Join 3,522 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Your Tax Dollars at Work
January 6, 2006 4:14 PM   Subscribe

Your tax dollars at work this Sunday in Philadelphia, where luminaries such as Dr. Jerry Falwell, Dr. James Dobson, and Senator Rick Santorum will gather to rally support for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. The Greater Exodus Baptist Church, which is graciously hosting the event, has received over $1 million taxpayer dollars in the form of “faith-based” grants from the Bush administration.
posted by Otis (45 comments total)

1. Prepare a little really working honest non profit
2. Wait for criticism
3. Rub the criticist nose in the little organize and call him "traitor" and "ghey"
4. ?
5. Return to your ordinary derouting of money to one faith: MINE.
6. Profit !
posted by elpapacito at 4:20 PM on January 6, 2006

i'm gonna puke
posted by tarantula at 4:26 PM on January 6, 2006

I'm with you on #4.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:27 PM on January 6, 2006

I don't understand how it's OK to use government money to fund religious organizations. If you give a church $100 to feed the hungry, that's $100 they won't spend out of their own pocket, and $100 more they can use to put up TV ads telling people to convert to their religion.

I mean, if a non-denominational charity fed the hungry, but also used part of its budget to write big checks to churches, would that be OK? I feel like most people would find this to be an inappropriate use of government grants and donations and such. But it's the same situation as "faith-based grants."
posted by rxrfrx at 4:28 PM on January 6, 2006

Hey, anyone want to start a new religion?
posted by tweak at 4:41 PM on January 6, 2006

What does it take to separate church and state? (slippery slope)
posted by isopraxis at 4:41 PM on January 6, 2006

Oh come on don't act like you didn't understand: it's FAITH based donation, meaning that you need to have FAITH the donation will reach the destination.

I mean it's not like something can go wrong with money changing hands expecially when it's LOTS of money.

In my very humble opinion, I like to donate directly to the final "customer". It's not always easy but nobody said it must be.
posted by elpapacito at 4:49 PM on January 6, 2006

Rxrfrx, I feel your quandary.

But I think the argument probably goes like this:

a) The first amendment prohibits the establishment of a state religion. It doesn't prohibit various interactions between government and religious organizations that do not constitute establishment.

b) (weak) Government money is taken from the people. Much of this money (if it were not taken in the first place) could probably be used for donations to the same programs that are supported by tax dollars anyway.

My opinion: This would not be an issue if there were no federal taxes. :-)
posted by bugmuncher at 5:07 PM on January 6, 2006

I second the motion to barf
posted by efbrazil at 5:07 PM on January 6, 2006

*barfing right now*
posted by interrobang at 5:10 PM on January 6, 2006

I don't know why I continue to be so shocked by these things. I should be expecting them by now. I guess it's a fundamental inability to wrap my mind around how the Bush Administration just keeps on doing things like this- and getting away with it.

I keep waiting to stop being enraged, but it never comes.
posted by Meredith at 5:10 PM on January 6, 2006

From the Family Research Council's site praising Lusk and The Greater Exodus Baptist Church:

"Pastor Lusk was able to stabilize the church financially by eradicating the $1 million of debt existing when he assumed leadership. "

$1 million in, $1 million out.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:21 PM on January 6, 2006

me too - puke!
posted by webwhore at 5:23 PM on January 6, 2006

TV ads telling people to convert to their religion.

I don't think I've ever, in my life, seen a TV ad telling people to convert to a religion. And I watch a lot of TV. I wonder what kooky TV station you're watching.
posted by JekPorkins at 5:29 PM on January 6, 2006

I've seen Mormon ads before.
posted by interrobang at 5:33 PM on January 6, 2006

*cough* dhoyt *cough*
posted by interrobang at 5:34 PM on January 6, 2006

Hey, anyone want to start a new religion?

Sure. Let's create some new debilitating diseases while we're at it.
posted by Decani at 5:41 PM on January 6, 2006

I've seen Mormon ads, too, but I've never seen one that tells people to convert to mormonism, have you? They're usually just dumb little vignettes about spending time with your family and stuff like that. Never seen a "convert now!" ad.

And why are you calling me dhoyt, ass?
posted by JekPorkins at 5:45 PM on January 6, 2006

I understand there was a bit of discord in the religious Right when they realized that the Scientologist, and Mormons, and Muslims, and all the other heathens can apply for faith based money too!!
Pat Robertson,put the White House on notice that his group had serious problems with the faith-based initiative if it meant the federal government would provide funds to groups such as the Hare Krishnas and Church of Scientology.

