Silver Lining in Supreme Court Tearing Down Church-State Separation: It Paves the Way to Taxing Churches
Finally some good news!
A U.S. Supreme Court decision closing this spring's term pokes a hole in the separation of church and state. But that hole goes both ways.
Justices ruled 7-2 that Missouri could not withhold tax dollars to resurface a playground at a church preschool simply on the grounds that it’s a religious institution.
Therefore, one can expect any day now a ruling that the church can’t be exempted from paying taxes for the same reason.
Here’s the key issue.
Traditionally, the government doesn’t pay for the church. But now our highest court in the land has ruled that’s discriminatory!
Never mind that Missouri actually relented in this case and paid for the concrete anyway making the entire ruling moot and something that no other Supreme Court in history would have voted on because doing so would expose justices as being activists legislating from the bench.
No. Now that Republicans stole the seat of President Barack Obama’s rightful nominee, Merrick Garland, with President Donald Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch (i.e. Scalia 2.0), the court is a decidedly fascist institution.
In other words, it’s no longer a body of scholarly justices dedicated to interpreting the law. It’s now a shell corporation of paid corporate lobbyists issuing justifications to support the mandates of the billionaire class.
The five wealthiest people in the country have as much money as 750 million people – each. And most of these mega-rich want to destroy our public school system so they can hoover up tax dollars into their private portfolios. (Once you’ve got that much money, it’s just a game where you’re playing against other multi-billionaires to see who can get all the money, flip over the board and proclaim themselves King.)
To do this, they need school vouchers to help destabilize the system. Chop it down, remove any pretense of accountability to taxpayers about how that money is being spent and then sweep up that sweet, sweet money.
It also has the added benefit of ensuring the next generation is dumb enough to – I don’t know – continue voting for reality TV stars as President.
But that’s just the most obvious implication.
Now that the state has been shown to be responsible to support the church, the reverse has also been proven: the church has responsibilities to support the state.
That’s right. No more tax free status for houses of worship.
Get ready to dig deep into your pockets, parishioners. Uncle Sam needs a new pair of shoes.
Who’s paying for all those needless wars of aggression? The Church Lady! That’s who!
Where are we going to get the money to keep up the counterproductive war on drugs? The collection plate!
Yep. The assembled flock is about to get fleeced!
What conservatives seem to forget is that the wall of separation between church and state wasn’t erected just to protect the state from influence by religion. It also was set up to protect religion from the state.
Once you have money flowing from one to the other, regulations are soon to follow.
Expect your cute little parochial school to put away the Bible and replace it with “The Origin of Species”.
What? Your faith compels you to believe in the Creation of Man by God and not scientific evolution of organisms through heritable traits? I guess you’ll just have to teach the controversy.
Some people in America still think that there’s value in having both public and private schools. They seem to think that it’s actually a benefit having school systems where people are taught differently. But this new ruling paves the way (pun intended) to breaking down the walls between each type of institution.
Yes, public schools will become more like religious schools. But religious schools will also become more like public schools.
The entire education system will become one big watered down whole. And – giggle – those pushing for it actually call the process “School Choice”!
Oh the plutocrats will do their best to cover it all up with culture war nonsense. You’ll hear hours of cable news blather about poor conservative bakers fighting not to make cupcakes for gay people. But behind this high profile grist for the mill will be active efforts at homogenization, government overreach and oligarchy.
There’s one way in which this is good news. Some people have always thought churches were getting off easy, that they were being allowed undue influence on politics without having to pay the entrance fee of taxation like the rest of us.
However, this was only ever true at some houses of worship. Others were dedicated to spirituality, community and charity while eschewing affairs of state altogether.
This new ruling rips away protections from those authentically beneficent congregations as it does those more politically inclined. It exposes the preacher and the partisan equally.
Moreover, anyone who doesn’t want their tax dollars supporting someone else’s religious beliefs can expect their cries to fall on deaf ears. Christians will fund Muslims and Jews will fund Christians and all will pay for the Church of Satan and whatever sect is formed to take advantage of this brave new source of tax revenue. Religion is now decidedly in the public domain and all that goes with it.
The results are bound to displease everyone – except the mega-rich.
In short, you can’t tear down the rules that were set up to protect everyone without opening us all up to ruin.
America’s religious people are about to find that out.
It’s almost poetic justice.
Get ready to reap what you sow.