It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired. I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue. I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe. I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great.....
Monday, November 17, 2008
Revoke Tax Exemption For The Catholic Church
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Want to know the secret for increasing the power and influence of the Roman Catholic Church in U.S. politics? It would effectively give the U.S. Catholic Church more say than it's ever had in the American political system, and it would effectively change the landscape of U.S. politics forever. It's very simple really. All you have to do is revoke the tax exemption status of the U.S. Catholic Church.
You see the 501(c)(3) rules concerning tax exemption of churches and charitable organizations prohibit such organizations from engaging in partisan politics, wherein particular candidates are endorsed or opposed. So the 501(c)(3) tax exempt status of the Catholic Church effectively keeps a muzzle on it, prohibiting the clergy from speaking freely about political candidates during an election. Failure to keep quiet about individual candidates could result in revocation of 501(c)(3) status by the IRS, which could also result in having to pay back-taxes. This effectively frightens most clergy from endorsing or opposing political candidates by name, for fear that loss of the 501(c)(3) status might harm the Church's charitable activities and possibly cause the church to sell property in order to pay back-taxes. So far, it's been a pretty effective tool at keeping the Catholic Church (and most other churches) out of direct political involvement in partisan campaigns.
Now, for years some Leftist Liberal political movements have opposed all religious involvement in U.S. politics entirely, citing the "separation of church and state" as their rationale. We could talk about their flawed understanding of this concept all we want, but that's not the point of this blog entry. Rather, I would like to point out two things. The first is that their proposed solution, (revoking tax exemption of churches), will actually have the effect of increasing religious involvement in politics. The second is that as an advocate for more church involvement in politics, I'm beginning to think their proposed solution isn't such a bad idea.
Let's examine what the probable outcome of such an event might be. Suppose a lawsuit were filed in federal court not only against a particular Catholic parish or diocese, but the entire U.S. Catholic Church. Suppose that lawsuit sought to revoke the 501(c)(3) tax exempt status of the U.S. Catholic Church. Now suppose the federal judge presiding over the case ruled against the Catholic Church, and the appeals court upheld it. Now the U.S. Catholic Church is no longer a tax exempt body. What would happen?
Immediately the events of this case would make front page news in every major publication throughout the nation and abroad. It would be the talk of every major news outlet on television and radio for at least a few nights, if not longer. Catholic bishops would then draw up a statement explaining to the Catholic faithful that their contributions to their local parish and diocese will no longer be tax deductible.
Catholics throughout the United States would be irate! Initially some anger might be directed toward the Church itself, but after consideration of the fact that the priests and bishops must be loyal to their faith before the tax code, anger would immediately be redirected toward the United States government and in particular the Left-wing Liberal institutions and organizations that brought this about. Even non-practicing Catholics would be angry, as rumors of discrimination swept the nation. Typically, many Liberal Protestant churches regularly endorse and promote Liberal candidates for public office. The IRS rarely ever investigates them, let alone revokes their tax exempt status. Liberal institutions and organizations would be linked to the IRS in the collective Catholic psyche. The two would become inseparable in the Catholic mindset. This IRS-Liberal connection would be permanently linked to institutionalized anti-Catholicism by the United States government. At least, that's how most Catholics would start to see it. Protests would erupt in the streets, and the anger of U.S. Catholics would be palpable. This of course would generate more news for the media - keeping the topic alive and well on the front pages of newspapers and the major talk of television and radio news.
After the bishops of the U.S. Catholic Church decide which properties need to be sold to pay the IRS the back-taxes it owes, the bishops would then begin to draft a counter offensive. Free of the 501(c)(3) muzzle, the priests and bishops of the U.S. Catholic Church would now be at liberty to endorse and oppose political candidates BY NAME, without fear of legal reprisals. The bishops would then begin drafting voter guides for every Catholic diocese throughout the United States. Certain candidates would be endorsed (by name) based on the Church's Pro-Life and Pro-Family teachings, while other candidates would be opposed (by name). Catholic parishes would also be free to campaign for certain political candidates (by name). In time, the Catholic vote would become a solid voting block and a political force to be reckoned with. Other churches could now turn to the Catholics for political advice in every election. For example; pastor so-and-so of the 1st. Evangelical Church down the street, could simply tell his congregation that the Catholics have a good voting ethic and his congregation should imitate them. This could be done without pastor so-and-so having to worry about his 501(c)(3) status being revoked because he didn't actually mention any political candidate by name. Meanwhile, as his congregation drives home from church services that Sunday, and they see the yard signs endorsing certain candidates (by name) on the local Catholic church's lawn, they'll know who to vote for. The U.S. Catholic Church will not only become the nation's largest voting block, but it will effectively spearhead a coalition voting block of many churches in the United States. In a very short time, no political candidate in America will be able to get elected until he first receives the blessing of the local Catholic bishop. All U.S. Senatorial candidates will seek the blessing of all Catholic bishops in a particular state, and all U.S. Presidential candidates will seek the blessing of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (U.S.C.C.B.). Candidates and parties will alter their platforms to better conform to the precepts of Catholic Social Justice - especially on matters related to abortion, stem-cell research, homosexuality, gay-marriage and school-choice. In effect, the U.S. Catholic Church will become the most powerful entity in American politics.
So that is why 'The Catholic Knight' welcomes attempts by Leftist Liberal organizations to revoke the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status of Catholic parishes, diocese, and the U.S. Catholic Church in total. I believe that in the long run it would actually benefit the Church, and effectively empower it, to radically alter American politics forever, and for the better. So to these Leftist Liberal organizations who want to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Catholic Church, I say "bring it on!"