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View Full Version : John Oliver's cockeyed bid to have the Feds vet Churches



Bos Mutus
08-26-2015, 05:04 PM
Pastor Creflo Dollar recently explained to his flock why they should ignore his critics and give money toward his $65 million private jet:
“‘What does a preacher need with an airplane?’ They don’t know. They’ll never know because they’re not looking through the word. They will never know, never, never know.”
Sure, Dollar and his prosperity-theology message deserve scorn. He’s asking his churchgoers — many of whom could hardly afford a Honda Civic let alone a Gulfstream G650 — to give him their hard-earned cash with the promise that God will reward them for it many times over.
Some might shrug off the way others choose to spend their money. Not comedian and HBO host John Oliver: He’s outraged that Dollar can get away with it. And so he devoted a recent 20-minute segment on his news/humor show “Last Week Tonight” to slamming megachurches that ask for this kind of money.
Yet the real target of Oliver’s ire isn’t the churches themselves, but the IRS for letting them remain tax-exempt. He even puts up on-screen the IRS Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations, which reads in part, “The IRS makes no attempt to evaluate the content of whatever doctrine a particular organization claims is religious provided the particular beliefs . . . are truly and sincerely held . . . and the practices . . . are not illegal.”
Just about anything can qualify, Oliver says: “Bros before Hos? That could be a religion. Red Vines are better than Twizzlers? That could be a religion.”
Funny, but Oliver’s got an endgame. He set up his own church — Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption — and established a regular worship service as well as certain rituals (silent meditation on fraudulent church practices, for instance).
He’s daring the IRS to investigate.
Oliver has gotten a lot of press for this stunt — and donations, too. The Washington Post reported Monday that he’s received thousands of dollars in the week since his plea. (The money will eventually go to Doctors Without Borders, according to the Web site.)
So what has he proved? Nothing, really.
America has long been host to wacky faiths, some held by only a handful of people. Some of them ask members to forego medical treatment. Others ask them to live a cloistered life. Some require the donation of large sums of money or even your entire life savings.
Writing in The Los Angeles Times, filmmaker Alex Gibney, who has been harassed for making a film about Scientology, explains, “The Church of Scientology has a distinct belief system which, despite its somewhat strange cosmology — mocked by the TV show ‘South Park’ and many others — is not essentially more strange than, say, the idea of a virgin birth. Scientologists are entitled to believe what they want to believe.”
What they are not entitled to do, as Gibney notes, is to merely build a private empire on public dollars.
There’s little doubt that the IRS could do more in the way of enforcement when it comes to some of these hucksters. As Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, notes, “Insincere, self-serving entities that intentionally masquerade as ‘religious’ to take advantage of [IRS] protections are committing fraud and are a discredit to society and to the faiths they misrepresent. They should be exposed and their frauds punished.”
But John Oliver wants more — he wants the IRS to act against “ridiculous” churches.
There’s something a little absurd about a British comedian demanding that the US government pick winners and losers in organized religion.
Most religious Americans would be loath to have the IRS in the business of examining the substance of any church’s beliefs. As Blomberg explains, “Faith is too important for the government to define it restrictively. That’s why the law has long left room for sincere religious believers, not government officials, to define their own faith.”
We’ve seen in the past two years how ideological the IRS can be, how prone its bureaucracy has been to political influence. Just imagine if Lois Lerner had been sent out to determine which churches were legitimate and which ones weren’t.
Church doesn’t perform gay marriages? It can pay taxes. Your church doesn’t allow women to be pastors? We’ll send you a bill tomorrow. What, you don’t give sermons about the dangers of income inequality? We’ll be in touch mid-April.
In fact, the idea of taxing non-gay-marriage-performing churches is floating in a few circles right now.
Maybe religious institutions, schools and other nonprofits shouldn’t have tax-exempt status at all. The people who own the local bookstore or drycleaner or pharmacy might legitimately wonder why they have to make up for the taxes that other groups don’t have to pay. After all, businesses also bring public benefits, not just private gains.
In the meantime, though, we’ve decided to give broad latitude to religious institutions.


Some interesting parallels with this and most other political issues going on:

Someone who opposes a policy: Look, there are people who take ridiculous advantage of it

Someone who supports a policy: That's okay, because the good it does outweighs that or it's too important to foul it up with restrictions.

Inviting the govt. to vet which churches are worthy of tax exempt status does, to me, seem like pretty shaky ground. Though, I'm not opposed to just ending the tax-free status of religious organizations...they are big and small businesses just like any other.

I wonder if, when conservatives talk about flat-tax, eliminating loop holes and that sort of thing...do they mean doing away with religious and church exemptions also? Or do they like those loop holes?

Rainmaker
08-26-2015, 07:00 PM
Some interesting parallels with this and most other political issues going on:

Someone who opposes a policy: Look, there are people who take ridiculous advantage of it

Someone who supports a policy: That's okay, because the good it does outweighs that or it's too important to foul it up with restrictions.

Inviting the govt. to vet which churches are worthy of tax exempt status does, to me, seem like pretty shaky ground. Though, I'm not opposed to just ending the tax-free status of religious organizations...they are big and small businesses just like any other.

