john-oliver-churchIn 2004, Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, famously appeared on CNN’s Crossfire and accused the hosts of “hurting America.” He excoriated the show’s hosts for being “partisan hacks” who suck up to politicians and spin the news for partisan ends. Stewart then spent the next ten years hurting America by being a partisan hack that sucked up to politicians and spun the news for partisan ends.

That so many Americans get their news from opinion shows on cable news like Crossfire has always been depressing. But even more disturbing is the fact that for years a relatively small number (about 12 percent) cited Stewart’s The Daily Show as a place they learned about what was going on in the world.

When Stewart and his show retired earlier this month, many of us sighed with relief. Finally, we thought, thirtysomething, college-educated liberals will be forced to turn somewhere else besides a third-rate comedy show to get their information about current events. Alas, that was not to be. Stewart passed the baton to his former correspondent John Oliver who has his own current events show on HBO called Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

If you’ve been on social media in the past year you’ve likely seen one of your liberal friends post a clip from Oliver’s show. There’s nothing particularly insightful about Oliver, but he has a British accent which leads Americans to assume he’s intelligent and profound.

Earlier this month, Oliver did a segment on televangelists. He can be forgiven for being late to the topic since he was still a teenager in England when America got bored of talking about predatory preachers on television. The “prosperity gospel” frauds are still a problem, of course, and should be called out for it. But Oliver (or whoever writes for his teleprompter) isn’t really concerned about televangelists. The real goal of the segment is to promote the idea that the IRS should determine what is and is not a legitimate church.

To show how easy it is to form a “false” church, Oliver created his own church, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, and asked for donations. As a comedy bit it’s pretty lame; as a critique of government oversight of religion it’s downright idiotic.

Again, Oliver is from England, so his ignorance about things like the First Amendment and freedom of religious can be excused. But many Americans who should know better agree that the IRS should have the power to determine what beliefs constitute a legitimate religion.

A few folks have attempted to provide the education Oliver and his acolytes are lacking. Rabbi Jack Moline of the Interfaith Alliance has even invited Oliver’s church to join his group. In his letter, Moline writes,

Interfaith Alliance is a national organization that draws support from individuals who identify with more than 75 faith traditions and philosophies. We hope that with the establishment of your church we can now say “more than 76 faith traditions.” I would welcome you and any other members of the Church of Our Lady of the Perpetual Exemption (COOLPERX?) to join us.

You seemed surprised at how easy it was for you to open your church, register it, and ensure its legal protection. We understand what made you shake your head at what the IRS allows as a house of worship. The only way we can be absolutely sure that mosques, synagogues, churches and temples are able to serve communities across the country is to protect the rights of new and unique churches like Our Lady of the Perpetual Exemption.

If the IRS were truly empowered to regulate religion in this country, every sermon would be written in red-ink, our prophets would all be living in the Caymans and we’d have to file our prayers at a processing center in Peoria. Religious life thrives in America precisely because the government plays no role in deciding what is or is not a legitimate faith.

Call us crazy, but we believe that the common sense of most people will alert them to the absurdities of religious practitioners who take advantage of these freedoms. And when that fails, we count on you to point out those who are misusing the trappings of faith for personal or political gain.

I hope that Interfaith Alliance can count on your wit, intellect and support as we continue the hard work of balancing religious freedom and the government’s interest in preventing abuse and protecting the rights of all Americans. And I give you my personal promise that no donation you might send us will go toward mansions or private jets. (That’s what government contracts are for, and that’s where the real money is anyway).

While I appreciate Moline’s response, I think he misses the point of Oliver’s critique, and why it’s been embraced by so many on the American left. Unlike Moline, they aren’t all that interested in seeing religion in America “thrive.” And they certainly aren’t all that concerned about the preachers on TV channels they don’t watch. What they are really worried about are the preachers in their communities, especially the conservative ministers and priests who challenge a libertine, secular worldview. And what they really want is for the IRS to use the government’s power to take away the tax exemption of any church that dares disagree with their ideology.

As Naomi Schaeffer Riley recently wrote,

We’ve seen in the past two years how ideological the IRS can be, how prone its bureaucracy has been to political influence. Just imagine if Lois Lerner had been sent out to determine which churches were legitimate and which ones weren’t.

