Showing posts with label opinion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label opinion. Show all posts

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Church Taxation: Religious Persecution Disguised As Progress

Before reading this post, I want to make it clear to everyone that I am neither democrat or republican, or liberal or conservative by label. I consider myself a free thinker and a Constitutionalist. I'm an American, my policy is common sense, and my belief is that if it helps people, I am for it, if it hurts people, I am against it. My political doctrine is the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the rights of humanity. One will find that I have supportive and opposing things to say about both major parties. Neither one is completely right in my book. In fact, they both believe and do many wrong things. That's why if there was a viable 3rd party option, I may vote for them.

For many years, the Left side of the political aisle has been demanding that churches be taxed. Admittedly, they are mainly focused on mega Christian churches that rake in untold sums of money, with filthy rich pastors and priests that give little to no contribution to society. However, there would be much more to it than that, and I don't think the goal of the political Left is to actually tax for the purposes of societal stability. If that were their goal, they could more easily and more efficiently do so by taxing the super rich individuals of the country, like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. They have more money than some nations on this planet. 

The first problem is that there has to be equality and fairness in the tax system. In other words, you can't tax Christian churches and leave all the other religious organizations alone. The government would have to tax every religious institution, including ones even as small as in the Pagan community. A tax rate could endanger the ability of minorities to exist, who have already had to fight tooth and nail for decades just to get the same Constitutional rights as Christians and other major religions. So the consequences of getting at someone like Joel Osteen is that every other religious organization will be bound beside him. They, of course, won't have the same tax rates, but their financial stability can still be shaken. You think that church taxation will get rid of mega churches, but it will actually ensure that they are the only ones that can never be threatened with extinction, because they will have the money to pay the taxes. It's everyone else who won't. Not to mention that to bring mega Christian churches into the tax pool, would mean that the law would have to give them an equal voice and representation in government. Do you really want to see Pat Robertson or Kenneth Copeland debating policy with the government? I certainly don't. In fact, I am terrified by the thought. Keeping them tax free, I would argue, actually preserves the separation of church and state, which the mega Christian churches would love to see gone. They're not scared of you taxing them. They're probably actually praying that you do. 

The second issue is that not all religious organizations that have money are greedy. There are groups, majority and minority, who donate and community organize for good social causes. You might think that churches, temples and other religious organizations with lots of money, or even a moderate amount of money, choose to keep it all for themselves, and that is simply not true. Even Pagans, as small as their groups are, have been known to raise funds and give charitable donations to hospitals and food pantries that total into very significant amounts. My own temple, in fact, which is Greek Polytheistic, has operated a food donation charity since 2011. In my area of the country, you'd be hard pressed to also find a town that does not have a food bank, thrift store, or a social safety net that is operated by a large church. It's simply not true that all religious people and groups keep all their money for empire and domination, as some would have you believe. 

The third issue is what I have seen clearly with the political Left. Not all, but a significant number, and what I think is the actual motive behind religious taxation, and that is to get rid of religion all together. Many of them, by their own admission, do not think you actually have the right to live your religion beyond the doors of your church or temple, or whatever your organization may be called. The problem is that thanks to the Constitution, religion cannot be outlawed, and so what the opponents do instead is something to drive religion out of existence, like proposing heavy taxation on religious groups. If groups can't afford to exist, they will close down, and you have just banned religion without touching the 1st amendment. In my view, it's the same reason they want to be able to sue gun manufacturers for things that they had nothing to do with, so that people will be too afraid to make anymore guns, and thus the Left has just banned guns without having to fight the 2nd amendment. They can't get through the Constitution. Our founders made it hard for a reason. And so they have to find ways to get around it if they want to take down people and things they don't like. Money is the best way to do that.

You may not like someone's religion, and that's fine, there are many religions I don't like. Or you may not like religious people at all, and that's fine too. But they have the right to a life of their choosing the same as everyone else, and the same as you.