I wonder if, when conservatives talk about flat-tax, eliminating loop holes and that sort of thing...do they mean doing away with religious and church exemptions also? Or do they like those loop holes?



John Oliver has replaced Stewart as the Left’s court jester for whatever 'meme of the month' they want to get out to the millennials…..He’s just the latest of the long line of British Z Mafia Euro-fags

And , Why do you guys feel the need to post every 800 word article here in the full text? How bout just putting up the link and maybe a snippet from the article you're refrencing? and we'll get the idea.... or Is that something written down in the TTPs?

we have limited bandwidth here at the compound. NomSayin?

MitchellJD1969
08-26-2015, 07:24 PM
Tax policy can be used to reward or punish....which will lead to 1st amendment issues. I'm sure the left and right would abuse the law to punish or reward churches for certain views.

Rainmaker
08-26-2015, 07:26 PM
Tax policy can be used to reward or punish....which will lead to 1st amendment issues. I'm sure the left and right would abuse the law to punish or reward churches for certain views.

^^^This

And Notice how "John Oliver" doesn't take exception to all these "non-profit" NGO's and think tanks?

Bos Mutus
08-26-2015, 07:56 PM
^^^This

And Notice how "John Oliver" doesn't take exception to all these "non-profit" NGO's and think tanks?

Are they buying $65M private jets?

Rainmaker
08-26-2015, 08:14 PM
Are they buying $65M private jets?

Oliver's a shill. He calls out what he's allowed to call out by his corporate owners. They plant ideas they want planted that are considered too "edgy" to be in the MSM.

You won't ever here him say shit about how Fed gov has been colluding for years transferring our tax dollars to church charities to house illegal Alien Invaders against the best interest of the public.

And $65M (of private money) is a drop in the bucket compared to the fleecing of the taxpayer going on with these NGOs and think tanks. Which, are far more dangerous because, they actually shape US policy and are subject to Foreign Transnational interests that can buy influence in them.

Absinthe Anecdote
08-26-2015, 08:17 PM
Are they buying $65M private jets?

Ever read about how the Church of Scientology got tax exempt status?

Talk about a bunch of wackos, holy fucking cow!

End all tax exempt status for churches.

Bos Mutus
08-26-2015, 08:21 PM
Oliver's a shill. He calls out what he's allowed to call out by the corporate owners

You won't ever here him say shit about how Fed gov has been colluding for years transferring our tax dollars to church charities to house illegal Aliens against the best interest of the public.

And $65M (of private money( is a drop in the bucket compared to the fleecing of the taxpayer going on with these NGOs and think tanks. Which, are far more dangerous because, they actually shape public policy and are subject to Foreign Transnationals that buy influence in them.

Your point is invalid.

He dedicated a show to the abuse of religious exemption...he's got a point, even if it's not fully developed.

The "oh, well he didn't say anything about all these other corruptions"...adds nothing on either side of this discussion.
There always something else out there to talk about...but time is limited....maybe he'll do The Heritage Institute in another segment.

Same old tired deal....you have nothing to discuss, so you distract and deflect...and throw in some name calling...and you're completely off-topic

Shoo!

Rainmaker
08-26-2015, 08:27 PM
Ever read about how the Church of Scientology got tax exempt status?

Talk about a bunch of wackos, holy fucking cow!

End all tax exempt status for churches.

They pretty much own all of the prime property in downtown Clearwater, FL. They pay so much in property taxes that they've got the city council in their back pockets because, they're funding the city operating budget.

Rainmaker stopped at the recruiting stand they had set up in the local club district one time. This Super hot chick in a plaid mini skirt and knee high gogo boots almost had me, with the gieger counter scan routine.

But, Thankfully by divine intervention Rainmaker happened across Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ movie that weekend and got on with the Pope Pius X group instead.

Rainmaker
08-26-2015, 08:29 PM
Your point is invalid.

He dedicated a show to the abuse of religious exemption...he's got a point, even if it's not fully developed.

The "oh, well he didn't say anything about all these other corruptions"...adds nothing on either side of this discussion.
There always something else out there to talk about...but time is limited....maybe he'll do The Heritage Institute in another segment.

Same old tired deal....you have nothing to discuss, so you distract and deflect...and throw in some name calling...and you're completely off-topic

Shoo!

Actually you have the same old tired deal. You'll Attack religion as being corrupt at every possible turn and then you'll bend right over for the big-state roggering ,every chance you get.

Bos Mutus
08-26-2015, 08:33 PM
Actually you have the same old tired deal. You Attack religion as corrupt at every possible turn and then bend over to take the big-state Rainbow colored PC dick up your ass every chance you get.

I know there were a lot of words in the article...but you should have at least picked up that it was a criticism of John Oliver...and it my comments I didn't support him either.

This post is beyond crude...

Rainmaker
08-26-2015, 08:37 PM
I know there were a lot of words in the article...but you should have at least picked up that it was a criticism of John Oliver...and it my comments I didn't support him either.

This post is beyond crude...

Ok, Sorry to hurt your feel goods (since I'm not spewing Anti-Christian Hate speech all over the forum), I've edited it but, feel free to just dislike it then and go tell your Nanny.