Taxes

Separating Church and State Money

If religious institutions want to be left alone, they should stop begging for alms from the government.

|

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum declared in a February 26 interview with ABC’s This Week. “What kind of country do we live in that says only people of nonfaith can come into the public square and make their case?”

What is the former Pennsylvania senator talking about? Doesn’t appearing on a national news program while seeking the presidential nomination of a major political party qualify as making your case in the public square?

Santorum’s comments were prompted by the latest brouhaha over the role of religion in politics. In January the Obama administration unveiled new health care regulations that require organizations run by the Roman Catholic Church to offer health insurance that covers women’s reproductive services, including contraception. The U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops denounced the mandate as a violation of the First Amendment’s ban on laws “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion.

The Obama administration tried to limit the political damage by claiming that covering contraception would, on balance, save insurers money by reducing claims related to pregnancy and birth. Hence insurers could offer the coverage at no additional cost to them or their customers, meaning the Catholic Church would not actually have to pay for contraception. That argument is bunk: money saved but not rebated as a lower fee is not really distinguishable from paying for the covered service. 

As the contraception controversy illustrates, conflicts between church and state in this country typically arise from the way that benefits supplied or mandated by the government are distributed. University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, who has spent a career looking at the interaction between government and religion, highlights Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black’s formulation in the 1947 case Everson v. Board of Education

Writing for the 5-to-4 majority in Everson, Black declared, “No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion.” So far, so good. But Black also argued that government “cannot hamper its citizens in the free exercise of their own religion. Consequently, it cannot exclude individual Catholics, Lutherans, Mohammedans, Baptists, Jews, Methodists, Nonbelievers, Presbyterians, or the members of any other faith, because of their faith, or lack of it, from receiving the benefits of public welfare legislation.” The Court therefore ruled that New Jersey’s policy of reimbursing parents for bus transportation to and from parochial schools did not violate the First Amendment’s ban on “an establishment of religion” because the state was merely supplying a general service to all schools.

When the Constitution was adopted in the 18th century, Justice Black’s two principlesâ€"1) citizens cannot be taxed to support religious activities, and 2) the state may not deny tax-financed public welfare benefits to any citizen based on his religious beliefsâ€"rarely conflicted. “In an era with few public welfare benefits,” Laycock explained in a 2006 essay from his collection Religious Liberty, “no-aid [to religious activities] protected citizens from being forced to contribute to churches involuntarily: it protected the churches from financial dependence on government, and thus from government control.”

But with the relentless expansion of the welfare state, this separation of church and government transfers became a thing of the past. In their 1997 book The Challenge of Pluralism, political scientists Stephen Monsma of Calvin College and J. Christopher Soper of Pepperdine University argued that government funding of secular nonprofit public service programs places similar religious programs “at a government-created disadvantage.” This claim makes sense only if one assumes that government agencies are engaged in teaching religious or nonreligious beliefs as they dispense food stamps, rent vouchers, and vaccines. A cynical public choice analysis suggests that both churches and government welfare agencies may see themselves in competition when it comes to increasing the number of people who are dependent upon them.

To address concerns that religious organizations are “disadvantaged” by competition with secular welfare agencies, recent administrations have devised ways to shower tax dollars on various faith-based initiatives. The total amount of tax money involved is hard to determine. But Catholic Charities affiliates, for example, received more than 60 percent of their budgets (nearly $3 billion) from government sources in 2010, while only 3 percent came from diocesan church contributions. Subsidizing a religious group’s welfare activities, of course, frees up other funds to be used for nonsecular purposes. 

There is a way to call a ceasefire in Rick Santorum’s culture war. As Monsma and Soper observe, “Government’s advantaging of the secular over the religious could be avoided if government would simply stay out of a given policy area.” But they think there is no way to untangle the contentious church/state social service mess into which we’ve gotten ourselves. Here they are wrong. 

Consider public education. States and localities could collect tax dollars as usual and then offer school vouchers that parents could use to send their children to whatever religious or secular school they choose. States likewise could use vouchers to subsidize higher education, rather than running their own universities.

