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Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
#51

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-21-2020, 01:12 AM)airportkid Wrote:
(12-20-2020, 11:46 PM)mordant Wrote: Some on the right would argue that the government is wasteful and bad at everything and 100% of everything should be left to private charity including churches. But the track record of private charity is checkered in its own right, and even if it weren't, there are still large scale projects impossible for anything BUT national government.

This point gets no attention but should get all the attention:  only large entities engaged in large enterprise have sufficient visibility to set the most effective priorities.  You and I can donate individually to the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, The United Way, etc. etc. and hand out $20 bills variously to the homeless or to GoodWill and food banks and accomplish SOME good, but if instead we gave all that random largesse to an entity with larger visibility and a charter to follow priorities more or less objectively derived, it would help, say, 20 people profoundly instead of 2 people momentarily.

Government as that agency would suffer the same corruptions that affect any enterprise, but to a lesser degree.

Thanks for making that point.

And thanks for underlining it: there is a momentum with mass.
Freedom isn't free.
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#52

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-20-2020, 08:35 PM)Percie Wrote:
(12-17-2020, 04:52 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: My point is that followers of a guy who urges compassion should, perhaps, spare some, even if it might cost them a little.
They do. The religious are much more charitable than the non-religious...

According to Karl Zinsmeister's research, on the surface this is undoubtedly true.  But...

What you've chosen to ignore is the motivation of theists versus the motivation of atheists in order
to donate these allegedly higher amounts.

The atheist is motivated to donate for uniquely philanthropic reasons.  Nothing else. No ulterior motives.

On the other hand, it's more than likely that theists are driven by other self-serving motives: A fear of
ending up in hell if they're not seen to be sharing their wealth; peer pressure when the donation plate
is passed around at church; stern commands from the pulpit to do so; a selfish desire to be seen to be
"doing the right thing" within the church congregation; donating solely to church-based institutions such
as schools and hospitals for their family's "insurance"; or even self-centredly "guaranteeing" themselves
a place in heaven when they pass.

And the recipients of all that "extra" money donated by the religious?

Research from the US National Study of American Religious Giving put a rest to the myth that religious people
are more charitable than the non-religious. It turns out nearly 75% of charitable giving by all Americans
benefits places of worship and faith-based charities. A lot of that money isn’t helping the poor and less
fortunate. It's going to the church.

The study found that 65% of religiously-affiliated people donate to congregations or charitable organizations.  
80% of Americans are religiously affiliated. And 65% of 80% is just about 55% of the total. In other words,
the religious people who are giving say they’re giving because of religion. And they’re overwhelmingly
giving to religion as well.

Remembering the statistic that 65% of religious people donate to charity; the non-religious figure is 56%.
According to the study, the entire 9% difference is attributed to religious giving to congregations and religious
organisations. So, yes, religion does cause people to give more—to religion itself!

A lot of religious giving, then, is self-serving, in the guise of helping others. Often, the donations benefit their
faith—primarily for religious activity, proselytising, or spiritual development.

—Ergo:  Religionists have no reason to be so smug about their purported extra charitability.
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#53

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-20-2020, 10:14 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Why is private charity greater than public charity?

You said we weren't talking about politics. That means we're talking about private charity, and in the US, the religious are more charitable.
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#54

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-21-2020, 03:17 PM)SYZ Wrote: The theist is motivated to donate for uniquely philanthropic reasons.  Nothing else. No ulterior motives.

On the other hand, it's more than likely that theists are driven by other self-serving motives...

Apart from the confusing typo; an excellent post.
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#55

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
I wouldn't put too much stock in Percie's happy holy horseshit.  This is who publishes the blog he cited.

Quote: Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).


Another pious asshole.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#56

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-21-2020, 03:58 PM)Minimalist Wrote: I wouldn't put too much stock in Percie's happy holy horseshit.  This is who publishes the blog he cited.

Joe Carter.

Another pious asshole.

I note too that Carter was hired by Christian pastor Mike Huckabee as his director of the "Huckabee for President" campaign.

