Readability

The Fisherman

imageby baldilocks

No, not that Fish­er­man. The other one.

The power to tax is the power to destroy.

–Daniel Web­ster, et al.

The 36th pres­i­dent of the United States, Lyn­don Baines John­son, is infa­mous for many things.

Most domes­ti­cally notable are two pro­grams: the Great Soci­ety and Medicare. Both pro­grams can arguably be viewed as bait to Amer­i­cans. Bait for what? Lur­ing the poor into gov­ern­ment depen­dence, lur­ing the elderly into the same, and lur­ing the descen­dants of all into cat­a­strophic debt. This debt applies both indi­vid­u­ally and nationally.

How­ever, I was fas­ci­nated to dis­cover that these pro­grams were not LBJ’s first for­ays into hook­ing groups into gov­ern­ment con­trol. At The Fed­er­al­ist, Leslie Loftis notes that his first tar­get was the church.

When the fed­eral tax code was writ­ten, that the gov­ern­ment couldn’t tax churches was assumed. For one, at the begin­ning of the union, only the fed­eral gov­ern­ment was pro­hib­ited from estab­lish­ing a reli­gion. The state gov­ern­ments could and did estab­lish churches. They didn’t tax churches, but col­lected taxes for the church. This stopped after the Civil War and the rat­i­fi­ca­tion and sub­se­quent case law of the Four­teenth Amend­ment incor­po­rated the fed­eral pro­scrip­tion against an estab­lished reli­gion to the indi­vid­ual states.

[snip]

Essen­tially, churches have com­plied with the exemp­tion require­ments of the tax code rather than assert­ing the right to be free from taxation.

[snip]

To pun­ish and pre­vent polit­i­cal oppo­nents [includ­ing churches] from speak­ing out against him, [in 1954] then–Sen. Lyn­don John­son, who was in a con­tentious re-​election cam­paign, pushed through an amend­ment to the tax code which pro­hibits “polit­i­cal activ­ity” by 501©(3) enti­ties. It is called the John­son Amend­ment. Since the pro­hi­bi­tion passed, it has only been lightly — and selec­tively — enforced.

Loftis points to bi-​partisan exam­ples of this selec­tive enforce­ment, but notes that

[m]ost churches, how­ever, tend to err on the side of cau­tion lest the IRS decide to pros­e­cute, either on a whim or as part of a larger polit­i­cal intim­i­da­tion pro­gram much like the one they have run in the past few years against con­ser­v­a­tive sec­u­lar organizations.

In other words, due to LBJ’s lit­tle trap, most churches yield to fear and/​or love of money.

Oh and Loftis also notes that the IRS is the process of com­pos­ing new guide­lines for polit­i­cal activ­ity by tax-​exempt reli­gious orga­ni­za­tions and churches at the the legal behest of the Free­dom From Reli­gion Foun­da­tion(!) Aren’t all we Jesus freaks, Bible-​thumpers and bitter-​clingers look­ing for­ward to the pas­sage of such reg­u­la­tions so that we can find out what’s in them?

Back to LBJ. We have had sev­eral prob­lem­atic pres­i­dents and the cur­rent one seems like the biggest one. But he and his ide­o­log­i­cal sib­lings who sit in polit­i­cal office at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment – like Hous­ton Mayor Annise Parker – can look to the politi­cians of the past and thank them for lay­ing the foun­da­tions of tyranny by lur­ing an inten­tion­ally under-​educated pop­u­lace into assent­ing to it.

Politi­cians like LBJ: Dix­ie­crat, Reenslaver of black Amer­i­cans, and Per­se­cu­tor of the Church.

Quite a legacy, don’t you think?

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2009; the sec­ond edi­tion in 2012. Her sec­ond novel, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2017.

Please con­tribute to Juliette’s Projects: Her new novel, her blog, her Inter­net to keep the lat­ter going and COF­FEE to keep her going!

Or con­tribute to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Inde­pen­dent Journalism — -»»Posted with Blogsy

imageby baldilocks

No, not that Fisherman. The other one.

The power to tax is the power to destroy.

–Daniel Webster, et al.

The 36th president of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, is infamous for many things.

Most domestically notable are two programs: the Great Society and Medicare. Both programs can arguably be viewed as bait to Americans. Bait for what? Luring the poor into government dependence, luring the elderly into the same, and luring the descendants of all into catastrophic debt. This debt applies both individually and nationally.

However, I was fascinated to discover that these programs were not LBJ’s first forays into hooking groups into government control. At The Federalist, Leslie Loftis notes that his first target was the church.

When the federal tax code was written, that the government couldn’t tax churches was assumed. For one, at the beginning of the union, only the federal government was prohibited from establishing a religion. The state governments could and did establish churches. They didn’t tax churches, but collected taxes for the church. This stopped after the Civil War and the ratification and subsequent case law of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporated the federal proscription against an established religion to the individual states.

[snip]

Essentially, churches have complied with the exemption requirements of the tax code rather than asserting the right to be free from taxation.

[snip]

To punish and prevent political opponents [including churches] from speaking out against him, [in 1954] then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson, who was in a contentious re-election campaign, pushed through an amendment to the tax code which prohibits “political activity” by 501(c)(3) entities. It is called the Johnson Amendment. Since the prohibition passed, it has only been lightly—and selectively—enforced.

Loftis points to bi-partisan examples of this selective enforcement, but notes that

[m]ost churches, however, tend to err on the side of caution lest the IRS decide to prosecute, either on a whim or as part of a larger political intimidation program much like the one they have run in the past few years against conservative secular organizations.

In other words, due to LBJ’s little trap, most churches yield to fear and/or love of money.

Oh and Loftis also notes that the IRS is the process of composing new guidelines for political activity by tax-exempt religious organizations and churches at the the legal behest of the Freedom From Religion Foundation(!) Aren’t all we Jesus freaks, Bible-thumpers and bitter-clingers looking forward to the passage of such regulations so that we can find out what’s in them?

Back to LBJ. We have had several problematic presidents and the current one seems like the biggest one. But he and his ideological siblings who sit in political office at all levels of government–like Houston Mayor Annise Parker–can look to the politicians of the past and thank them for laying the foundations of tyranny by luring an intentionally under-educated populace into assenting to it.

Politicians like LBJ: Dixiecrat, Reenslaver of black Americans, and Persecutor of the Church.

Quite a legacy, don’t you think?

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her second novel, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2017.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects: Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or contribute to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>Posted with Blogsy