What about health insurance? The tax code could be reformed so that employers give their workers cash instead of medical benefits, allowing individuals to select the private health plan that works best for them, deciding for themselves whether they want coverage for contraception, abortion, sterilization, stem cell treatments, and so on. The poor could receive tax-financed vouchers to buy whatever private insurance they prefer. In fact, most public welfare services, including job training, nutrition support, and drug treatment, could be converted into voucher programs. 

Religious groups have always been welcome to make their cases in the public square, but if churches want to be left alone, they should stop begging for alms from the government. Rick Santorum should heed Ronald Reagan’s admonition. “We establish no religion in this country,” Reagan declared in 1984. “We command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate.” 

Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey is the author of Liberation Biology (Prometheus).

NEXT: Scott Walker Will Survive Wisconsin Recall: Reason-Rupe Poll Results

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. As a Christian, I am always frustrated by other Christians that want to utilize the government as a tool to further so-called Christian agendas. Christianity would be far better off not being in bed with government. For example, I am guessing that a large fraction of self-proclaimed Christians would like the government to ban gay marriage. I would much rather see the government get out of the marriage brokering business entirely. Why should the government care who you sleep with? Or if you call that person your husband or spouse? All licensing – including marriage – grants control of your lives to the government. For those of us Christians that believe homosexuality is immoral, we ought spend our time trying to persuade others of our position rather than coerce them into obeying. If making government controlled marriage reflect Christian ideals is laudable, then why don’t we also push for government run baptisms? Let’s force everyone to be baptized!

    1. Why is homosexuality immoral?

      1. I think he meant Homosexuality as act, not as status.

        In my case, I just find it icky, but that is only because I am a male lesbian.

        1. just as Janice responded I cannot believe that a person can profit $7042 in a few weeks on the internet. have you read this web site..CBCJob.NOTLONG.CoM

        2. what Kyle explained I’m startled that any body can earn $9552 in one month on the internet. did you see this site..h

        3. what Kyle explained I’m startled that any body can earn $9552 in one month on the internet. did you see this site..http://1st.ly/uzmmv

        4. Definitely the act.

          OM – does that mean you wear the man piece?

          1. Definitely the act.

            Still doesn’t answer the question.

      2. Because you’re supposed to be clothing the lepers, not ogling them.

  2. BW, I totally agree with you. As a Catholic I’d prefer that Christians follow Christ’s example, and use persuasion instead of coercion. My church is now on the receiving end of coercion, and not liking it, even though they were for Obamacare. As Pelosi warned us, it had to be passed to see what was in it.

    1. Paul Rahe had a superb column on just this issue. The Catholic Bishops never thought the monster they helped create would cease to obey their command.

  3. What about health insurance? The tax code could be reformed so that employers give their workers cash instead of medical benefits[…]

    You must be one of those that want poor people to fend for themselves and die on the streets, bereft of government assistance! You barbarian!

  4. By the way, nobody cares what Santorum said back in February. Just an FYI 😉

  5. But Ron, haven’t Libertarians been arguing for decades that government welfare crowds out private charity? And doesn’t that argument necessarily mean that “religious organizations are ‘disadvantaged’ by competition with secular welfare agencies”?

    Yet now when it is convenient to Libertarians they are not?

    1. You seem to have a point. I look forward to discussion….

    2. Ron Bailey doesn’t consider himself a libertarian, and has said so in the past. He voted for BO for chrissakes.

      1. TtW: Say what? I do consider myself to be a libertarian and have since my very early 20s. Where did you (and some others) get the odd idea that I have allegedly said that I was not a libertarian?

        1. After reading about Tulpa, it could be an “act of imagination” or “self-induced hallucination.”
          Take your pick.
          http://www.tulpa.com/explain/alexandra.html

        2. Somewhere back when you were trying argue here that not having government funded embryonic stem cell research was tantamount to theocracy or somesuch nonsense.

          1. Being anti-stem cell research for stem cell lines that are just going to be thrown in the garbage anyway isn’t necessarily theocratic (although the theocrats are pushing it) but it is completely retarded.

