Saturday, January 22, 2005

Make the bigots pay! Tax the Churches!

And the mosques, temples, synagogues, etc.

Well tax time rolls around again, as we prepare to get our T4 income tax slips from our employers. The majority of Canadians pay taxes, unless you bank offshore like the Bronfman and Irving families and Prime Minister Martin.

Corporations can defer theirs while calling for more handouts. As studies have shown, the average working Canadian is paying the bulk of the support for the State, while the corporations have seen their taxes decline from 60% of the governments income to a mere 20%. This led to a federal deficit and forced the Liberal Government to steal funds from Employment Insurance (formerly Unemployment Insurance) to prop up its artificial budget surpluses. Again taking money from Canadian workers.

Tax breaks, Tax Breaks Tax Breaks, all for the rich and corporations but none for the rest of us. Last election the only political parties calling for a tax break for the average Canadian working Jane and Joe was the NDP and Bloc Québécois, both on the Left. The Liberals didn't talk tax breaks since they had implemented them for Canada Inc. already, and the new Federal Tories, parroting their Republican mentors in the South, had no other economic platform.

Tax Time For Canadians, but NOT all Canadians

The greatest outrage is that there is a sector of Canadian society that pays NO taxes.They own huge tracts of land, buildings, publishing houses, media conglomerates. They employ low waged workers, and rely on volunteer labour; they prey on the old, the weak, the disabled. They are an effective political lobby, which can be used for social good or social evil. They have been accused of child abuse, pernicious racism and abuse of native peoples; they have abused pregnant mothers by locking them away in secret cloisters. Over the centuries as they amassed amazing wealth, property and power, they have encouraged and promoted policies of genocide against those who would stand in their way. They are an undemocratic, unelected, non representative monolith able to avoid prosecution because of their special political and social relationship they have with the state, which some would call blackmail. They are indeed the ultimate economic Ponzi scheme, a multilevel marketing insurance scheme that takes your money and makes promise they can't prove or deliver on. As Joe Hill the Wobbly poet wrote; "They will give you pie in the sky when you die."

I am of course talking about "organized religion", of all varieties, Catholics, Protestant, Orthodox and Evangelical Christians, Muslims, Jews, Bahai, Buddhists, all religions that hold state power, from A to Zoroastrians. Ok the Zoroastrians don't hold state power anywhere, but if it weren't for Persian dualism we wouldn't have God and the Devil. And they did hold power in the Ancient world, so there!

In the West the power of the Church has been the defining power of the State. The Papacy, the Byzantium Empire and the Church of England all defined the political and economic forces of Europe and North America over the past millennium. And these anachronistic medieval institutions are still with us today, preying on us as they have in the past, despite their profuse apologies to one and all about their past indiscretions; the European genocide against the Jews, the Native Americans, etc. etc. ad nauseum. They have apologized to each other for their wars and assaults on each other. But they have NOT apologized to homosexuals, for whom they reserved a special place in hell which they have historically dispatched them to as quickly as possible.

While the canon laws against Witchcraft and eventually against the Jews were ended, those against sorcery and sodomy remained. Sorcery was often used as the definition of not only heresy but of sodomy. The pogroms gained the church and the feudal state property and monies from those they killed, maimed, imprisoned or exiled. The Protestants were as ruthless as their Catholic counterparts, continuing their witch-hunt well into the 18th century. And they shipped there bigotry across the sea to America to justify massacring native peoples as well as turning on women and people of colour at Salem.

The Church of England and its State, continued to hang homosexuals as they once hanged witches right up until the fin de sicle of the 19th century, when they liberalized the law and threw them into prison. From Lord Byron to Oscar Wilde, the crime which dare not speak its name (in public) was the moral crime ne plus ultra. This crime was closely followed by the crime of abortion, which after the repeal of the witchcraft acts, was still used to prosecute non state healers; midwifes, herbalists, women healers all.

The Christian churches have blood on their hands and it is not that of their beloved Messiah or the saints. It is the millions of lives they have taken in the name of morality and church law. Bigotry suckles at the bosom of mother church. Patriarchical religions, regardless of their mythic origins, of all shapes and kinds, have created caste systems which are with us today.

