Why I will never, ever be Catholic -- part gabillion

Well, at least the Times is calling it like it is:
The fate of same-sex marriage collided with a dysfunctional political process in Albany on Tuesday as the State Senate delayed a vote on a bill that would make it legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry in New York, putting the issue off indefinitely.
One of the things I enjoy more about Maine than New York is how accessible the state political process is. I've had the chance to meet the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate several times (they're both very nice ladies), and it's as easy as pie to get to know your legislator. (The referendum process? Maybe not so much my favorite thing right now. But I digress...) Albany always seemed like a rat's nest of entrenched political insiders and byzantine power plays.

So, during the delay, people on both sides of the issue will have more time to lobby. Who, pray tell, do they find for the anti-equality side? Three guesses.
“A lot of our job was done for us by the electorate in Maine and the electorate in the north country,” said Dennis Poust, communications director for the Catholic Conference, the political arm of the state’s bishops. “Why is it beneficial for Republicans to take on this very controversial issue right now? It’s not. And we’re making sure to remind them of what happened last Tuesday.”
How nice that the state's bishops have a political arm. And that their political arm is waving toward Maine and the horrible damage their pals up here helped bring about. How nice. How lovely.

How compelling an argument for revoking the tax exempt status of the whole lot of them. If they are going to use their money for outright political wrangling, in opposition to my civil rights, would someone like to explain to me why it is that they should be afforded the privilege of paying no tax? Am I wrong that this is insane?

Never before have I felt so utterly persecuted as I do right now. Never before have I perceived myself to be the enemy of something so vast and powerful as the Roman Catholic church. Never have I felt more frustrated, impotent and angry.

And never again will I ever attend a Roman Catholic mass.


  1. Regardless of how you feel about the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, they are a religious organization and fall squarely within the religious exemption. They do not need your or my approval to qualify. This is a feature, not a bug. You are wrong that this is insane.

  2. No, compadre, I am not wrong that this is insane.

    If this means that we must reconsider whether religious entities are entitled to tax exemption, I am all for it. I vote "no," for the record.

  3. The problem with taxing religious organizations is that you are taxing (supposedly, but in the case of the RCC certainly) benevolent organizations who help the poor, the sick, and the lonely. Tax them, and now they have a serious increase in expenses for accounting, legal, and record-keeping. This is money that can't be used to feed, clothe, and shelter people. Why would you want to do that in a fit of pique? It isn't going to affect the SSM stance of any church one iota, and it will without question hurt those least able to fend for themselves.

  4. I question how apt it is to describe the RCC as "benevolent." I will not question that it does good work in many areas.

    Regardless, I think it is appropriate to ask how much political wrangling a tax exempt entity is allowed to do before it has to pony up. I would suggest that a church that takes up an additional offering in its services for a purely political campaign has some serious explaining to do, and has pretty [fornicated]-up priorities.

  5. The inquisition is not in place today only because the Church could not get away with it. If they could, we would be toast...literally.

  6. JG, I quote from your latest. "benevolent organizations who help the poor, the sick, and the lonely". WHAT? The Catholic Bishop of Maine collected $152,978.00 from collections at mass. Pray tell how raising money and taking away our civil rights qualifies in the least bit for them to have a tax free reign. That money could have been used to feed starving Catholic children, help the sick and homeless. But NO those sanctimonious dick-wads used it against their fellow human beings. That bastard church should lose its tax deduction along with any other church that delves from their holy scripture and sticks their nose into other peoples private lives. They have no idea what they have done both morally, and spiritually to a very large group of decent law-abiding tax paying persons. As a post script Joseph Ratzinger aka Pope Horrid has proposed Pius XII be made a saint. That should play well.

  7. @ Gadfly

    > The problem with taxing religious
    > organizations is that you are taxing
    > (supposedly, but in the case of the
    > RCC certainly) benevolent
    > organizations who help the poor,
    > the sick, and the lonely.

    Yes, that is true.

    It's also true that the Catholic church spent millions of dollars (that they could have been using to help the poor, the sick, and the lonely) in support of Maine and California's "pro-traditional marriage" laws.

    It's certainly within the rights of any religious organization to decide who can and cannot be married within their Church. It's not within the rights of any religious organization to encode that in law that affects people that aren't part of that church.

    The legal protection granted to religious organizations is supposed to protect them from abuses of the people. It comes with the separation of Church and State. The Catholic church is trying to have it both ways.

    I'm Catholic (nominally). It really irks me that some of the collection money that I've been providing to my diocese to help the poor, the sick, and the lonely has been used to support legal entrenchment of dogma. My church (or anyone else's) does not have that right, in my opinion.

    You want to encourage people to vote one way from the pulpit? That's seriously pushing it, but it's generally too big of a can of worms to make this illegal; the negative consequences of this outweigh the positive ones. You want to encourage people to donate to political causes? Again, violating the spirit of the separation of Church and State, but again the negative consequences of trying to prohibit this one outweigh the positive ones.

    The minute you dip into your organization's coffers directly to support a political cause or a politician, you're definitely over any reasonable line. That's direct participation in politics, and you should pay the vig just like everybody else.

    Dan, on behalf of all reasonable people who are associated with the Catholic church, I apologize for the wrong done to you and yours.

  8. Padraig, I've been sincerely touched by some of the incredible support my family and I have received from Catholics who are appalled at what their church has done. I should hasten to add that I have no antipathy for Catholics per se, only for the hierarchy.

    And, while I would never hold responsible those who had nothing to do with the failure of marriage equality in Maine, I genuinely appreciate what you had to say. Thank you.

  9. Dan, I am with you completely. And I believe that organizations doing good for humanity only get to use all the money they collect if it is used exclusively for those in need. Hetersexuals do not need the Church's benevolence in "saving" them from gay rights. Revoke their tax-free status.
    I was raised Catholic, a lot of the people I know are Catholic. (I know a shocking number of gay Catholics, who ignore all the political b.s. and worship the root but not the dogma of the religion. I don't understand their choice to do so.) And most American Catholics (meaning a polled majority) think the Church as an establishment abuses power, sticks its nose where it doesn't belong, and makes poverty and social ills WORSE by promoting rampant childbearing.
    Most Catholics ignore the ban on contraception, disagree with the Church's political stance on abortion (though not necessarily with its moral stance), and revile Catholic insertion into politics at every turn.
    Problem: there are enough people in the world of all faiths and beliefs who do not question anything they are told, and who use faith as a license for ignorance and self-subjugation.

  10. Padraig, Dan, I've never said the RCC is a font of unalloyed blessing. Promulgating Catholic morality is, well, an essential part of who they are. Most Christian churchs do take moral stands, and guess what, I don't agree with them all the time. But I don't whine about wicked they are for disagreeing with me.

    Telling people how to vote from the pulpit of a tax-exempt church is illegal, unless, of course, it supports Democratic candidates. And no, I'm not being sarcastic.

    UJ, the Catholic church isn't sticking its nose into your private life at all. It is telling the faithful what the Catholic position is and getting out the vote. The more the merrier, participation is a good thing, right?

    Catholics are a minority. They don't make laws. Bishops don't serve in government. The only power they have is persuasion. If you want to change a law over the opposition of the voters who listen to the RCC, well, you'll need to be more persuasive. This isn't rocket science, guys.