            1. You missed the point. He wasn’t talking about a ban on research, he was talking about not having GOVERNMENT FUNDED research

              1. The government is the biggest funder of research.

                Further, the pharamceuticals companies, who are huge funders of research, have absolutely no interest in funding stem cell research of any kind. There’s no money it for them.

                Basic research like this is going to save my life (or kill me). Without it, I’d have been dead for six months already.

                So, you want to stop government funding of critical research which can help save the lives of people like me, and I think you have every right to believe that, but no one else is going to step up to the plate (OK, maybe I could get lucky, and Bill Gates could get something which would benefit from the cure, but I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, so, that’s not really a “plan”).

                1. Considering the opinion of you held by most of the posters in these comment threads, I think the possibility of saving your life would only serve as additional disincentive to further government funding of research.

                  Snark aside, you’re still missing the point. Scientific research isn’t one of the narrow functions of government that libertarians believe are legitimate exercises of its powers. You’re attacking this from the wrong perspective. If you want to convince libertarians of the necessity of government-funded stem cell research, you must first convince them that its an area where the government has any legitimate authority.

                  Good luck with that. This is a mostly deonotological crowd – utilitarian arguments won’t win you any points. Emotional appeals based on theoretical suffering in the absence of government are generally not well regarded. That’s why we frequently throw around the term “For the children” sarcastically.

                  Also, I’d be very surprised if there weren’t huge money to be made patenting and then licensing or selling a therapeutic or technological process, delivery device, cell formulation, etc to treat diseases with stem cells. I’m surprised a person like you who believes in the inherent evil, greed, and exploitative nature of corporations would presume that they wouldn’t do whatever it takes to extract a big fat check from your insurance company for treating your illness the same as they do with, say, heart disease or cancer.

                  1. It’s not me saying this, it’s the guy who invented the research.

                    Dr. Richard Burt, the inventor of the HSCT treatment for auto-immune diseases, speaking about how drug companies simply aren’t interested (watch for about 30 seconds)

                    Think about it. It’s a treatment. It’s like a new type of surgery, without even a device. Only surgeons are going to benefit if this is done, oh, and the sick. The sick will benefit.

    3. “…government welfare crowds out private charity? And doesn’t that argument necessarily mean that “religious organizations are ‘disadvantaged’ by competition with secular welfare agencies”?”

      Huh? Government does crowd out private charity. I thought the point was to get govt out of the charity bussiness. Who fills that niche, secular or religious is irrelevant, as long as they are not stealing tax payer money in a redistributive scheme to buy votes.

      Or are you being sarcastic and I missed it? Maybe I need to mix a vodka and read your comment again.

      1. “Government does crowd out private charity”

        How does this occur if private charity is not at a disadvantage to government charity? Both statements cannot be true.

        You are missing the point.

        1. Nobody said they were both true.

          1. Ron is saying one is true. and that means he is denying the other. And if he is, then he just undercut a huge argument against public welfare programs. And he also is rejecting about a hundred years of libertarian thought.

            1. Well yeah, I’d think that you’d see by now that Reason writers do not hold totally orthodox libertarian positions.

              Besides, you know what they say about libertarians trying to reach a consensus.

              1. Well yeah, I’d think that you’d see by now that Reason writers do not hold totally orthodox libertarian positions.

                In the case of Kerry Howley, Dave Weigel, Will Wilkinson and quite a few others they never held “unorthodox libertarian positions” either.

        2. Ok, maybe I did. Where is my vodka?

          I got lost when you used both ‘govt charity’ and ‘secular charity’ in your argument. I thought you were saying non-govt secular charities somehow had non-govt religious ones at a disadvantage.

          Private charity is at a disadvantage to govt charity, as government collects its alms by force. That was the only distinction I had in mind.

      2. I thought the point was to get govt out of the charity bussiness.

        It is, but you can’t fault churches for asking for govt cheese when that’s all that’s out there.

        As in so many other things we want to get govt out of, it’s a Mexican standoff/prisoner’s dilemma/Kobayahsi Maru. It makes no sense to be the first one to give up govt goodies.