The Hindus as Indo European (Aryan) racists and fascists imposed the caste system, which is with us today. The Dalits, the untouchables, are reduced to no political or economic status except as social slaves within the Hindu society even today. They do not view Hinduism, no matter its form, as being in anyway enlightened. While Buddhism spoke to this oppression, its adoption as a State religion in Tibet, Japan, and other Asiatic countries has also bespoken its patriarch cal origin. Islam a syncretistic religion of the Middle East spread through out Asia, replacing Hinduism and Buddhism as the new State Religion.

And all these religions being patriarchical have little use for women as human beings, but simply as breeders of the race or in some special cases, carrier of the Messiah. The bigotry of patriarchical religions is their Demonization of earlier pagan religions, religions based on a Mother Goddess and her son, which they adapted, throwing down the mother and raising the father to crown of the world.

So bigotry, the bias against a people, is deeply embedded in these religions, it is the core of their teachings no matter how much they apologize or reform. Homophobia, Misogyny, Anti-Semitism, and Racism are their real moral values.

The battle lines have been clearly drawn in the war over Family Values. As you can tell in my previous articles on this issue, I have a low tolerance for the religious argument that the family is a sacred institution, when in fact it is a property relationship. And for that matter religious institutions are not sacred institutions either, they are the medieval remains of the feudal system existent in modern capitalism, like the Monarchy and other aristocracies.

The bigotry of religion has raised its ugly face in the news as the Federal Government considers passing a law recognizing gay marriage. In the last two days the voice of religious leaders have not counseled tolerance, but have donned their white hoods and called for "using the not withstanding clause" to void the constitutional protections of equal rights to gays and lesbians. Worse one Catholic Bishop, Fred Henry, from Calgary, actually suggested that the state use its "coercive power" to deny any rights to gays and lesbians.

"Bishop Henry, in his letter, abruptly linked homosexuality with adultery, prostitution and pornography as human acts that undermine the foundation of the family, and argued for "the state . . . [to] use its coercive power to proscribe or curtail them in the interests of the common good." He also appeared to challenge the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau's famous dictum that the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation. "It is sometimes argued that what we do in the privacy of our home is nobody's business," the bishop wrote. "While the privacy of the home is undoubtedly sacred, it is not absolute. Furthermore, an evil act remains an evil act whether it is performed in public or in private." Globe and Mail, January 20, 2005

When the bishop calls for coercive power, is he perhaps not pining for the good old day of the noose for sodomites?! The Bishop was ridiculed for extremism and apologized for offensive language after his comments were published. But apologetics aside the Vatican (the last of the medieval city states in Europe) has sanctioned these assaults by the Church on civil society by saying: "Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil." Evil indeed, that's the pot calling the kettle black. What is this evil; is it the same evil that led the church to sanction pogroms against Jews, heretics, witches, sorcerers, and sodomites.

It is not evil it is a political choice the church has made to define civil society in terms of its medieval thinking. The same thinking that burned Giordano Bruno at the stake, because he said the universe was not earth centric which was 'evil'. The same evil that obviously infected Galileo and Copernicus, today we know this 'evil' as science. We laugh at the churches belief in a flat earth, and in the future we will laugh at their insistence that human sexuality is "evil". And that’s their real moral message; human sexuality is evil. It is a bigotry that has plagued humanity since the destruction of the culture and economy of paganism.

"Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Toronto, sailed full-steam yesterday into Canada's marriage debate, making public a letter to Prime Minister Paul Martin urging him to maintain marriage as a heterosexual rite and use the Constitution's notwithstanding clause to override the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The cardinal warned the Prime Minister that, if Parliament were to proceed now to pass legislation permitting same-sex marriage, Canada would be tipped into an uncharted sea fraught with risks to some of the country's most significant social institutions, such as public education. The cardinal, as head of Canada's largest and most multicultural English-speaking Catholic diocese, with 1.4 million adherents, is an important voice in the Canadian church, the country's largest faith group. Its collective leadership body, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated five weeks ago that "as pastoral leaders of the Catholic community in Canada, we intend to be part of this [marriage] debate."His proposals come as the Prime Minister felt the heat of religious criticism yesterday in India, where the Sikh religion's leading cleric, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, condemned Canada's same-sex-marriage policy and urged Sikhs to prevent such marriages from occurring in Sikh temples anywhere in the world.Mr. Martin said such concerns were misplaced. "This is a question of civil marriage, not religious marriage," Mr. Martin told reporters after his visit with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh."No church, no temple, no synagogue will be forced to provide a marriage in any other way than with those [values] which are accepted by its own beliefs." Globe and Mail, January 20, 2005