Church doesn’t perform gay marriages? It can pay taxes. Your church doesn’t allow women to be pastors? We’ll send you a bill tomorrow. What, you don’t give sermons about the dangers of income inequality? We’ll be in touch mid-April.

In fact, the idea of taxing non-gay-marriage-performing churches is floating in a few circles right now.

Oliver and his acolytes claim all they want is for the IRS to act against “ridiculous” churches. No doubt that’s true. But it won’t be long before their definition of what constitutes a “ridiculous” church includes every conservative Catholic and evangelical congregation in America.

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  • Mike

    In such a society as ours, how does one establish a robust meaning to religion in law? There seem two arbitrary standards which are both contrary to the common good. Either “what I don’t like” or “what says it is a religion.” The first inevitably leads to the crushing of freedom. The second opens a door wide enough for what is clearly anti-religious or ridiculous, such as COOLPERX and the Temple of Satan. It seems that a reasonable person can tell the difference between a church, mosque or synagogue and the temple of Satan or COOLPERX. How can such insight be articulated and added to our understanding of freedom of religion

    • http://Culture11.com Joe Carter

      That’s a good question. To be honest, I think the standards the government has in place now are a fairly good start. For instance, despite Oliver’s claims, COOLPERX would not qualify as a church under the IRS guidelines.

      • Stodini

        Really? Because you say so? Your posts are deficient in support for your statements. And one standard that could easily be put in place is a limit on parsonage benefits. Such a rule would not be a tax on the religion, but on the personal tax return of the recipient of the benefit.

        You maintain that Oliver is attacking all religious organizations, yet he clearly said at the beginning of the piece that he was not. Your problem is actually with “the left” and more specifically upon those on the left who don’t like religion. But you conflate everyone whose political beliefs you don’t like, including Oliver, with those who are actually anti religion. And it sounds suspiciously like you don’t have a problem with cretins like Dollar and Tilton, who would quite clearly be perfectly happy to have their flocks go into deep debt in order to finance their own lives of luxury.

        “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton
        Folks like Tilton and Dollar have absolute power within their organizations, and it shows.

  • Grady McDonald

    This article is hackery. You’ve taken to ad hominem attacks on his birthplace origin as not being able to understand the gravitas of the First Amendment. You’ve tried to take him down a peg due to his accent as for his “insightfulness”. Try to not draw your conspiracy string from legitmate joke of a sheltered tax fraud to religion as an institution while in the same breath crying hipocrisy in the same sentence.

    • http://Culture11.com Joe Carter

      ***You’ve taken to ad hominem attacks on his birthplace origin as not being able to understand the gravitas of the First Amendment.***

      No, that’s reversing what I’m saying. My claim is that Oliver doesn’t seem to understand the First Amendment. I’m saying that he has a legitimate excuse (unlike some Americans) because he’s from England.

      ***You’ve tried to take him down a peg due to his accent as for his “insightfulness”.***

      No, on that one I was taking a potshot at gullible Americans, not at Oliver.

      • jlothar

        Nothing in the first amendment says Churches should be tax exempt.

        • http://www.trutherator.wordpress.com/ Trutherator

          Nothing in the Constitution grants the fed gov any say in it. Gov should get out of our bedrooms. States too.

          • http://www.trutherator.wordpress.com/ Trutherator

            Out of our bedrooms and out of our pockets.

      • RamblinLonghorn

        First Amendment – Religion and Expression. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
        I must have missed the part that says the government has to set up special rules exempting religious organizations from playing by the same rules as everyone else in society.

        • Grady McDonald

          It’s a false argument these days that there is a war on religion and the only ones who buy into it are those who are comfortable with Judeo-Christian values dictating civil rights and social norms.

          When people bring up that little thing known as the establishment clause in favor of secularism they are accused of being immoral or worse.

          I want a pro-lifer to make an argument which doesn’t rely on their biblical beliefs; I want a religious individual in defense of marriage to concede it was a convention which preceded the church as an institution to best secure property rights as well as spousal rights; The list goes on wherein religious mandate influences public policy unduly.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            “I want a pro-lifer to make an argument which doesn’t rely on their biblical beliefs;”

            Please enjoy this giant list of arguments against abortion that don’t rely on Biblical beliefs. Although, I tend to think that “thou shalt not kill” is a pretty good argument in and of itself.