        1. TtW: “all that is out there”? – what about the cash in the collection plates?

          1. According to a 2003 item by Ron Paul MD all that cash is “nothing more than a sinister and evil form of hidden taxation.”
            http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul125.html
            Or could it be another tulpa creation?

            1. fiat currency =/= real cash

              1. I don’t know how many times I have heard people make the argument that American Money has no value. Of course when I tell them I will be glad to relieve them of the burden of carrying the worthless bills and coins that are in their pockets they never fork them over.

              2. @Jesse James Dean,

                I believe what you were looking for was the HTML Entity Name (found at http://www.w3schools.com/tags/ref_symbols.asp, along with HTML Entity Number) for “not equal” which is constructed by the following sequence of characters (with the commas removed):

                ,n,e,;

                IOW: “fiat currency ? real cash”

                Keith T?pfer

  6. That Santorum church crap is scary stuff. But the push by the administration to demolish the free exercise clause is scarier. Fortunately, after the 9-0 ruling shooting down the Americans with Disabilities act versus free exercise, I don’t think Obama has a chance in hell on the contraceptives thing.

    1. I agree. And I guess I am not following Bailey’s point here. The Catholic church’s right to act within their beliefs has nothing to do with whether they take government money.

      1. “The Catholic church’s right to act within their beliefs has nothing to do with whether they take government money.”

        True, but they got in bed with the devil. This result is no surprise. There are always strings attached to that money. They are free to not take it and act on their consciences….but dont hold your breath waiting for that to happen. What captain zero is doing is abominable, but not unexpected. The govt always offers money, not in the spirit of helping, but with the explicit purpose of gaining control.

        Receiving government assistance should not make anyones rights evaporate. You are correct. I say it would be naive not to expect it.

        1. “There are always strings attached to that money.”

          The government healthcare mandates are not predicated on receiving any subsidies of any sort. The government is claiming the right to dictate what level of coverage must be offered and accepted by all employers and insurees by virtue of existing within the USA.

          That meme needs to die.

      2. The Catholic church’s right to act within their beliefs has nothing to do with whether they take government money.

        uh, what? It has everything to do with taking government MY money!

        Simply, I don’t concur that religious institutions contribute to the greater good of society (I actually strongly assert the opposite) which should be the minimum bar for being granted such funding.

        Or, from an even more libertarian point of view: If your freaking institution is so important and good and necessary, there would be no need for it to be subsidized. Run it like a business without handouts and churches will disappear faster than trailers in Tornado Alley.

        IOW: if the church wants to keep its influence in the general societal discourse, they can do it on their own dime. Or fail to do so. I’m pretty sure that that is Ron’s larger point.

      3. @John “The Catholic church’s right to act within their beliefs has nothing to do with whether they take government money.”

        False.

        The government can’t fund groups which discriminate in hiring.

        1. Churches carved themselves out exemptions for religious discrimination in most every relevant statute in that regard.

          Also, government funds and even operates institutions with explicit racial hiring preferences. But I’m sure it’s not worth arguing with you that affirmative action constitutes discrimination.

          1. Of course, complete dumbass, affirmative action is discrimination.

            I guess you don’t believe in restitution for crimes? A crime was committed.

      4. This country’s odd way of handling health care is to blame for this.

        It’s obvious that the health care coverage an employer provides is actually employee compensation. Given a choice between two identical jobs, but one provides health care and the other doesn’t, which job would anyone choose? If the employee quits, does the company keep paying for the coverage?

        Only the fact that the value of the compensation is not required to be listed on a paycheck allows certain employers to claim that they “pay” for health care, instead of it being a limited compensation to the employee.

        It would be far preferable if insurance companies were required to be their own pool, and all comers of the same age were charged the same price for the same package of benefits, regardless of the size of their employer. And sever health insurance from employment.

        Large employers getting a huge discount does not make market sense as the health status of an employee is in no way dictated by the size of the company they work for. If there was truly any market benefit, we would all save money by buying our homeowners and auto insurance through our employers as well. It’s nonsense.