Say no more LOL.
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#57

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-21-2020, 03:41 PM)Percie Wrote:
(12-20-2020, 10:14 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Why is private charity greater than public charity?

You said we weren't talking about politics. That means we're talking about private charity, and in the US, the religious are more charitable.

Nice dodge. Why do Republicans, who are more likely to be "Christian" dislike public charity so much, do you think? Or at least, why do you dislike it so much?

It couldn't be that public charity paid out of taxes are unavoidable ... but any asshole can claim to have given something somewhere down the line.

Do your statistics on charity include things like tithing? Donating to the church they're attending? What about donated time, rather than money?
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#58

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-21-2020, 01:14 AM)Phaedrus Wrote: The boyfriend, who is a driver for both Uber and Lyft has recently gotten a Canadian and a European passenger. Both have stated roughly the same thing: what is wrong with your country, why don't they like to help the people?

Here's a pretty good essay with some hard questions. See it through, it's well reasoned, and mind the nuance:

https://eand.co/are-americans-psychopaths-8dee379329f7

He's not saying a majority of Americans are literal psychopaths ... but only in the sense that unlike with someone who can be diagnosed as such, it's reversible and non-inherent. In practical terms, though, by the lights of people outside this country, we might as WELL all be psychopaths.
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#59

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
Quote:Americans are renowned the entire world over by now for what can only be described as incredible levels of cruelty, brutality, violence, stupidity, and indifference.


I find it hard to argue with him.  There is nothing Murricans love better than to believe their own bullshit.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#60

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-21-2020, 03:17 PM)SYZ Wrote: Research from the US National Study of American Religious Giving put a rest to the myth that religious people 
are more charitable than the non-religious. It turns out nearly 75% of charitable giving by all Americans
benefits places of worship and faith-based charities. A lot of that money isn’t helping the poor and less
fortunate. It's going to the church.
This is precisely why I favor taxing the activities of churches that are anything other than no-strings-attached community benefits. It shouldn't be tax free to have worship services or Sunday School (although, ironically, the Sunday School movement was originally founded for completely different objectives than it generally has today, objectives that WERE societal boons -- to educate victims of child labor in the era before protections against that and before compulsory / free to all public education).

Most of what churches collect are for member-benefit activities: constructing a building entirely or primarily for worship and other rituals and indoctrinations; promoting the same to members and prospective members; social and other events for members. There's nothing wrong with those, but they should not be subsidized by the government. Running a member-benefit organization is no different than running a business for customers, except to whatever extent they do public good without demanding that people submit to their teachings or join the organization or change their public behavior to conform to organizational standards.

So ... for example, a consortium of two local congregations here run an excellent food kitchen for the local poor and homeless. It utilizes a portion of one of the church buildings, but is a separately incorporated org even though, strictly speaking, it needn't be. When a church runs such operations it tends to segregate it economically anyway. Those separate activities should be tax-free. The sanctuary or worship center, etc., should not be.

There are grey areas. Both of these churches have rather nice pipe organs, for example; one of them is about 100 ranks and probably worth a couple million bucks and doubtless costs many thousands a year to tune and maintain, not to mention the acoustic designer they paid to marry the instrument to the auditorium at no small cost. These instruments get used both for religious ritual AND for secular concerts. The concert series, if attendance is free or based on free-will donations, could be run as a tax-free, non-profit artistic enterprise. The other uses could not. The cost of amortizing and maintaining the instrument could be divided between these activities, just like my home office divides a portion of the square footage of my house for a business deduction, even though it's primarily for personal residential use.

It is simply wrong for religious institutions to get a 100% free ride for the most part. The only current exceptions are very narrow things such as if a church rents its facilities to the general public, they are not exempt from laws that prohibit racial, sexual orientation, or gender discrimination of any kind. Even then, I'm not sure they are taxed on the income from such activities.

The simple fact is that most of what many churches, particularly evangelical churches, do, benefits only their own org and their own agenda. There is no actual benefit to society or the local community.

