It’s About Time (or “Why the Council of Catholic Bishops Should Be Savagely Violated With A Rusty Coat Hanger Twisted Into The Shape Of A Tax Exemption”)”


  1. 1 deBeauxOs Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Yes. Those Catholic bishops hired lobbyists to push their ideological agenda or they employed lay people in their diocese to do that. That should be grounds to remove their tax-exempt status.

  2. 2 Torontonian Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Forgive this diversion but this Michael Coren
    column from last Saturday is beyond the pale.

    He’s a professional Roman Catholic and he’s
    playing martyr/victim card here.

    It’s amazing to think that the RC Church can
    work its way into the public forum when indeed
    we keep talking about separation of church and
    state.

    Wanna get angry with Catholics and Coren?

    Read on.

    http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/michael_coren/2009/11/07/11666936-sun.html

  3. 3 croghan27 Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Read the comment by Disco Jesus after the article ….. nice work, DJ!

  4. 4 Jasper Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    First a quick civics lesson. The section of the Constitution that deals with religion is Amendment I of the Bill of Rights –

    There’s the “Establishment Clause” (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”) and the “Free Exercise Clause” (“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”).

    The “Establishment Clause” – that’s the one today’s courts almost always focus on – simply prohibits the federal government from “establishing” a national church, or from interfering with the established churches in the states! (Remember, several states already had state-supported “establishments of religion.”)

    For the last half-century, judicial activists on the Supreme Court and lower courts, ACLU lawyers, the press and the secular culture in general have embraced “the constitutional separation of church and state” as though it actually existed somewhere in the Constitution. Of course, none of these words – “separation,” “church” or “state” – are in the First Amendment.

  5. 5 deBeauxOs Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Jasper, I’m waiting for another US citizen to prove you’re lying, as usual.

    Based on the litany of ‘untruths’ that you have unleashed in the comments here, I wouldn’t take your word on anything. If you said it was noon, I would check my watch.

  6. 6 Dr. Prole Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Jasper, it’s not about the Establishment clause. It’s about 501c3 status. Your guys need to start paying their taxes like the rest of us if they’re going to meddle in politics.

  7. 7 Phatbiker Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    All churchs should should have their tax exempt status removed, after all they are a business (the business of selling snake-oil). Yep, give us money and the great imaginary bronze-age sky god will forgive your sins and you will get to go to galactic Disneyland when you die.

  8. 8 JJ Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Jasper – This is not a free speech issue. The bishops are free to tell their churches to preach against abortion, but they are not political lobbyists.

    It wouldn’t be nearly as heinous if some “Right to Life” organization did it, but Catholic bishops?? No way should they be part of the legislative process, let alone practically writing the amendment themselves.

    I’m surprised they didn’t work something in to the amendment to ban contraception funding. Next time, I guess.

  9. 9 JJ Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    deBeauxOs – When did the US become a theocracy? I must have missed that little changeover.

  10. 10 JJ Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Torontonian – Thanks for the link. That was quite the persecutiongasm. Hope he didn’t run out of kleenex cleaning up after himself. /puke

  11. 11 JJ Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    croghan – 😆 That was good! Disco Jesus 😆

  12. 12 JJ Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Dr.Prole – I think they should pay taxes whether or not they meddle in politics — they’re a business like any other business, and probably one of the wealthiest businesses in the world. Governments have given them a free pass because of charities — well, whoop de doo. Tax them and let the government use the revenue to support something like universal healthcare.

  13. 13 JJ Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Phatbiker – Agree 100%. I’m sick of these people having it both ways, time for them to face reality.

  14. 14 Jasper Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    “No way should they be part of the legislative process, let alone practically writing the amendment themselves. ”

    A congressperson can consult a bishop if they want, there are no laws against that.

  15. 15 toujoursdan Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Phatbiker Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    All churchs should should have their tax exempt status removed, after all they are a business (the business of selling snake-oil). Yep, give us money and the great imaginary bronze-age sky god will forgive your sins and you will get to go to galactic Disneyland when you die.

    I don’t think this is entirely fair.

    The money given to religious institutions also established many of Canada and the U.S.’ top universities including Harvard and Yale (Puritans), Columbia and William and Mary (Episcopalians), Princeton (Presbyterians), Brown (Baptist), Northwestern (Methodist), Georgetown and Boston College (Catholic) and about two thousand other universities south of the border. In Canada University of Toronto and Bishop’s (Anglican), Queens University (Presbyterian), Concordia, Université Laval (Catholic), etc., numerous prep schools, primary and secondary schools as well as many hospitals in both countries. In the U.S. the majority of hospitals were established by religious institutions. In fact the concept of the university and hospital itself originated in the church. They also operate things like homeless shelters, food banks and serve to assist people with substance abuse problems, etc.

