Friday, April 23, 2010

CHURCHES MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAVE TAX-EXEMPT STATUS

This article highlights a very important LGBT activist principle.

As I've often contended, there are two venues in which civil and sacramental rights for LGBT people must be fought: the courts, and homophobic churches the influence of which cannot be underestimated. In the latter venue, peaceful and continual picketing during services of selected homophobic churches in each city or jurisdiction, showing how their false gospel of exclusion is antithetical to the Gospel of grace, faith, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness, should be undertaken.

When you hit, or threaten to hit, discriminatory institutions in the pocketbook, we might reasonably expect them to tone down their hateful rhetoric and discriminatory actions; withholding funds, such as removing churches' tax-exempt status, can be a major way of gutting the homophobic rhetoric and actions that exists in many, if not most, denominations and churches, because those churches would then lack sufficient funds to bankroll the prevention of equal civil rights as has hitherto existed. For the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to give just two examples, to enjoy tax exempt status is, in my opinion, a profound injustice!

I am a Christian who is quite theologically conservative, and not only don't I see any warrant to prevent same-sex marriage, or justify any type of homophobia, in the Bible, I am also adamant about the need for the separation of Church and State.

Currently, the Church and the State have become so enmeshed with each other that most "conservative" churches extol as virtues Americanism, patriotism, militarism, and capitalism. Indeed, most of the institutional Church is a handmaiden of the State, and often parrots the ideology of the power elite in secular society, and does so by calling it "biblical."

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth! If anything, the Bible, particularly in the New Testament, subscribes to anything but capitalism, as can be easily seen when reading Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:32-37.

In any case, it's a profound tragedy that it's quite likely that if you ask the average person to say the first word that comes to his/her mind when the word "Christian" is said, "Love" is not likely to be that word! We're far more likely to hear words such as "sin" and "discrimination," thanks to the perversion of the Gospel of grace (the only Gospel to be found in Christianity) that exists in most of the institutional Church.

It is crucial that discrimination, be it in the religious or secular arena, be taken to the judiciary, and not pathetically taken to the public to win their votes on this or any civil rights matter! And, we must do our best to remove public funding of church and para-church organizations.

After all, if clergy within denominations and churches really have faith in God to provide for their needs, they don't need tax-exemption to help fund their operation!
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9 comments:

Reece Wyman Manley said...

In my works, I've explored the Gay:Christian connection. I didn't really KNOW that gay people were welcomed by God until I experienced a death crossing. When you show up and God's love overcomes you..you know the baptists are wrong.

Reece Manley
http://www.crossingtwice.com

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks Reece. Yes, the Baptists are wrong, as are most of the other denominations in the institutional Church regarding full equality for LGBT people. Best wishes, Jerry.

genevieve said...

I'm theologically conservative also. What the institutional church says about GLBT people is unbiblical and false. Sadly, in many churches there's no difference between the spiritual and secular.

genevieve said...

When I came out I saw that what the institutional church said about LGBT people was wrong and unbiblical. Nowhere does Jesus exclude or discriminate.

Look at the scandal in the RCC? They haven't come clean on this because there's too much money and power at stake.

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi genevieve: As you know, the institutional Church is largely different than Christ's Church, and it's a great mistake for gullible people to not distinguish between the two churches. Some people in the institutional Church are members of Christ's Church, but the unfortunate fact is that many people in Christ's Church are downright uncomfortable in the institutional Church and they, themselves, may not even know why.

Christians who are Christians in fact are members of Christ's Church, and I expect we'll increasingly see those Christians fleeing the institutional Church, especially that part that teaches the false gospel of exclusion, legalism, and perfectionism, and choose to stay home and worship by themselves and/or with other like-minded people in faith communities.

Best wishes, Jerry.

gentle lamb said...

the issue here is the church having a tax exempt status whilst not doing charity works but involve in politics, but also the fact that many GLBT people aslo supports the churches that comes against them. This is difficult to understand.

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Gentle Lamb: It's hard to understand because it's hard to fathom the level of self-loathing so many LGBT people have due to their taking seriously the ignorant and/or hateful rhetoric of all too many clergy and others; the false belief that when exclusion and denial of civil rights is preached from the pulpit, that that rhetoric and their discriminatory actions are "Christian." Best wishes, Jerry.

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

Gay people are SCARED of the Fundamentalist Right Wing! Most of us will never admit that they've internalized the anti-Gay garbage that Bible bigots preach, but we have. You can tell by the high rates of alcoholism and drug abuse among us, the penchant for reckless sexual behavior, and especially the dehumanizing slurs and stereotypes we insist on "reclaiming".

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Don Charles: If Gay people were as emotionally intact, and as intellectually savvy, as you are, they would flee those toxic "churches" like the plague that those churches are, and fight like hell to get equal rights that they deserve. The tragedy is that it seems to me that all too many LGBT people don't feel that they are worthy of full and equal civil rights, and that's why so much frivolity, self-destructive behavior, and downright betrayal of the struggle for equal rights occur from within the LGBT communities themselves. Best wishes, Jerry.