Religious Non-Profits Ignore the Law

16325240065_c34d633052_zThere is new reason to hope that the influence of religion in government has finally embarked on its long journey to extinction. More and more, the hypocrisy of every argument made that seeks to vacate our constitutional right to church-state separation is being more fully exposed and often struck down by the courts (here, here).

There is nothing inherently wrong with religion or faith in a god’s eventual salvation of man. There is even room in government to work alongside “faith-based” organizations in satisfying the population’s need for social services. Whether a large behemoth like Catholic Charities ($4.3 billion in revenue largely from taxpayer dollars) or smaller programs in your own community, these organizations have an existing infrastructure that can do a lot of good by helping people.

By taking public money to pay their employees and the mortgaged properties that house them, these public charities become de facto extensions of the government. The charity delivers the services we the taxpayers are subsidizing and paying for, making them subject to the laws and policies comprising government.

A public charity aligned with certain religious tenets that come into conflict with providing their services, such as opposition to marriage equality and LGBT people in general, is restricted in imposing these tenets on the public that comes to them for help, a meal, some shelter, healthcare, job counseling, etc. This should hold true in cases involving LGBT people, such as adoption services.

What’s happened instead is that these tax-exempt and profit-making charities have claimed religious freedom exemptions to express their discrimination in who they serve. Like the politicization of the pulpit, this is wrong, and it is the religious right in our government and courts which has imposed this christianized system on society.

This is why I’ve urged a campaign to #VoteOutTheReligousRight, and have been writing about the secret cult driving it. Any politician that would side with a tax-exempt, profit-making, public charity that seeks to impose its religious views upon its clients is not fit for public service.

We have at our disposal many ways to replace these politicians with public servants who will quell the influence of religion in government. Some progress may be at hand with new proposed regulations, but more has to be done. Some of us are submitting complaints with the IRS for organizations’s misuse of their tax-exempt status, including political activity from the pulpit. Others are focusing on registering voters and making sure they show up. What’s needed is a movement with the will to mobilize the masses to finally do something to cure this unhealthy infection in our government. Let us know your thoughts, what your are doing to protect church-state separation.


Alison Gardner