        In this scenario, insurance companies could charge whatever they want, but they have to charge everyone the same, and we get out from under the “but I’m paying for nasty stuff!” debate, as well as give people a real choice in their insurer – as opposed to just accepting the insurer their boss wants to work with.

  7. So if religious institutions want to be left alone, Bailey notes, they should stop begging alms from the government.

    Yeah, I’m totally sure BO would never have thought of doing this if it weren’t for churches asking for govt money. Finally, a blowback theory a militant atheist can get behind.

    Let’s see, the govt soaks up 30-40% of the economy and starves private charity, WTF are the churches supposed to do? And if you’re involved in education or health care you’re essentially forced to ask for govt money because the majority of the money spent on those things passes through government paws.

    1. And the rule in question is about health insurance. Bailey’s point makes no sense. But sadly as reasonable as Baily is about some things, he is just that unreasonable about religion.

      1. TtW John: As much as it pained me I made the assumption that the government would continue to “soak” up 30% to 40% – in order to get the churches out of the clutches of the government I argued – as a second best alternative to cutting back government welfrare/schools/health care programs -for giving it to people (vouchers) who could then decide which services they want – secular or religious.

      2. You do recognize the irony of holding and strenuously defending a position of faith while simultaneously asserting that someone who’s moved beyond your frightened, childish beliefs by virtue of reason is, as you say, “unreasonable about religion,” don’t you?

    2. Unfortunately, the churches are not a good way of administering funds in an equitable manner to citizens. Many prostelyze to the recipients, or require they are part of the church, and that is unacceptable to many.

      Churches are not required to perform these functions in order to survive. In fact, they should be happy that these people are being helped by other means.

      Charity is not a competition.

      Now, come up with a private, secular way that people with needs are given a guaranteed minimum safety net (which I think as Americans is the least we can do for our fellow countrymen), and I am all ears.

  8. What is the former Pennsylvania senator talking about? Doesn’t appearing on a national news program while seeking the presidential nomination of a major political party qualify as making your case in the public square?

    What makes you think he was talking about the status quo, and not some feared future of mandatory individual public secularism?

  9. Wait, we have a choice in “begging for the alms” of Obamacare?

  10. “States and localities could collect tax dollars as usual and then offer school vouchers that parents could use to send their children to whatever religious or secular school they choose.”

    Then what? Any one of Florida’s Islamic Schools takes these vouchers to their local County Courthouse and presents them to the County Treasurer for cash that presumably comes from all the taxpayers in the county.
    Who could object to this? Certainly not The Reverend Terry Jones and his Koran burning Christians. None of the 16 Florida Islamic Academies are located in Alachua County, home of his Dove World Outreach Center in Gainsville.

    On the other hand, I am going to be a prick about this. Parents are free to send their kids to parochial schools. They are also free to pay for it themselves. I want all the money I pay on my tax bill to go to the Secular Public Schools in my district. I have no interest in one cent of money I am forced to pay to keep my property supporting vouchers, credits or whatever convoluted scheme you can come up with to support religious education with public funds. The Churches already get a pass on property taxes don’t they?

    1. You’re the kid who, being worked over by the playground bully, complains not about the shakedown, but that it hasn’t been applied equally to his fellow wimps. Until you learn to make the argument that holy rollers should not be forced to fund the schools of your choice, I will be here hoping that all your tax money is given to whichever church most you most despise.

      1. There are a lot of people like that.

      2. Zero times Zero: Wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first.

    2. In that case, I want all of the money that is taken from me to pay for any schooling back.

    3. As an atheist I’d rather see the money spent worshiping a non-existent god than worshiping the state, but that’s just me.

      In any case, it’s not about the churches lack of property taxes its about the parents. Why should you have to pay twice for school if you want to go to private school whether religious or secular? There are secular private schools you know and plenty of “religious” schools that or only so for historical reasons just like many private universities (which you help fund through government loans).

