jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

In the United States, there is no one state religion which people are taxed to support, the way there is in some European countries. Instead, pretty much any religious organization is treated like a nonprofit. They are not required to pay taxes, and they are exempt from a ton of laws, such as nondiscrimination ordinances and laws about fair treatment of employees.

(I am not a lawyer, but this is my understanding of how things work.)

To me, this is very obviously not okay. It has created a lot of small, personal kingdoms, where preachers and "prophets" can make their own rules and abuse people however they like. Stuff Fundies Like has a lot of examples, of the consequences of the way the States privilege petty tyrants.

If any religion is to be privileged here in the States, with things like free money (tax exemptions) and stuff, it should be ones like Unitarian Universalism, with their financial transparency and commitment to plurality. Money-making scams like Scientology and Mormonism should not be recognized as legitimate religious organizations, when that just lets them make even more cash and exploit free (or nearly free) volunteer labour. And churches where people preach hate speech, and exclude disadvantaged groups from their ordinances or their priesthood, should likewise not be considered legitimate by law or society.

Hate speech is not free speech. Bigotry does not deserve subsidy. Children should not be in positions where unaccountable adults, like Mormon bishops, can take advantage of them. And if no one in their churches has the back of exploited "volunteer" missionaries or "Sea Org" members, especially underage ones, then society at large should stand up for them, by mandating fair wages and humane working conditions.

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We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

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