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smac97

Beto O'Rourke's Threat Re: "Oppos{ing} Same Sex Marriage"

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Nobody has said tickety boo about Churches losing tax exemption status about gay marriage in Canada so I wouldn't worry about it.

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Beto O'Rourke was asked by CNN's Don Lemon if he thought "religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?"

"Yes," O'Rourke replied, adding that "there can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us."

 

The way I see it, we don't deny others the right to marry someone of the same sex if they want to.  We just state our belief that God is opposed to same-sex marriage and that we believe people of the same sex should not marry.

So we're not denying he full human rights or the full civil rights of people to live as they so please.  We just state our beliefs about how God wants us to live and that we believe we should live that way, rather than the "do as you please" way.

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He wasn't the only one to say similar things, and Booker appealed to a Bible verse to justify it!

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I do have a few questions that someone might be able to answer.

Is tax exemption a guarantee to churches or any other group?

Doesn't a charitable organization have to show financial records to prove they are not a for profit business to qualify for tax exemption?

What is the difference between a business and a business that claims to be a charity and how is that legally determined?

 

And a comment.

As organized religion becomes more of a political organization instead of being politically neutral, isn't public reaction to be more questioning tax exemption a pretty much expected response?  Should the major supporters of one party be tax exempt simply because church goers are their base?  What would the Republican party look like if organized religious leaders such a Lou Dobbs, Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, Rick Warren, etc. became neutral politically? 

These leaders can no longer claim that the support for the leader of the Republican party is a support for morality and their religious beliefs.  They have left all credibility for that position.

This article might provide some insight to where the political climate and religion seems to be headed.

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The question now for me, as an evangelical Christian, is has this generation of largely white male evangelical pastors and personalities destroyed their credibility by attaching themselves to Trump? Have they driven away a generation of young parishioners watching them all bathe in hypocrisy as what they teach in the pulpit is not what they practice in the public policy arena?

 

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I refuse to believe that men and women of faith are wedded to a president who violates every moral code they profess to embrace, simply because of judges and finances. No. It has everything to do with fear of a changing America and a cultural displacement. And fear of one day being in the minority. I cannot make excuses for them, or suggest they really believe Trump is God’s anointed servant. That fails on its face. Trump is not a man of God.


 

 

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Beto O'Rourke was asked by CNN's Don Lemon if he thought "religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities, should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?"

"Yes," O'Rourke replied, adding that "there can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us."

The way I see it, we don't deny others the right to marry someone of the same sex if they want to. 

He seems to equate "oppos{ing} same-sex marriage" with "den{ying} the full human rights and the full civil rights" of gay persons.

I agree that "we don't deny others the right to marry someone of the same sex if they want to," but that's not all there is to it.  Is the Church's tax exemption at risk for teaching that same-sex marriage is not compatible with the Gospel?  That homosexual behavior violates the Law of Chastity?  It seems so.

14 minutes ago, Ahab said:

We just state our belief that God is opposed to same-sex marriage and that we believe people of the same sex should not marry.

Again, that's not all there is.  Consider Mr. Booker's remarks.  And Mr. Verrelli's.  Both of them allude to future legal battles.  Battles about what?

14 minutes ago, Ahab said:

So we're not denying he full human rights or the full civil rights of people to live as they so please. 

I agree.  The question is whether Messrs. O'Rourke/Booker/Verrelli/Tushnet believe that.  

If the status quo is sufficient, then why is Mr. Booker speaking of wanting to "press this issue" and speaking of a "long legal battle?"

In 2015, when Mr. Verrelli was pressed by SCOTUS regarding this issue ("the tax-exempt status of Christian colleges and universities who hold traditional views of marriage" in the context of the legalization of same-sex marriage), he said that it was "going to be an issue."  What do you think he meant by that?

When Mr. Tushnet notes (speaking of how people of his bent should treat religious persons who disagree with him on same-sex marriage) that “trying to be nice to the losers didn’t work well after the Civil War,” and “taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945,” what do you think he meant?

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 minute ago, california boy said:

As organized religion becomes more of a political organization instead of being politically neutral, isn't public reaction to be more questioning tax exemption a pretty much expected response?  

Organizations can hold political views and be tax exempt.  What they cannot do is support specific candidates.

"Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.  Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes."

https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/the-restriction-of-political-campaign-intervention-by-section-501c3-tax-exempt-organizations

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21 minutes ago, california boy said:

I do have a few questions that someone might be able to answer.

Is tax exemption a guarantee to churches or any other group?

No.  But the issue here is punishing religious groups based on their religious viewpoint.

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Doesn't a charitable organization have to show financial records to prove they are not a for profit business to qualify for tax exemption?

Irrelevant.  The Church is already a tax-exempt organization.  The issue here is the published threat against that exemption based on the viewpoint of the Church re: same-sex marriage.

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What is the difference between a business and a business that claims to be a charity and how is that legally determined?

Not sure what you mean here.

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And a comment.

As organized religion becomes more of a political organization instead of being politically neutral,

I reject the premise.  The Church is not "a political organization," and remains "politically neutral" (as far as partisanship is concerned).

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isn't public reaction to be more questioning tax exemption a pretty much expected response?  

We aren't speaking of the "public."  We are speaking of candidates for political office who are threatening religious groups for holding viewpoints with which they disagree.

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Should the major supporters of one party be tax exempt simply because church goers are their base?  

Please stay on topic.

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What would the Republican party look like if organized religious leaders such a Lou Dobbs, Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, Rick Warren, etc. became neutral politically? 

Please stay on topic.

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These leaders can no longer claim that the support for the leader of the Republican party is a support for morality and their religious beliefs.  They have left all credibility for that position.

Please stay on topic.

No comments about Trump, please.  Take it elsewhere.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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I think it is important to remember that not everyone who supports gay rights is willing to remove tax exemptions from religious institutions based on their beliefs

The only gay candidate running for president, Pete Buttigieg makes a strong statement supporting tax exemption for churches

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“The idea that you’re going to strip churches of their tax-exempt status if they haven’t found their way toward blessing same-sex marriage — I’m not sure he understood the implications of what he was saying,” Buttigieg said of O’Rourke.

Withholding tax-exempt status from religious organizations, according to Buttigieg, could dishonor the separation of church and state outlined in the First Amendment.

 

.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

Organizations can hold political views and be tax exempt.  What they cannot do is support specific candidates.

"Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.  Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes."

https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/the-restriction-of-political-campaign-intervention-by-section-501c3-tax-exempt-organizations

I agree with your analysis.  But what has changed is support of specific candidates such as Donald Trump.  And this is what has changed in our current political climate.  And this is a candidate that does not have any of the moral attributes these religious claim are important.  Did you read the article I linked to??

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7 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

Organizations can hold political views and be tax exempt.  What they cannot do is support specific candidates.

"Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.  Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes."

https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/the-restriction-of-political-campaign-intervention-by-section-501c3-tax-exempt-organizations

Wasn’t the church formally fined for directly participating in the Proposition 8 campaign?  It contributed in excess of the allotted amount.

Are there not countries where the church is not tax-exempt currently?  How are the members affected by that?

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19 minutes ago, california boy said:

I do have a few questions that someone might be able to answer.

Is tax exemption a guarantee to churches or any other group?[/quote]

Pretty much, as long as they operate for exempt purposes: 

The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals. The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.

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Doesn't a charitable organization have to show financial records to prove they are not a for profit business to qualify for tax exemption?

No, it doesn't matter how much money they generate to fund their operations.  The main factor is whether the purpose of their organization qualifies as an exempt purpose.

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What is the difference between a business and a business that claims to be a charity and how is that legally determined?

The purpose of their operations.  Most businesses are in business to make a profit.  To make money.  That isn't what a charitable organization is all about.

 

Edited by Ahab

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1 minute ago, california boy said:

I agree with your analysis.  But what has changed is support of specific candidates such as Donald Trump.  

Again, please take commentary about Trump elsewhere.

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 minutes ago, 2BizE said:

Wasn’t the church formally fined for directly participating in the Proposition 8 campaign?  It contributed in excess of the allotted amount.

No, it was not fined for that.  It was fined for messing up on daily reporting requirements of in-kind contributions.   See here:

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SALT LAKE CITY — Acknowledging tardy reporting of in-kind campaign contributions in the final weeks before the November 2008 passage of California's Proposition 8, the LDS Church has agreed with the state's Fair Political Practices Commission to pay a minor $5,000 fine.