      1. As someone paying property taxes so the noisy rugrats around here have a pen for the day, I have no sympathy for those that would complain of paying twice for school. Fuck, I’m paying once for nothing.

      2. As a fellow atheist, I would say that if you disagree with people paying twice for public school and private school, you must also object to non-parents, or people whose children are grown from paying for the same thing.

        I don’t have children. Why should I contribute a penny towards the education of your children?

  11. OK wow these guys do not have a clue man, I mean none.

    http://www.Privacy-Geeks.tk

    1. Doesn’t Reason ban spammers?

      If not, why not?

  12. Faith? non-faith? ridiculous idea.
    I have no faith that a god that responds to worship is worthwhile. If I don’t worship him, what? He’ll kick my ass? Screw him.
    I do have faith that this a-hole Santorum will be back in 4 years spouting the same crap and convincing a large crew he is devout. I can’t wait.

  13. Why is “diocesan church contributions” a relevant benchmark? Aren’t donations typically given directly to Catholic Charities or affiliates?

  14. stem cell treatments, and so on. http://www.vendreshox.com The poor could receive tax-financed vouchers to buy whatever private insurance they prefer. In fact, most public welfare services, including job training, nutrition support,

  15. “As the contraception controversy illustrates, conflicts between church and state in this country typically arise from the way that benefits supplied or mandated by the government are distributed.”

    The contraception controversy does no such thing. Bailey is conflating separate issues that have little to do with one another, so he can talk about his own coercive plan. The authority the federal government claims to mandate health insurance coverage has nothing to with accepting subsidies at any level (else, not accepting such would be a way to opt out of the mandates).

    The point is: what is the government doing dictating a uniform level of service to a benefit that is supposed to confer a competitive advantage for an employer in the labor market?

    1. If you think the only purpose to health coverage is to provide a competitive advantage to an employer, instead of benefiting this country and aiding our competitiveness and well-being by having a healthy populace, well I just can’t help you.

  16. The poor could receive tax-financed vouchers to buy whatever private insurance they prefer. In fact, most public welfare services, including job training, http://www.nikewinkel.com/scho…..-c-49.html nutrition support, and drug treatment, could be converted into voucher programs.

    1. While I’m genereally in support of the voucher concept, I’ve suddenly discovered something I didn’t see coming: that the “poor could receive tax-financed vouchers…”

      Who decides what level of poor-ity is worthy of changing your status from producer to looter? If it ends up like income taxes, we’re right back in the boat of half of the peeps deciding the amount of which they’re entitled to take from the other half.

      Curl this back to the church-health care issue: If religious people get vouchers for religious school, who decides what level of faith-ity is worthy of subsidization? Do you have to do charity? Can you still get these same tax shelters if your church worships Satan? How about newly-invented religions? How long should Mormons have to wait before they’re officially recognized club members? Is 150 years enough?

      Hell. Realizing that there is this kinda money in religion sorta makes me regret giving up religion for Lent back in the 8th grade. What a racket!!!

      1. You just responded to a spamming robot.

        You just failed the Turing Test.

  17. Get the churches off the public payroll. If you wanna be a member of a sect, believing in books written when the authors still thought the Earth were flat – you pay for it. Can’t be any simpler than that.

  18. The church power is getting very low in the western states and now the financial conditions are also become at different spots.

    1. I mentioned this upthread – churches are just largely government-funded businesses and, were they to have to adhere to actually turning a profit on their own, they’d be gone almost overnight.

      Again: if their services are so desirable, people will find a way to pay for them.

  19. The only thing I think a person needs to read to understand how to deal with such issues is James Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments. Specifically the part that goes (emphasis mine):

    We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance.

    To me this means that, to the eyes of the government, there is no difference between a group of people who get together and have one person lecture at them and another group of people who get together and have one person lecture at them who happens to be a priest.

    Government can not see religion.

    Government can surely see if one of its agencies is acting in a religiously discriminatory fashion (very few would want the DoJ to only hire Jehovah’s Witnesses, to the exclusion of all other faiths). Similarly, the government can see if a group it gives money to hires in a discriminatory fashion (the Catholic Church is charitable, but only hires Catholics as priests).