Paul Martin is bending over backwards for these political lobbyists, which now includes the diversity of medieval thinkers including religious Jews, Muslims and sects like the Sikhs. With their political allies in Stephen Harpers Tory Party of Social Conservatives, and with the Liberal party divided [with the likes of David Kilgour one of two Liberal MPs from Alberta, who proclaims on his website that Christians are an oppressed minority (sic) ] the bigots at the pulpit have declared class war on civil society.

And how do these bigots intend to pay for this war? Why with the shekels they get from you. Since they are tax free charities, they can spend their money any way they want. Despite Revenue Canada rules against political lobbying by registered charities, Christian churches and other religious bodies in Canada flaunt this ruling daily. If its not attacks on gays and lesbians, it’s the effort to make abortion illegal.

As the largest political lobby in Canada it is time that these bigots paid the price for their attempts to drive civil society into some medieval past. Its time to TAX religious organizations. As a tax free institution in civil society, they can espouse their bigotry as morality and not have to pay the piper. They can mobilize their wealth to deny others their human rights. They demand assurances they will not be forced to marry gays and lesbians, and will be protected by the same constitutional rights they would deny gays and lesbians. The hypocrisy would do Pontius Pilot proud.

"Dr. Janet Epp Buckingham, the Evangelical Fellowship's legal counsel and director of law and public policy, said the Fellowship has no objection to the notwithstanding clause but does see it as a short-term option without significant majority public support. The only long-term solution, she said, is enshrining heterosexual marriage in the Constitution where it would be beyond reach of the provisions of the Charter. " Globe and Mail, January 20, 2005

The homophobia of the church knows no bounds, despite being regularly exposed as child molesters; they dare to link homosexuality to pedophilia. This is the real moral underpinning of all their feigned concern. Homosexual = pedophile is the subtext here. Unfortunately the facts show that having a career in the clergy produces more pedophiles, than being homosexual. Undeterred their moral solution is heterosexual marriage enshrined in the constitution, an institution that will supposedly prevent this problem. If such was the case the Catholic Church should heed its own dictum and allow priests to marry to reduce the pedophilia that has historically plagued it. Opp’s that didn’t work for Pope Alexander VI (Caesar Borgia) who not only was married, but had a mistress and relations with his daughter; Lucrecias Borgia. Ah, heterosexual marriage that bastion of morality in an immoral world. Except would it allow for marriage with ten year olds?

" A man who married a girl when she was 10 said Wednesday he did nothing illegal because, he argues, Canadian law allows people of any age to wed.The law has been kept secret from the public, the man told his preliminary hearing on five sex-abuse charges. Quebec court has ordered the man's name cannot be published to protect the identity of the girl, who is now 15. A court order has kept him away from his bride, stating their relationship compromised her safety.The man, who is now 52, said outside court that current laws make it possible to marry anyone - "even a baby" - because there is no minimum age.However, he also said "federal common law" puts the minimum age at seven years old."People don't know the law and the law has been hidden from the population," said the man, who is acting as his own counsel because he can't afford a lawyer."Because the law allows marriage at a young age, the government did not want people to know it was legal and rather than changing the law, it just kept the law and made people believe it was not legal."He said the federal common law originated with the Romans about 2,000 years ago, was transferred to England and France and then made its way to Canada and the provinces.The law was codified in the provincial common law and the Civil Code of Lower Canada in Quebec in 1866, said the accused, who is a pastor in a Christian sect."There's a continuity of this law that has never been changed for 2,000 years," he said.He has acknowledged that Quebec law set the marriage age at 16 in 2001 but maintains the amendment doesn't apply to him because he had already wed the girl.The man also said he does not support gay marriage, noting that "I don't think gay people should have sex."The man said he had the consent of the girl's mother, who is a single parent. He didn't know the whereabouts of her father at the time and still doesn't.Asked by reporters if he thinks it's right for a man to marry a woman 40 years younger, the man replied: "I would say it's none of your business.""It's something that is not seen well but the question is whether it's legal."The man said he wants the case sorted out so he can also get on with his plans to minister to married couples."I need my wife at my side to do such a ministry," he said.January 20, 2005 © The Canadian Press