As the state agency for interpreting and enforcing California's campaign finance rules, the FPPC identified 13 instances of "nonmonetary late contributions made and not timely reported" — or the church failing to file daily reports detailing $36,928 in in-kind contributions, including the cost of staff time spent by church employees to help the "Yes on 8" committee.

The original complaint filed against the LDS Church was that it failed to report numerous contributions totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"All institutional contributions made by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the ProtectMarriage Coalition were reported to the appropriate authorities in California," said Scott Trotter, LDS Church spokesman.

"In the last two weeks leading up to the election, the Church mistakenly overlooked the daily reporting requirement and instead reported those contributions together in a later filing."

The FPPC could have imposed a fine of up to $5,000 for each violation as it considered the severity of the infractions, records of prior violations and the presence or absence of an intent to deceive the public.

The commission used a streamlined enforcement process — likened by some to a "traffic-ticket program" — and fined the LDS Church 15 percent of the value of each late-reported contribution — for a mutually agreed-upon total of $5,539.

Thanks,

-Smac

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4 minutes ago, california boy said:

I agree with your analysis.  But what has changed is support of specific candidates such as Donald Trump.  And this is what has changed in our current political climate.  And this is a candidate that does not have any of the moral attributes these religious claim are important.  Did you read the article I linked to??

Any tax-exempt organization contributing to the campaign of specific candidates should rightly be in danger of losing it's tax exempt status.

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12 minutes ago, smac97 said:

No.  But the issue here is punishing religious groups based on their religious viewpoint.

If tax exemption is not a right, then being taxed is not necessarily a punishment, unless you consider all taxes a punishment.

12 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Broadly speaking, yes.  But again, the Church is already a tax-exempt organization.  The issue here is the published threat against that exemption based on the viewpoint of the Church re: same-sex marriage.

I am not talking about the Church specifically, I am talking about organized religion in general.

12 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Not sure what you mean here.

Maybe someone who does understand the question might be able to answer it then.

12 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I reject the premise.  The Church is not "a political organization," and remains "politically neutral" (as far as partisanship is concerned).

We aren't speaking of the "public."  We are speaking of candidates for political office who are threatening religious groups for holding viewpoints with which they disagree.

Please stay on topic.

Please stay on topic.

Please stay on topic.

No comments about Trump, please.  Take it elsewhere.

Thanks,

-Smac

You are dismissing organized religion for supporting a specific candidate.  It is a very important part of this discussion because they have crossed over from speaking out about political issues to supporting specific candidates.  That violates the tax exempt guidelines that 2BIZe referred to.  Get out the vote for a specific party would also violate those tax exempt guidelines.

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2 minutes ago, california boy said:

If tax exemption is not a right, then being taxed is not necessarily a punishment, unless you consider all taxes a punishment.

I encourage you to review the remarks of Eugene Volokh in the OP.  Your assessment is incorrect on this point.

The denial or revocation of tax exemption based on the viewpoint of the group is viewpoint discrimination.  It's against the law.

2 minutes ago, california boy said:

You are dismissing organized religion for supporting a specific candidate.  

I am not.  I am saying that your remarks are off-topic.  Please take them elsewhere.

2 minutes ago, california boy said:

It is a very important part of this discussion because they have crossed over from speaking out about political issues to supporting specific candidates.  

Again, no comments about Trump, please.

I started the thread.  I get to determine its scope.  Feel free to start your own thread about Trump if you like.

Thanks,

-Smac

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One cannot take away the right to private association.

However, tax-empt breaks are not constitutional protections.

Religious organizations that engage in politics should be denied their tax break status.

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39 minutes ago, smac97 said:

He seems to equate "oppos{ing} same-sex marriage" with "den{ying} the full human rights and the full civil rights" of gay persons.

Yes he seems to be equating the two but they are not the same thing.  We don't deny the full human rights or the full civil rights of anybody, gay or otherwise.  We recognize the rights of everyone to choose what they want to do for themselves.  We do oppose doing anything opposed to what God wants us to do, though, but at the same time we still respect everyone's right to choose to do whatever they will do.   It is a complex issue and we may need to go through some court battles to drive our point home.