  20. Would have, could have. The solution proposed here is meaningless because the government, by virtue of Obama care, is the main player in health insurance. Telling Catholic hospitals that they are not Catholic is one step away from taking them over, lock, stock and barrel. This is a clear abridgement of the bill of rights and yet another reason to get rid of this law (and this administration.)

    1. If the Catholic hospitals were truly Catholic, they would provide their services free of charge to all comers. Just as Jesus did.

      Except they don’t. They’re a business, like any other, and used to fund their other activities.

  21. Mr Bailey hit the mark. Vouchers would solve the problem in mamny ways. Public employee unions oppose that solution as wella smany anti-religous organizations which would like religous connected public service organizations (who initiated education , health and welfare programs in America0 to be phased out instead of continuing in a leading and cooperative way with governmwent.Public employees fear that cooperation with independent organizations to achieve a public good , will dray money from theircoffers, and set higher standards. ( Logical fear) America knows how to foster cooperation between separate and independent entities , respecting their differences. Obama doesn’t seem to understand this!!

  22. The real problem is that churches have lost a lot of their identity apart from government, just like the rest of us, by virtue of existing within our current convoluted, self-contradictory, labyrinthine regulatory structure. Mostly by their own choice. It begins when churches accept restrictions on their speech in exchange for absolution from the income tax. From that moment forward the church and state have become intertwined.

    When the state takes vast regulatory control of other services, like adoption, schools, feeding the hungry, clothing the indigent, housing the homeless, etc, restrictions are imposed on the churches that previously administered those services. The churches that wish to continue providing them have to either compete for the private dollars of citizens who see redundancy in donating to a cause for which they already pay taxes, or go rent-seeking to the government with restrictions on the religious aspects of their services. They generally choose the latter, which makes sense since they’re already doing so for tax benefits anyway. The churches complain of religious discrimination. Secularists complain of government subsidizing religion. Individuals face diminished choice. Meanwhile, it is illegal in many large cities for individuals to give a sandwich to a homeless person without a vendor license and permit from the health inspector, lest the homeless risk their health by eating tainted food from strangers. Yes, everybody wins when government grows.

  23. If you are vigilant enough, you can very easily locate Cheap Sunglasses that’ll price you one-tenth on the money http://www.sunglassescheap2u.com. And most importantly, their superior is best notch for the reason that they use perfect out there raw materials to provide you with highest safeguard and looks.

  24. For me the argument between the government and the Catholic Church is actually a First Amendment issue for the employees affected. Actual churches are already exempted for the simple reason that promoting religious dogma is part of their reason to exist. The policy involved applies to non-church organizations like hospitals. The government’s position seems to be that if you hire a non-Catholic doctor to perform a secular non-religious job you have to allow them options consistent with their own beliefs rather than their employer. The Catholic Church’s position seem to me to be that just because they are connected to an institution that’s somehow sufficient that they should be allowed to order non-Catholics to follow Catholic dogma.

  25. How to Separate Church State: A Manual From the Trenches

    Amazon paperback:
    http://www.amazon.com/Separate…..615638023/

    Amazon Kindle:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B008ZQTRFU/associatizer-20/

    “… a fine guide to action: it explains in considerable detail just how each of us can make a difference in correcting violations of real religious liberty … this work gives you plenty of avenues to make a real difference in your community and nation.” -Rev. Barry Lynn
    President of Americans United for Separation of Church and State

    “… does a great job showing the remarkable number and variety of ways in which Monotheistic religion has wended its way into our state and federal governments. Just a walk down the Table of Contents demonstrates how pervasive this constitutional infraction has been. … A more in-depth reading reveals some of the tools that can be used to redirect that power as the nation’s great charter requires.”
    -Mike Newdow
    Constitutional Law Attorney

    “…very useful and well-organized.”
    -Dale McGowan
    Editor of Parenting Beyond Belief and Co-author of Raising Freethinkers

  26. Thanks meant for a delight full good post. I was happy to scan it
    http://UMESH.WS

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.