Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Truth About Religion, Partisan Politics, and Tax Exemption

Every Sabbath or holy day for each of millions of Americans each week, no matter what religion, we go to the church of our choice in order to find a more spiritually enlightening view of the world we live in. Instead what we have ended up with is partisan political messages. The right of a church or religious business to interpret for us who we should vote for, what bills we should vote for, or anything else they do on a regular basis is in violation with the law. The United States constitution and several state laws already state that when these religious businesses endorse publicly any form of politics, party, or politician - that they will lose their tax free status that is afforded to them by our government to operate as a church. Every time you hear even the slightest political message, opinion, or rant you are listening to a message designed to sway your opinion, and therefor your vote. Let's look at the record. What countries have decided to let their government get involved in their religion at the exclusion of all other religions?
  1. The church of England tried their hand at it...
  2. Turkey had a religious country that resolved to make their country a better place. From , it says, "... Religion and Secularity 99% of the Turkish population is Moslem. The remaining is composed of Orthodox Christians, Gregorian Christians, Catholic, Suryani and Protestant Christians, and Jews. Although most of the population is Moslem, Turkey is a secular country and everyone has freedom of religion and beliefs. No one can be forced to participate in religious ceremonies or rites against their will and no blame can be attached to anyone because of their beliefs.

    The 600 years Islamic reigned Ottoman empire collapsed in the 1920's and after the independence war led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk the principle of secularism introduced to the Turkish people.

    Turkey is the only country among the Islamic countries which has included secularism in her Constitution and practices it. With the abolition of the Caliphate and the Ministry of Shariah (Islamic Law) and Foundations, on 3 March 1924 during the Republic period, significant steps were taken on the course to secularism and by providing the unification of education and later the unification of the judiciary. These steps were followed by other steps such as the Hat Reform, closure of the Sects and Convents, changing the weekly holiday from Friday to Sunday and the adoption of the Latin alphabet and the Gregorian calendar. Finally, with an amendment put into practice with Law No. 3115 dated 5 February 1937, "secularism" became a constitutional principle. Although the concept of "secularism" was included in the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey in 1937, the principle of secularism had existed "de facto" since the foundation of the Republic.
  3. Only a few Buddhist countries actually make their religion a base of their government. Tibet is somewhat led by the Dalai Lama but, the reality is, Tibet was overtaken by China. Now, if you want to see how this works, we would have to look at Burma. E.F. Shumacher wrote a book called "Small is Beautiful" in which he included one article from his past writings entitled "Buddhist Economics" that explained how the Burmese made religion and government work together. One must remember that Buddhism is more of a philosophy of how one treats other people and doesn't require that a person believe in any certain prescribed deity.

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