            “I want a religious individual in defense of marriage to concede it was a convention which preceded the church as an institution to best secure property rights as well as spousal rights”

            No, I don’t think I’m willing to concede that.

            “The list goes on wherein religious mandate influences public policy unduly.”

            What in the world does this mean? Is your position that no religious belief should ever influence any public policy? That religion must be completely separate from public life? Wow. You must really get all riled up at those nasty abolitionists and that pesky Martin Luther King. It’s such a shame that they let their religious beliefs taint their public engagement.

          • http://www.trutherator.wordpress.com/ Trutherator

            Adam and Eve.

          • http://www.trutherator.wordpress.com/ Trutherator

            Proliferation make zillions of arguments I outside of the religious. Search on “godless prolifers” and “atheists for life”.

          • Grady McDonald

            These aren’t the arguments in main stream discussion. Nor are they the ones which dominate 24/7/365 news cycles and debates. Those are exceptions not the rules when it comes to this policy

          • Marc Vander Maas

            Here’s what you asked for:

            “I want a pro-lifer to make an argument which doesn’t rely on their biblical beliefs…”

            You were presented with a whole bunch of arguments, but you reject them because they’re not what you see on cable news? Do you make it a habit to turn to cable news for serious debate on anything?

          • http://www.trutherator.wordpress.com/ Trutherator

            So some of your thought-benders have a problem with “Judeo-Christian values”.

            Before the practicing Biblical Christians brought those values to the rest of the world, slavery was accepted practice as a cultural value almost everywhere.

            Christians imposed their values on the Roman Empire using the effective tool of martyrdom, and gladiator spectacles faded away, and slavery followed after.

            St. Patrick brought Christian values to Ireland, and the annual human sacrifices ended, and with it slavery, and literacy sprouted everywhere and many Greek and Roman classics were saved.

            St. Francis (the real saint, not the modern fake one) preached the Christian values of peace to both sides in the war of the Crusades.

            Christian missionaries brought their values to the South Pacific, and Charles Darwin rebuked a critic of missionaries by writing about the relief world travelers felt at spotting the cross atop a church when they approached an island, relief that they would not find cannibals waiting for them.

            Christians protested the treatment of Ota Benga, a Pygmy that was exhibited in a cage as the “missing link” at the St. Louis World’s Fair, and then in the New York Zoo.

            William WIlberforce and his allies in England, and the abolitionists in the United States, finally imposed their Judeo-Christian values in their respective domains, and slavery faded into the taboo it is today.

            The founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ, laid down his life in pain and humiliation for the sake of unbelievers including his enemies, while the founder of Islam laid down the lives of infidels and enemies to spread his faith, and the enemies of Judeo-Christian values in the 20th century laid down the lives of all those who differed with their faith in materialism and godlessness, to “save” the world from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

            There is too much resistance today to the message of the love of God and of the fellow man. There is so much hate for the Son of God that the thoughtcrime police will now jump in and protest by pointing to imposters. Those are the imposters that showed they had no love at all for God by showing no love at all for their fellow human beings.

            But God is merciful and stands ready to forgive all who truly repent. His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting.

        • http://www.trutherator.wordpress.com/ Trutherator

          For 175 years the federal courts ruled that the 1ST meant that religions had to operate as sovereign with respect to gov, and taxing them was limiting on free exercise.
          But EVERYONE should be free of taxation. There is no equality in taxation. Even Jesus Christmas said so. See Matthew 17. And Matthew 23 about burdens the taxes put on their victims that they will not lift with a finger.
          Gramschi-ism is oppression. No conspiracy theory there, theyes published their plans just like Hitler did.

      • Grady McDonald

        You’re still of the opinion then he is incapable of understanding the First Amendment (or any other Right) due to his nationality. That’s hogwash.

        • http://www.trutherator.wordpress.com/ Trutherator

          He only cut him a break for it. My Latin American family has this lack of rights insistence that N. AMERICANS HAVE.