Can we expect an outbreak of pedophilia if we enshrine heterosexual marriage in the Constitution "where it would be beyond reach of the provisions of the Charter". It appears likely if this case is any example. Sure there will be those who say this is unique, a single case, but it exists because anyone can form a Christian sect in Canada, and get tax free status.

Its not a moral issue, its an economic issue, if you can create a tax free cult or sect, based on some personal revelation, more of these abuses will happen. If churches actually had to pay taxes, such sects would be seen for the mentally defective criminal organizations they are. But as long as they can cloak their moral crimes in religion, they often remain out of reach of the courts. In this case being a self proclaimed sect, gives this criminal little protection. On the other hand when you have a criminal organization the size of the Catholic Church, they can move abusers from location to location, not face criminal charges, pay a fine and do what they do best; "apologize".

Both Dr. Buckingham and Cardinal Ambrozic expressed concern about the impact a legal redefinition of marriage would have on public education. If same-sex marriage were to become law, they said, public schools would in all likelihood feel obligated to present heterosexual and homosexual activity as morally equivalent -- which would be totally unacceptable to parents from several faith groups." Globe and Mail, January 20, 2005

Gadzooks, of course public schools would. Homosexuality is a fact, it is a historical fact. It is not Evil or a moral question but a question of human sexuality and evolution. Freud and others have pointed out as human beings we are all bisexual, with social conditioning defining our gender identities, we developed the modern heterosexual identity as a property relationship based on private property. The end of communalism saw the development of the patriarchy as a social, economic and political force based on the ownership of land.

It’s not a moral question any more than the social construction of race is, it is about property relations, and when it comes to property Churches, Temples, Synagogues, etc. own more of it than anybody. So let’s tax them. They should have to shoulder the burden of the social restriction they have imposed and continue to impose on society.

It was Christian ideology that viewed Canada's first Nations as primitive, child like and "evil", it was their policy of assimilation which was codified by the Canadian State. The State funded religious residential schools and the result was the horror of abuse now being revealed after eighty years. The Church, before the advent of modern civil society with its social welfare plans, was the agent of the State in providing social services. Paid for by the taxpayers of Canada, the Churches made money abusing children, single mothers, the poor and indigent, the mentally and physically challenged.

The charitable model of social services that George W. Bush calls Faith Based is in reality just the same old poor houses and workhouses of the 19th Century of Dickens. It attempts to have churches do more with their money for civil society, while priming the pump by funding them. We need the churches and the religious organizations in Canada to be morally responsible for the result of their politics and the best way to do that is to tax them. Then we could afford to pay every Canadian a living wage, whether they work or not, and would no longer have to worry about funding the dark dank morass of charitable institutions for the poor, the unwed, etc.

It's a plan as long as they don't figure out that they can bank offshore like the Canadian ruling class has.


Anonymous said...

Your entire tirade is summed up in one line.

" I have a low tolerance "

You brand a huge number of people by the perceived actions of a minority of their membership.

Pay your taxes, bigot.

eugene plawiuk said...

"You brand a huge number of people by the perceived actions of a minority of their membership."

The church is not a democratic institution a noted Evangelist stated during the US Presidental election, and that is key to this problem. No matter what the 'members', the sheep in the flock of this or that lord,
say is not what the hierarchy says. This weeks news stories on the Catholic hierarchy calling its members to oppose same sex marriage. And while you may say it is a minority of members of any faith, I would remind you it is the heirarchy of the faith that makes policy.
It is that heirarchy and structure that pays no taxes, and should.
Like I have too.