Even more scary, Your tax dollars are funding THE MOONIES!!

BTW isopraxis, I love the comic!! The part about "crazy" Marx and his wacky teacher Hegel is precious.
posted by Megafly at 5:47 PM on January 6, 2006

And why are you calling me dhoyt, ass?

Because you just showed up recently, and you sound exactly like him.
posted by interrobang at 5:53 PM on January 6, 2006

I would like to add a rider onto the vomiting motion, and be allowed to punch my own head in frustration.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:53 PM on January 6, 2006

Because you just showed up recently, and you sound exactly like him.

I don't know what he sounded like. Care to elaborate?
posted by JekPorkins at 5:55 PM on January 6, 2006

JekPorkins: if you dont know how dhoyt sounded, why would you be upset enough to respond by calling someone an ass when they suggested you were he? Just sayin'.
posted by crunchywelch at 6:02 PM on January 6, 2006

You use the exact same rhetorical trick dhoyt (and his many puppets) did—derailing threads by commenting on the comments rather than the content of the post.

The thread and post are not about forced conversion. They're about our government taking money from us and feeding it to groups who use it to RAH! RAH! RAH! throw a party for the government's choice for the new Supreme Court Justice.
posted by interrobang at 6:06 PM on January 6, 2006

I don't know what he sounded like.

You see that search box at the top of the page?

If you enter the word 'dhoyt' in there, it will take you to as many of his posts as you care to read.

I have to say, I agree with interrobang. Your posting style reminds me of dhoyt as well.

Just be glad he didn't write:

*cough* ParisParamus *cough*
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:08 PM on January 6, 2006

But you can't deny that America's Most Pious Weiner Dog AbuserTM knows an ethics violation when he sees one:

James Dobson: "If the nation’s politicians don’t fix this national disaster, then the oceans of gambling money with which Jack Abramoff tried to buy influence on Capitol Hill will only be the beginning of the corruption we’ll see. Some religious leaders want new ethics rules for Congress, but that’s only a band-aid fix. Politicians need to root out this infection. Gambling – all types of gambling – is driven by greed and subsists on greed. That makes it morally bankrupt from its very foundation. Gambling creates addicts, breeds crime and destroys families. We need courageous office holders who will begin the process of shutting down lotteries, casinos and other gambling outlets."

Hmm, did Ralph Reed ever work for him?
posted by maryh at 6:09 PM on January 6, 2006

How does this not put their tax exempt status at risk?
posted by caddis at 6:11 PM on January 6, 2006

Perhaps naming dhoyt's many sock puppet accounts would also be in order?

Will porky be added to the list?
posted by nofundy at 6:16 PM on January 6, 2006

caddis, Americans United filed a complaint with the IRS against Lusk's church in 2000, but nothing has come of it. Back then, Lusk delivered the invocation at the Republican National Convention.

From Max Blumenthal:

The host of Justice Sunday III and former NFL benchwarmer known as "the praying tailback" used to be a Democrat. Then, thanks to the aggressive lobbying of Sen. Rick Santorum, George W. Bush's Office of Faith Based Initiatives began bankrolling Lusk's operations, starting with an grant of over $900,000 in 2002. Like magic, Lusk became a rock-ribbed Republican.

Lusk's hosting of Justice Sunday III is not the first time he's provided political assistance to his paymasters. In 2000, in possible violation of IRS laws, Lusk delivered the invocation at the Republican National Convention. Four years later, he hosted the President at his church for a speech praising abstinence as the best -- and perhaps, only -- way to prevent AIDS.

posted by Otis at 6:49 PM on January 6, 2006

A very large church has received more than $1 million in tax dollars. The very large church hosted a political rally. Why in the world are so many people raging and puking and hitting themselves in the head over that? There has got to be some better, more outrageous cause right now, no?
posted by esquire at 7:41 PM on January 6, 2006

Does anyone else think Santorum sounds like a rude and invasive medical procedure?
posted by Peter H at 7:52 PM on January 6, 2006

Being both a Christian and a conservative, I had to jump in and also add my *barf* to the list as well as my support of bugmuncher's: "This would not be an issue if there were no federal taxes" comment.

I usually let out a "doh!" whenever I see Robertson in the news, let alone his name, Santorum's and Falwell's in the same sentence.