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I agree that "we don't deny others the right to marry someone of the same sex if they want to," but that's not all there is to it.  Is the Church's tax exemption at risk for teaching that same-sex marriage is not compatible with the Gospel?  That homosexual behavior violates the Law of Chastity?  It seems so.

No, I don't think so, even though he and some other people may think so.  We have a right to believe whatever we want to believe, and we also have the right to say whatever we want to say.  Even within the limits of a charitable organization.

We're in a pretty much unbeatable position, I would say, if you were to ask me. They're just saying whatever they want to say, too.

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Again, that's not all there is.  Consider Mr. Booker's remarks.  And Mr. Verrelli's.  Both of them allude to future legal battles.  Battles about what?

Battles about who to vote for.  Who to support.  Whose position and which positions will carry the majority vote.  The majority vote can't overturn the Constitution of the United States, though. Even if some people battle with all their might to defeat it, we will prevail.

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I agree.  The question is whether Messrs. O'Rourke/Booker/Verrelli/Tushnet believe that.  

If the status quo is sufficient, then why is Mr. Booker speaking of wanting to "press this issue" and speaking of a "long legal battle?"

To stir up the public.  To try to get more votes.  More publicity.  More action in his favor, he hopes.  It's all strategy.  His strategy, with the goals he wants to achieve in his mind.

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In 2015, when Mr. Verrelli was pressed by SCOTUS regarding this issue ("the tax-exempt status of Christian colleges and universities who hold traditional views of marriage" in the context of the legalization of same-sex marriage), he said that it was "going to be an issue."  What do you think he meant by that?

When Mr. Tushnet notes (speaking of how people of his bent should treat religious persons who disagree with him on same-sex marriage) that “trying to be nice to the losers didn’t work well after the Civil War,” and “taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945,” what do you think he meant?

I think I have already explained well enough.  I think it's just some more of the same kind of fluff.  We are going to show him how to uphold the rights we have according to the Constitution of the United States of America.  In God we trust.  He isn't going to beat us.

Edited by Ahab

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4 minutes ago, Jake Starkey said:

One cannot take away the right to private association.

But one in a position of political power can punish that association because of its viewpoint.  That is what Mr. O'Rourke (and others) appear to be planning to do.

4 minutes ago, Jake Starkey said:

However, tax-empt breaks are not constitutional protections.

Well, not quite.  Denial or revocation of tax exemptions based on viewpoint discrimination is clearly a constitutional issue.

4 minutes ago, Jake Starkey said:

Religious organizations that engage in politics should be denied their tax break status.

Way too broad a statement.

Thanks,

-Smac

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55 minutes ago, smac97 said:

But one in a position of political power can punish that association because of its viewpoint.  That is what Mr. O'Rourke (and others) appear to be planning to do.

Well, not quite.  Denial or revocation of tax exemptions based on viewpoint discrimination is clearly a constitutional issue.

Way too broad a statement.

Thanks,

-Smac

Thanks for the correction.  The law is clear.  Don't support candidates.  Period.

Change the law so tax-exempt status can be revoked for engaging in politics.

Please note that AHAB got it wrong after I changed my mistake.  

Edited by Jake Starkey

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1 minute ago, Jake Starkey said:

Not in the slightest.  The law is clear.  Don't engage in politics.  Period.

To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

Organizations described in section 501(c)(3) are commonly referred to as charitable organizations. Organizations described in section 501(c)(3), other than testing for public safety organizations, are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions in accordance with Code section 170.

The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, and no part of a section 501(c)(3) organization's net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. If the organization engages in an excess benefit transaction with a person having substantial influence over the organization, an excise tax may be imposed on the person and any organization managers agreeing to the transaction.

Section 501(c)(3) organizations are restricted in how much political and legislative (lobbying) activities they may conduct. For a detailed discussion, see Political and Lobbying Activities. For more information about lobbying activities by charities, see the article Lobbying Issues; for more information about political activities of charities, see the FY-2002 CPE topic Election Year Issues.

https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/exemption-requirements-501c3-organizations

Edited by Ahab
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48 minutes ago, bluebell said:

He is incredibly intolerant of any position that he does not agree with and has stated that he would use his position as president to make things that he didn't agree with illegal.

I cannot imagine the level of intolerance it takes for someone or maybe some group like a church trying to use their position to make things they don't agree with illegal.

 

 

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