And lest anyone think I'm picking on churches, the same situation obtains with secret societies like the Elks, Moose, Odd Fellows and similar. They are also member benefit organizations and they are also tax exempt. The key here isn't ideology, it is the concept of member benefit activities vs community benefit activities.

The counterargument, of course, is that these organizations make their members better citizens and thus have a leavening influence in the broader society that should be encouraged through tax breaks. In my experience and observation though, theres' no basis to think this and I am not familiar with any credible research that substantiates it -- certainly not to the extent that being completely tax exempt costs society.
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#61

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-21-2020, 09:35 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Nice dodge.
LOL. You know I'm responding in like kind to you, to point out your dodge, right? When I noted that Democrats don't want single payer either, but just pay lip service to the fringe in order to keep their votes, you said we weren't talking about politics.
Quote:Why do Republicans, who are more likely to be "Christian" dislike public charity so much, do you think?
Probably for the same reason as Democrats. Democrats installed Biden rather than Sanders or Warren you know. They tell people like you what you want to hear, but have no intention of making any radical change.
Quote:Or at least, why do you dislike it so much?
I've said I'm not against single-payer healthcare. 
Quote:It couldn't be that public charity paid out of taxes are unavoidable ... but any asshole can claim to have given something somewhere down the line.
I think lefties like talking about public charity because it allows them to rationalize their lack of personal giving.
Quote:Do your statistics on charity include things like tithing? Donating to the church they're attending?
I already noted that the religious aren't just more charitable to churches, but also to secular causes:
• Two thirds of people who worship at least twice a month give to secular causes, compared to less than half of non-attenders, and the average secular gift by a church attender is 20 percent bigger.
Quote:What about donated time, rather than money?
That was already covered too:
• Among Americans who attend services weekly and pray daily, 45 percent had done volunteer work during the previous week. Among all other Americans, only 27 percent had volunteered somewhere.
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#62

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-17-2020, 09:45 PM)Aegon Wrote:
(12-17-2020, 03:43 AM)Percie Wrote:
(12-16-2020, 05:34 PM)Aegon Wrote: I believe his point is that if the federal government taxed mega-churches that would be a significant revenue stream, and that revenue could be used to fund a robust public healthcare system.

That point would be wrong. We spent $3.5 trillion on healthcare in 2017. Taxes on $50 billion would be a drop on the bucket...and that $50 billion is gross revenue, not taxable income, which would be much lower (after salaries, building expenses, etc are deducted).

Yeah, we spent $3.5 trillion on healthcare in 2017 because we have an outrageous and inefficient system plagued by the administrative burden caused by the zero-sum game between providers and private insurers. Another good reason to switch to a single-payer system. Additionally, a single-payer system would likely only cost just a few trillion more over 10 years than the current one and the American people would get a heck of a lot more for their money. That's two good reasons.

You didn't seriously think I meant ONLY taxing churches would fund a public healthcare system....... right?

Absolutely right, a healthcare system that allows a hospital to charge a patient or their insurance company $130 for three 75mg baby aspirin as part of their treatment for a suspected myocardial infarction is morally bankrupt and the reason health insurance premiums are so cripplingly high in the US. Our NHS may have its faults but at least the individual hospitals aren't engaged in rampant extortion. In that respect American hospitals and churches have quite a lot in common.
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#63

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-22-2020, 04:51 PM)Percie Wrote: Two thirds of people who worship at least twice a month give to secular causes, compared to less than half of non-attenders, and the average secular gift by a church attender is 20 percent bigger...

Among Americans who attend services weekly and pray daily, 45 percent had done volunteer work during the previous week. Among all other Americans, only 27 percent had volunteered somewhere...

These two claims are absurd, and without any supporting statistics, primarily due to the fact
that it's impossible to record and/or tabulate financial donations from what Zinsmeister calls
"non-attenders".  I donate annually to three local causes, but none of them know whether or
not I'm an atheist or a theist.  Why would they need to anyway?  Money is money.

It's also nonsensical to argue that regular church attendees volunteer more of their time than
"non-attendees"—once again as there's simply no available data supporting the amount of time
that non-attendees spend volunteering.  I volunteer at a local community art gallery which is
open to the public as a tourist attraction, and they've never asked my religion, or about its lack
thereof.