And, to top it all off, this means that they're all going to be just about an hour from me now. *Sigh*.
posted by hrbrmstr at 8:42 PM on January 6, 2006

Peter H, you haven't heard?
posted by es_de_bah at 9:24 PM on January 6, 2006

hmm, $1M dollars. What, ~4,000 church members. Thats... $250/member. It pays to vote Republican.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:28 PM on January 6, 2006

Hey, anyone want to start a new religion?

The blue is your pew. Have a seat.
posted by srboisvert at 4:32 AM on January 7, 2006

Seated and awaiting communion
posted by caddis at 6:18 AM on January 7, 2006

That's a good question, Caddis.

Here's their description of the event:
To educate people of faith on how the judiciary impacts their lives and to show how activist judges seek to end all mention of God in the public square.

Presumably, that stops short, at least in a technical sense, of advocating for a specific political party. Even though the speakers are all republicans and that kinda stuff. 'Course, it's also officially a FRC event, just hosted by the Greater Exodus Baptist Church.

There was a good story on NPR about the IRS/Church investigations a few weeks ago, if you're interested in learning more. It's a confusing situation and I'm not sure it's at all clear where the boundries are.

One imagines, though, that this is ultimately a show of force of an audience of one -- Arlen Specter. Otherwise, why Philly?
posted by ph00dz at 7:06 AM on January 7, 2006

Here's my theory on how they don't lose their tax-exempt status. It's an idea rally, not a political rally. Political rallies endorse a specific candidate or party. As long as you're promoting ideas rather than people or parties, it's not a political rally but rather some other kind of event.

Nonetheless, I asked my editors at the paper where I work to consider covering the simulcast because the tax-exempt issues make it interesting.
posted by bugmuncher at 7:14 AM on January 7, 2006

From a report on the 2000 GOP convention::

A powerful demonstration of the breadth of Bush's appeal came on the Monday night of the convention when a black churchleader, Herb Lusk, delivered a live message of endorsement from his downtown Philadelphia church via the huge video screens on the convention floor. Pastor Lusk talked about how their previously debt-ridden church had been transformed over recent years.

Notice he delivered an endorsement of a candidate from his church. I guess I just must be missing something here.
posted by Otis at 7:24 AM on January 7, 2006

A Mike Luckovich cartoon that's kinda sorta apropos.
posted by alumshubby at 8:48 AM on January 7, 2006

Meh. It's old hat, but so obvious what fundies want--activist judges. Roe v. Wade is law, and they want it overturned.

If Jesus ever came back, he'd bitch-slap the likes of Dobson and Reed so damn hard for abusing his name.
posted by bardic at 9:17 AM on January 7, 2006

I don't think I've ever, in my life, seen a TV ad telling people to convert to a religion. And I watch a lot of TV. I wonder what kooky TV station you're watching.
posted by JekPorkins at 8:29 PM EST on January 6 [!]

Come on down to the Bible Belt, honey! We got 'em. We also got crazier-than-shit newspaper ads. A constant barrage of them.

After watching The Daily Show Clip showing Pat Robertson smugly attributing Sharon's stroke to God's disfavor, my husband and I looked at each other wordlessly. Robertson. Why isn't he being pelted with mud and feces every where he goes?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:49 PM on January 7, 2006

"JekPorkins" seems unaware of (Protestant) Christian right broadcasting networks reaching tens of millions of Americans.
posted by troutfishing at 10:37 PM on January 7, 2006

..."I want to boldly affirm Uncle Tom. The black community must stop criticizing Uncle Tom. He is a role model."
--Scheduled Justice Sunday III speaker Rev. Wellington Boone

Christian right leaders love to invoke the legacy of the civil rights movement in their struggle to undo it. During Justice Sunday II, born-again Watergate felon Chuck Colson declared that the Christian right was doing nothing but "giving voice" to Martin Luther King Jr.'s philosophy. Later in the evening, the Catholic League's Bill Donohue told the nearly all-white, Southern Baptist audience, "Now we're in the back of the bus."
For Family Research Council President and Justice Sunday organizer Tony Perkins, who is today perhaps the Christian right's most influential operative, linking his agenda to the civil rights movement serves a purpose almost as important as indulging the persecution fantasies of his followers. The image of Perkins and his allies as the logical heirs to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy helps obscure his past involvement with racist groups and figures as he advances an anti-civil rights agenda. ...

posted by amberglow at 10:59 PM on January 7, 2006

Time: White House to Welcome Alito Diversion
posted by homunculus at 7:31 PM on January 8, 2006

« Older A student has been charged with felony...  |  Ring of LettersThe Einstein-Fr... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments