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How We All Pay For the Huge Tax Privileges Granted to Religion -- It's Time to Tax the Church

By some estimates, the property tax exemption alone removes $100 billion in property from U.S. tax rolls, and that's only the tip of the iceberg.

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The repeated exploitation of religion throughout history to further beat down the downtrodden isn't just a coincidence. Any belief system which teaches people to fix their gazes on another life can by its nature be leveraged to excuse poverty, oppression, and injustice in this one. When we see wealthy preachers joining hands with wealthy bankers to urge the masses to stop protesting and quietly accept their lot, it shouldn't be surprising -- it's a reminder of the natural order of things. Both groups are privileged elites whose highest concern, with a few rare and honorable exceptions, is hanging on to that privilege.

There's a lesson here for the 99 percent of us: If we seek social justice, the only way we'll ever truly attain it is to overthrow every ideology that promises pie in the sky by and by. As long as our effort is focused, even partially, on another world, it will always be divided and therefore less effective than it could be. (It's not for nothing that John Lennon put "Imagine no religion" together with "No need for greed or hunger.") We'll have real equality and real opportunity when we learn to set aside fantasies of another existence and turn our attention fully to this life and the things of this world, which are the only real or important things.

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