    I don’t think churches should lose their tax exempt status. It would cut programmes and hurt the poor. I think laws need to be tightened governing the ability of religious institutions to influence secular legislation.

  16. 16 JJ Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    toujoursdan – You’re right, that’s true.

    Most churches aren’t problematic anyway, I suppose. It’s just certain ones *cough*catholic*cough* that are getting too involved with politics and other things they shouldn’t be doing, like Prop Hate. It’s irksome.

    I think laws need to be tightened governing the ability of religious institutions to influence secular legislation.

    That would work… then countdown to a screaming red-faced Bill Donohue “It’s anti-Catholic bigotreeeeee!!!”

  17. 17 JJ Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Jasper – Don’t be coy. This was more than a congressman conferring with his bishop.

  18. 18 Phatbiker Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    My former father in law (who has passed away) ran for the NDP (socialist) in the 60’s, in the East Kootenays. He was winning the riding until the RC priests said not to vote for him and Trail went Social Credit (right-wing), costing him the election. Trail has a huge smelter and has a large Italian (RC) community.
    If that isn’t the church interfering in politics, I don’t know what is, They where even worse in Quebec (telling the people who to vote for was common practice and politicians had to kiss their butts).

  19. 19 Torontonian Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Phatbiker

    I suggest you look into the influence of the RC Church
    in Quebec in the days of Duplessis and before him.

    Pretty harrowing stuff how the Church could work its way
    into the daily lives of everybody and be the power behind
    the premier and cabinet.

    We need to see an end to that sort of thing.

  20. 20 JJ Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Phatbiker – What a story, that really pisses me off!! That’s exactly what the bastards are not supposed to be doing, telling people who to vote for.

    They get away with it because of their charities, which I appreciate are helpful to a lot of poor people etc., but political meddling still shouldn’t be allowed. There need to be stricter laws with regard to churches butting into politics… most of them don’t do it, so I don’t mind them having tax exempt status I guess, but wow. I wouldn’t mind seeing those insufferable busybodies in the Catholic church taking a hit where it hurts.

  21. 21 fern hill Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 5:48 am

    Anybody know if there is an org working to take tax-free status away from churches? I’d give them a few bucks, sign petitions, whatever.

  22. 22 toujoursdan Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 9:25 am

    toujoursdan – You’re right, that’s true.

    Most churches aren’t problematic anyway, I suppose. It’s just certain ones *cough*catholic*cough* that are getting too involved with politics and other things they shouldn’t be doing, like Prop Hate. It’s irksome.

    Yeah. As a liberal gay Christian nothing pains me more than to see the biggest and most powerful church become so regressive.

  23. 23 Phatbiker Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 11:09 am

    My former father in law was Irish catholic, his wife Italian catholic which makes my X-wife catholic and my two daughters where both christened in the RC church (grandmom insisted).
    I have a friend who ministers at the local RC church (no priest) and a friend of his, who is a priest. Both where hopeful that when John Paul 1 became pope that the RC church would become more progressive (birth control etc.), but where dismayed when he died and replaced by such a regressive pope, John Paul 2, now they have Ratty, oh boy.

  24. 24 JJ Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    fern hill

    Anybody know if there is an org working to take tax-free status away from churches? I’d give them a few bucks, sign petitions, whatever.

    Heathen! 😈

    Admit it, that’s just your Anti-Catholic Bigotry talking 😛

    I don’t know if some of them could survive if they had to pay taxes 😦 but the Catholic church? They should absolutely pay taxes. Then they can meddle in politics as much as they want… in other words, maintain the status quo.

  25. 25 JJ Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    toujoursdan – You must be pleased about the pope’s invitation to Anglican haters… Shorter Benny: “Come on in, the hate’s fine!”

  26. 26 JJ Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Phatbiker – The Catholic Church has become steadily more regressive since the Winnipeg Statement, which was pretty progressive by Catholic standards. (It gave Catholics ‘permission’ to use contraception.)

    Most Catholics don’t follow the contraception doctrine and about half of them are even pro-choice, so the Winnipeg Statement was a realistic attempt to keep liberal Catholics in the church. But instead of going the more progressive route, the church became increasingly conservative. Pope Ratzi is the embodiment of that quest for ideological purity.


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