—Unless you can provide accredited data supporting these two claims, I can safely call them out as bullshit.

(BTW, I do acknowledge you're talking about the US.   "One strength of religious philanthropy is
sheer numbers. There are approximately 345,000 congregations stretched across our nation.
If you wander America, notes economist Brian Grim, you will pass 25 churches for every Starbucks
you come across".  Here in Australia, the situation is the opposite: For every 25 McDonald's you
pass, you'll pass one church.  Bit you need to think globally with this sort of stuff.)
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#64

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-22-2020, 04:51 PM)Percie Wrote:
(12-21-2020, 09:35 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Nice dodge.
LOL. You know I'm responding in like kind to you, to point out your dodge, right? When I noted that Democrats don't want single payer either, but just pay lip service to the fringe in order to keep their votes, you said we weren't talking about politics.
Quote:Why do Republicans, who are more likely to be "Christian" dislike public charity so much, do you think?
Probably for the same reason as Democrats. Democrats installed Biden rather than Sanders or Warren you know. They tell people like you what you want to hear, but have no intention of making any radical change.
Quote:Or at least, why do you dislike it so much?
I've said I'm not against single-payer healthcare. 
Quote:It couldn't be that public charity paid out of taxes are unavoidable ... but any asshole can claim to have given something somewhere down the line.
I think lefties like talking about public charity because it allows them to rationalize their lack of personal giving.
Quote:Do your statistics on charity include things like tithing? Donating to the church they're attending?
I already noted that the religious aren't just more charitable to churches, but also to secular causes:
• Two thirds of people who worship at least twice a month give to secular causes, compared to less than half of non-attenders, and the average secular gift by a church attender is 20 percent bigger.
Quote:What about donated time, rather than money?
That was already covered too:
• Among Americans who attend services weekly and pray daily, 45 percent had done volunteer work during the previous week. Among all other Americans, only 27 percent had volunteered somewhere.

Assuming those stats are correct -- and the bias of your source has already been pointed out -- why would such heartfelt folk prefer such a heartless government?

Since you still ain't grokking my point, it is that incongruence that arouses my curiosity.
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#65

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
If it is statistically true that theists give more to charity than atheists, we atheists should accept reality and not be pussies about it, whining that their motivations are impure and religiously motivated or religiously self-interested or whatever.  Actions speak louder than words.  I tip my cap to anyone who gives to charity, for whatever their reason.
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#66

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
Taxation is now..."public charity"? Egads.
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#67

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-23-2020, 12:02 AM)jerry mcmasters Wrote: If it is statistically true that theists give more to charity than atheists, we atheists should accept reality and not be pussies about it, whining that their motivations are impure and religiously motivated or religiously self-interested or whatever.  Actions speak louder than words.  I tip my cap to anyone who gives to charity, for whatever their reason.

So if a church congregation donates $125K to replace the carpeting and pews in their
own church, is that counted as a "donation"? When in fact it's nothing of the sort. It
merely reinforces their chances of going to heaven, and/or their status within their church
community. From society's viewpoint, that's hardly philanthropic in the sense of looking
after the wider community. In fact, it could be considered very self-centred. Surely that
money would be better spent on the local volunteer fire brigade or ambulance station?
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#68

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-23-2020, 12:17 AM)SYZ Wrote:
(12-23-2020, 12:02 AM)jerry mcmasters Wrote: If it is statistically true that theists give more to charity than atheists, we atheists should accept reality and not be pussies about it, whining that their motivations are impure and religiously motivated or religiously self-interested or whatever.  Actions speak louder than words.  I tip my cap to anyone who gives to charity, for whatever their reason.

So if a church congregation donates $125K to replace the carpeting and pews in their
own church, is that counted as a "donation"?  When in fact it's nothing of the sort.  It
merely reinforces their chances of going to heaven, and/or their status within their church
community.  From society's viewpoint, that's hardly philanthropic in the sense of looking
after the wider community.  In fact, it could be considered very self-centred.  Surely that
money would be better spent on the local volunteer fire brigade or ambulance station?