          • Grady McDonald

            “has this lack of rights insistence that N. Americans have” Not sure where you’re going with that bud.

    • Greg Wiens

      I fully agree

    • http://www.trutherator.wordpress.com/ Trutherator

      They are equally free by the 1st to opine same as aNY govmedia organ. Christians have kept the hustlers at bay and limited in scope, like Martin Luther did in his battle against those of his day. For laughs imagine Lois Lerner approving Martin Luther for exemption?
      Christians need to stop trusting gov.

  • James

    One thing that often bothers me is that John Oliver’s show often does not an explicit call for action or stated purpose. And in that show, it doesn’t have one. Sure, you can say that Americans who are well versed in political issues will be aware of what John Oliver is implying or can connect the dots, but definitely not for those Americans you say that get their news wholly from Last Week Tonight. Also, tax exemption of churches is not the main message of that episode, it is only one of many messages. While John Oliver ends on the topic of IRS, that is only because he has a punchline for it. It’s a comedy show after all.

  • Greg Wiens

    Joe, I am a conservative born again evangelical Christian, and Oliver, while being a foul mouthed and irreverent is correct in everything he said in that sketch.
    And on top of that he starts out the segment by saying that the vast majority of churches in America are very good.
    So no he is not picking out Consecrative Churches, he is picking out the Health and Wealth Gospel and pointing out exactly what they do, WHILE getting tax exemption status.
    Freedom of religion is not freedom to steal and get a tax exemption.

    • Lodes Tone

      I am at a loss to understand how someone could watch that episode and believe he is surreptitiously targeting conservative churches. The only plausible explanation I can muster for interpreting him that way is paranoia. Oliver is specifically talking about people who would be considered criminals in any sensible society. I would even posit that the organizations he is targeting are not really Christian. Christians stopped selling blessings from God half a millennium ago, and i think only paranoid thinking could lead a person to perceive Oliver going after morally repugnant con-artists as being a threat to legitimate religious institutions.

      “Freedom of religion is not freedom to steal and get a tax exemption”

      -Amen

      • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com Roger McKinney

        “Freedom of religion is not freedom to steal and get a tax exemption”

        Actually, it is. Of course, they’re not literally stealing or the FBI would be after them. A great theologian once wrote that if some of your congregation isn’t going too far, then you’re not preaching grace properly. True liberty means that some people will do things the rest of us don’t like. The moment you start reigning in the fringe element, the ones the majority consider crazy or immoral, through the power of the state, then we all lose our liberties.

        So who will decide what is a legitimate religion? Oliver?

        • Lodes Tone

          “Actually, it is. Of course, they’re not literally stealing or the FBI would be after them.”
          That is the whole point of the sketch – they are not stealing only because there is no law in place to make such villainous behaviour illegal, when it clearly ought to be. Selling someone a product you cannot actually deliver is fraud and, whether you’re a believer or not, no human being is able to deliver you grace from god for a fee.

          “The moment you start reigning in the fringe element, the ones the majority consider crazy or immoral, through the power of the state, then we all lose our liberties”
          Actually, the majority imposing its morality on the rest of society is the definition of a law in a democratic society. John Oliver is not a tiny little English bogeyman coming to take your freedom to worship in whichever way you choose. He is simply highlighting the fact that for decades now there have been charlatans on television defrauding people of their money in the name of god.

          “So who will decide what is a legitimate religion? Oliver?”
          This is a simply vapid question. The sketch has nothing to do with defining what is a religion and what is not. It’s about defining what religious institutions can or cannot do under the law. There is already a robust system in place to do just that: the three branches of government.

          • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com Roger McKinney

            No, it ought not be illegal. It’s ludicrous and Stalinist to criminalize everything anyone disagrees with. You are demanding a police state that would be intolerable for anyone to live in.

            “Actually, the majority imposing its morality on the rest of society is the definition of a law in a democratic society.”

            It’s also the definition of tyranny. Keep in mind that the majority imposed its will on black slaves, Native American ethnic cleansing, eugenics, Jim Crow laws, putting Japanese Americans in concentration camps during WWII.

            “It’s about defining what religious institutions can or cannot do under the law.”

            It should be pretty obvious that first you have to determine what is a religion institution.

