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07 November 2008 @ 12:33 am
Film at 11: A Church is not a PAC. A PAC is not a Church.  
There's a move to revoke the LDS Church's tax-exempt status for violating the section of the Federal code that limits the use of such organizations to influence legislation.

This seems entirely appropriate to me.

Do As Thou Wilt.

I feel: mischievouswicked
Arcaton: avatarr_caton on November 7th, 2008 09:32 am (UTC)
You must do what you feel is right of course.........
I feel sorry for those who are devout Church members yet wouldn't touch the prop8 amandment with a bargepole....
Your Obedient Serpent: pennyfarthingathelind on November 7th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
If this goes through, it just means that the Church's organizational hierarchy would have to pay taxes on the currently-tax-free income they receive.

This may be a substantial sum, since the LDS mandates a 10% tithe from its adherents, but those "Devout Church Members who opposed Prop 8" won't see much impact beyond, perhaps, a little less gold plating in slightly-less-ostentatious tabernacles.
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on November 7th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
I figure the devout church members should have stood up and pointed out how the Mormon church's leadership was threatening their tax-exempt status, myself. I see this one pretty regularly in a variety of forms - that it's wrong to lump in the good religious people with the bad ones - but I rarely buy it. They could have stood up and said something and they should have.
Hafochafoc on November 7th, 2008 12:35 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised nobody's started a case to end government recognition of any and all church weddings. Some preacher says a few words and the result is binding on the Government-- seems to me that violates the Establishment Clause.
one in a billionsiege on November 7th, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
Actually, the preacher (as with a few others, like judges) is recognized as having a license to sign the marriage license. Performing the ceremony is secondary to the bureaucracy.

Of course, said preacher still has to pass the "legitimacy test": does some county official think your religion is real enough, and your rank in it correct enough, to rubber-stamp your signature?
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on November 7th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
But the ceremony still needs to be performed, which is, I think, the point Hafoc was trying to make - that religious figures have the license to do that on the same level as a justice-of-the-peace - that their participation in a religion gives them the authority to sign a marriage license, a distinctly government document.
Bobyourbob on November 7th, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
As a minister of two denominations myself, the ceremony can be "do you want me to sign this?".
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on November 7th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
But I can't think of a single other legal document where it's OK for a religious leader to sign off on it in the same way a justice-of-the-peace, a notary public or a county clerk can.

I'm sorta surprised that people are confused about this! A marriage is a legal act and clergy are, well, they're clergy who can in the capacity of clergy form a legal contract between people. This is unique in American jurisprudence even when other matters of marriage are involved - for instance, it is irrelevant to divorce proceedings if a religious leader signs off on it or not. A religious leader can't create nor prevent a divorce. But they can create a marriage.

Now, a person might contend that marriage has as much a tradition as a religious ceremony as a legal one, which is certainly the case. But it is also, I think, one of the clearest examples of a place where there is scant separation between church and state - that the state allows a religious leader, in their capacity as religious leader, to officiate a legal matter.
Bobyourbob on November 7th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
I don't believe it's a confusion over the fact, but perhaps the wording of the comments? This was the clearest statement of it I've seen. And, as far as I know, you are correct.

But I'd point out that there are qualifications that a church (broadest sense) has to go through before it can appoint representatives to be in a position to sign those documents. They can't just be anyone off the street self-proclaiming they're qualified. The standards are not high - filing some papers - but neither are the requirements for becoming a county clerk's deputy who can do the same thing (filing some papers).
Anvil*: Raventhoughtsdriftby on November 7th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
In California you register with the county clerk that you will be performing marriages in their county. Being "in" a religion means nothing and no church is required, just that your signature must be registered.

Once the parties have their contract (license), you sign it, they sign, and both witnesses sign. It goes back to the county, is reviewed by a deputy of the court, and once they sign, can be numbered and filed making it all official.
Bobyourbob on November 7th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)
Actually it doesn't. The Establishment Clause essentially means the government can't adopt a single religion. Not that it can't recognize them.
pseudo manitoupseudomanitou on November 7th, 2008 05:48 pm (UTC)
They run Utah -- the lines between religion and legislation were LONG gone from the very conception of that state.
(Deleted comment)
Your Obedient Serpent: We The Peopleathelind on November 7th, 2008 07:42 pm (UTC)
That's one of my issues with the idea; would it have any momentum at all if it were a more mainstream faith, rather than a sect that the Mainstream considers only marginally more legitimate than Scientology?

Of course, the more traditional Protestant faiths don't have much in the way of a Central Organization to lay suit to.

I'm going to discuss this further, either after work this evening, or over the weekend.
Wywy on November 8th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)