No, donating 125 to themselves is not counted as a donation.  Begone, strawman.
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#69

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-23-2020, 12:06 AM)jerry mcmasters Wrote: Taxation is now..."public charity"?  Egads.

Hey, here's someone else who missed the point, even after it was laid out, no less.

Wait, it's just Jerry, business as usual.
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#70

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-23-2020, 12:02 AM)jerry mcmasters Wrote: If it is statistically true that theists give more to charity than atheists, we atheists should accept reality and not be pussies about it, whining that their motivations are impure and religiously motivated or religiously self-interested or whatever.  Actions speak louder than words.  I tip my cap to anyone who gives to charity, for whatever their reason.

Religious people giving to religion charities frequently has a different end point than secular donations.  Some of that donated money is self serving.   Sometimes, but not always, proselytizing comes with the chicken soup for the homeless... because converting people down on their luck is an old religious hat trick.  "Oh, aren't you super greatful to Jesus for this ham sandwich?"   Doctors Without Borders doesn't have this catch so I've donated to them.  

Don't get me started on Mother Teresa's organization.
                                                         T4618
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#71

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-22-2020, 11:26 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Assuming those stats are correct -- and the bias of your source has already been pointed out -- why would such heartfelt folk prefer such a heartless government? 

I addressed this previously, but then you said we weren't talking politics. I'm getting tired of repeating myself.
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#72

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-23-2020, 06:13 PM)Percie Wrote:
(12-22-2020, 11:26 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Assuming those stats are correct -- and the bias of your source has already been pointed out -- why would such heartfelt folk prefer such a heartless government? 

I addressed this previously, but then you said we weren't talking politics. I'm getting tired of repeating myself.

I can understand how trying to explain that incongruence would be annoying.
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#73

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-23-2020, 05:13 PM)Dancefortwo Wrote:
(12-23-2020, 12:02 AM)jerry mcmasters Wrote: If it is statistically true that theists give more to charity than atheists, we atheists should accept reality and not be pussies about it, whining that their motivations are impure and religiously motivated or religiously self-interested or whatever.  Actions speak louder than words.  I tip my cap to anyone who gives to charity, for whatever their reason.

Religious people giving to religion charities frequently has a different end point than secular donations.  Some of that donated money is self serving.   Sometimes, but not always, proselytizing comes with the chicken soup for the homeless... because converting people down on their luck is an old religious hat trick.  "Oh, aren't you super greatful to Jesus for this ham sandwich?"   Doctors Without Borders doesn't have this catch so I've donated to them.  

Don't get me started on Mother Teresa's organization.

Back in California, I volunteered at a food pantry/mail pick-up/shower facility for the homeless and indigent. It was religiously-funded. One reason I chose it over other charities for my volunteer work is because proselytizing was forbidden. No one had to hear any messaging, or promise to attend services, or any crap like that. I'm cool with that, because I think making hungry people jump through hoops to get a meal is a shitty thing to do.
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#74

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-23-2020, 12:17 AM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:
SYZ Wrote:So if a church congregation donates $125K to replace the carpeting and pews in their
own church, is that counted as a "donation"?

No, donating 125 to themselves is not counted as a donation.  Begone, strawman.

This may well be the case in the US.  I dunno.

The point being in Australia that any/all donations (above AU$2) to a registered charity—such
as a church—are a tax deduction against one's income tax.

A church is considered a charity because it pursues its charitable purposes by facilitating
worshipping, witnessing and serving as a fellowship of the spirit in Christ. Its members
meet regularly to hear God's word, to celebrate the sacraments, to build one another up
in love, to share in the wider responsibilities of the Church, and to serve the world. Religious
organisations receive tax-exempt status because advancing religion is presumed to be of
public benefit within the federal Charities Act 2013.
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#75

Tithes to churches or Universal Health Care
(12-23-2020, 06:13 PM)Percie Wrote: I addressed this previously, but then you said we weren't talking politics. I'm getting tired of repeating myself.

As too are we.       Angry
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