            I would not want to live in the tyrannical state you seem to desire.

          • Greg Wiens

            Roger, Roger,
            “It’s ludicrous and Stalinist….”
            You trivialize the atrocities and the barbarity of his reign of terror by throwing out “It’s ludicrous and Stalinist” with somebody you disagree with.
            Do you have any idea what Stalin did? He killed MILLIONS because he was a paranoid psychopathic nutcase. He starved million of his own people because he was worried somebody was going to try to overthrow him and his best defense was to make them more worried about finding food than overthrowing him.

            If you want to have a reak debate with somebody use logic and reason and don’t throw out the “Commie” or “Nazi” trump card.

          • http://johnnyangeladvocacygroup.net/ JohnnyAngel Advocacy Group

            FBI ? Hillary been makin da bacon off government for years !!

          • http://www.trutherator.wordpress.com/ Trutherator

            I am livid at the Vampire theme that socks youth pockets dry, horror movies and the like. And yes they do go after tax deductions big time like Michael Moore recently even demanding a subsidy for his filming in one state for his own capitalist enterprise.

        • Greg Wiens

          “Freedom of religion is not freedom to steal and get a tax exemption”

          “Actually, it is”

          Friend, a biblical understanding of rule of law is that rule of law is there to protect society from greed and the oppression of the poor.
          The Pharisees figured out how to twist the system to their advantage, following the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law.
          The First Amendment is the foundation of Western Democracy and Freedom. This is what the writers and signers of the constitution had that in mind. It was intended to protect people’s choice to follow conscience, not to enable theft.

          • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com Roger McKinney

            So greed is illegal? I had no idea. In that case we should all be in jail.

            Oppressing the poor should be illegal, but who is doing that? If the poor voluntarily give of their finances to what they consider a valuable ministry, what business is that of yours or the state?

            You sound increasingly like a Nazi. People go to jail for whatever displeases you.

          • J. C. Smith

            Greed is only illegal if you believe that it’s ok to take someone else’s labor and keep it for yourself (or distribute it to buy the votes of others)

          • Marc Vander Maas

            How would one “take someone else’s labor”? Or are you referring to the fruits of someone else’s labor?

          • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com Roger McKinney

            Wrong! Greed is illegal only if it rises to the level of actual theft of goods or fraud. The televangelists are committing neither, else the police would have arrested them. I don’t like their theology, but they exercise a legit right to free speech that no one should take away.

          • Alan Cassidy

            The poorest to the richest can be accused of greed, but you having more than your neighbor in Yorktown or your more distant neighbor in Haiti, that does not mean you are “more greedy” than any other.

            Many who have less than George Soros, of course, believe that he is greedy simply because he has more. What a racket, what a scam. Yell loud that you are helping the oppressed poor while stealing their national wealth by killing their currency. That way they blame somebody else.

            No wonder Jesus Christ used a long painful lash on those money changers. No wonder who tore into the religious leaders of the day for hypocrisy.

            But our present shadowy rulers know that a strong natural nuclear family, and traditional religion, or very resistant to state power. This is why they are using their attack dogs, Official Media to attack both the natural nuclear family and religion of all kinds.

          • Alan Cassidy

            The excuse for [government] law is to protect society from greed and the oppression of the poor. But all it can do is to encourage greed, because it is force-guaranteed income for those who are in power. The rulers of this world, like Jesus confirmed in Matthew 17, do not lay a tax burden on their own children, so Jesus said they are “free”. Yes, they are free from theft by the Romans who conquered by force, or the “new boss” who rules by force.

            All government can do is oppress the poor, by definition, because it uses force against its subjects to enforce “the Law”.

            When one gang pushes another out of power, you can “Meet the new Boss, same as the Old Boss”. Sing the rest of it with me: “We won’t be fooled again”.

    • http://www.trutherator.wordpress.com/ Trutherator

      The point is this is it’still the start of a campaign on false pretense, hence the evidence in the govmedia microscope on the Westboro gang. They served their purpose and the story vanished when they saw public was now hoodwinked into accepting the oxymoronic idea that the Y-chromosome is irrelevant.

  • George Potter

    This article is quite right. It’s absurd to think that the IRS could adequately determine what is and isn’t a real religion.