In the Goodness of the Gods,

Chris Aldridge.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

British Museum Says Greece Doesn't Own The Parthenon

I'm not sure exactly who owns the Parthenon and its fragments if not the people who built them, but according to the Greek Reporter today, the British Museum which has been housing stolen sculptures from the Parthenon that were taken 200 years ago, aka the "Elgin Marbles," had the audacity to claim that the pieces don't actually, legally belong to people they were taken from, since they were, according to the museum, legally given over to a one Lord Elgin by the Ottomans in the early 1800's.

This, of course, would be fine if the Ottomans actually had legitimate claim to the Greek lands. They didn't. The Ottomans were not ethnic Greeks, and they did not build the Parthenon. In fact, shortly after Lord Elgin was said to have been given the pieces of the Parthenon, the Greek people launched the Greek Revolution and broke free from the Ottoman Empire. So when it comes to the Parthenon fragments, the situation is basically the same as your captor selling off your possessions as a legitimate trade, when obviously, you have no power to say no. It wasn't theirs to give, period. Of course, the Greeks of the time weren't the same ones who built the Parthenon either, or ones who had legitimate claim to the ancient structures, but they still had more of a right to keep them in the Greek country than anyone else. While it may be legal for the museum to keep the pieces, it certainly isn't ethical, and they know it.

The ancient Greek heritage has been destroyed and plundered for 2 millennia, but that doesn't seem to matter to the Brits, who would clearly rather keep the stolen property because they're still making money off it. Although the British people, to their credit, mostly support the return of the pieces to Athens by 69%. Like in many cases throughout history, the government and the people support two different paths.

I think it's time to fully restore the Parthenon myself. She has suffered through centuries of persecution and destruction, but yet her main frame is still standing. She's a magnificent example of ancient architecture, spirituality, and resilience. This latest refusal to return to the Greek people what is theirs, of which there have been many refusals throughout history, is just another example of the oppression that the ancient people have endured and continue to struggle against. It's time for the modern world to do the right thing and pay it back.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"Greek" Christians Who Laugh At Me

Often times, I find myself in several Greek-based groups online, and they're not all Polytheistic. Some of them are dominated by the dominant religion of Greece today, that being Orthodox Christianity. While most of them are nice to me, there are others who are very rude and confrontational when they find out that I worship the Greek Gods; that my religion is ancient Greek and I reject Christianity. It's all the worse when you consider the fact that I do not make fun of or attack them in the group for their religious choices, but let me post something in a universal Greek group about my shrines, sanctuaries, or general spirituality, and at least one or two people will laugh at me or call me crazy in one form or another. One person even told me that I should see a psychiatrist. I should have retorted by saying that she's the one with Stockholm Syndrome. 

I do wish the group administrators would ban the bigots instead of just deleting my threads to stop the confrontations, but I have always found it very interesting that the people who submitted to the religious invaders who did everything they could to destroy the ethnic Greek culture and subjugate the Greek people, would think that someone like me who chooses to fight for their freedom from it, is delusional, crazy, laughable, etc. They certainly have the right to follow whichever religion they want and I'd never try to stop anyone from having that right, but it's clear that they think Christianity is the legitimate religion of the Greek people, or that it saved the Greek people from destruction. When in fact, it's the opposite. The legitimacy of any people is their ethnicity, not outsiders or foreigners who forced them into another ethnicity, and Greece today is not even a shadow of the greatness it was in the ancient times.

It also angers me that these Greeks in question resent the ancient worshipers and followers, but also have no problem using our architecture, forms of government, ethics, art, science and philosophy. They're more than willing to take the cultural constructs and claim their greatness for their own, but not the Gods who inherently come with it. Because the ancient Greeks had their religion intertwined into everything, you naturally cannot adopt that culture while excluding its spirituality. Otherwise, it makes you hypocritical. So I wish these Greeks, if they hate the ancients so much, would form their own culture, their own ideas, and give ours back to us along with the land they hijacked. It would be great if we could have all of our temples and religious lands back, along with restitution so we could restore them.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.