    That’s why it’d be far better to just scrap tax exemptions for churches wholesale. If they’re making a profit then let them pay tax on it. Simple.

  • Lodes Tone

    I have only watched his show a handful of times, but I found Oliver’s Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption sketch to be quite amusing and irreverent. Since you described it as a “pretty lame” comedy bit, I wonder if you would furnish us with a few examples of comedy bits you would describe as funny, to satisfy my curiosity?

  • Edward Silha

    What is lost in most of this discussion is that our current laws (written by politicians, not the IRS administrators or employees) require that the IRS determine who is and who is not a “pastor” and which organizations qualify as churches and which do not. Talk about entangling the government in religion. By identifying a separate class of nonprofit organizations (i.e., churches) for special treatment by the IRS, our political leaders have opened a can of worms (a tangled ball) that intimately entangles the government in the judgments of what is and is not a religion (a judgement that is the sole responsibility of the individual citizen).
    I am not opposed to allowing churches to file applications for nonprofit status, but they should do so in the same manner as other nonprofits such as Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross.
    Doing so might reduce the abuses cited by Mr. Oliver.
    PS: This column by Mr. Carter is just a bunch of sour grapes and a waste of space.

    • http://www.trutherator.wordpress.com/ Trutherator

      LBJ put the religious language in the tax code. Before that, the courts said the churches were “untaxable”. Carter is sounding a warning. The warning is true to the Gramschi strategy, seen in past decades.

  • Patrick Guerra

    Joe, I think you are missing the point of what Oliver is doing. He starts everything off by acknowledging the fact that there are thousands of churchs that truly do good in the world. He is targeting televangelists that are obviously greedy scum. Further, I believe he understand that the IRS is basically powerless to do anything about it because of the first ammendment. What he is achieving though, is making sure these scum bags that are preying on the weak and guillible are exposed. If you are truly a devout Christian, you should speak out against these charlatans. All true Christians shlould. Doing so will ostracize these greedy misiteries and hopefully people will stop following them and instead turn to true churches that will help them put their faith in God, not a man on the TV.

  • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com Roger McKinney

    The original reason for tax exemption for churches goes back of a millennium to a battle between the church and state over who had legal control over the church. They settled the debate by agreeing to separate spheres of governance. The Church would be sovereign in religious matters and the state over civil matters. One sovereign does not tax another, else they’re not sovereign. The modern ignorance over the matter is sad and emphasizes the importance of history.

  • Marc Vander Maas

    A zygote is a human being at the earliest stage of development. It has every trait a human being has at that point in its life.

    • Grady McDonald

      You really are hurt in the head. “It has every trait a human being has at that point in its life”. IT is a TWO CELLED ORGANISM WHICH IS NOT SELF SUSTAINING. No it has every trait that any organism which uses haploid gametes to reproduce has at that point in its life.

      Get a grip on reality and try making an argument for consciousness or the emergence of sentience in the womb if you want to be taken seriously.

      In the meantime, go watch Monty Python https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUspLVStPbk

      • Marc Vander Maas

        “You really are hurt in the head.” “Get a grip on reality”

        Strange, I don’t recall being rude to you.

        Grady, whether you like it or not, your life began when your father’s sperm cell joined with your mother’s egg cell to create a new, genetically distinct person. At that point, you were a two-celled human being, on the road to becoming the Grady we all know and love today.

        As for arguments about consciousness or sentience or self-sustainability and whatnot, I’m not particularly interested in traveling down that road, because it ends in brutality and inhumanity.

  • Marc Vander Maas

    What makes it undue? The fact that you disagree with it?

    • Grady McDonald

      The fact that I disagree with a religious position attempting to make law which affects others freedoms. That’s what’s undue. You making the strawman that ‘i disagree with it’ and that makes it undue is childish.

      • Marc Vander Maas

        So your position is that religious people should not be allowed to let their religious beliefs influence their thinking on matters of public interest?

        • Grady McDonald

          Not when those beliefs restrict others’ freedoms from religious dogma. You are also mincing words whereby universal values are to be found and applied in everyday life; religion has no monopoly on moral pedagogy.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            Grady: I am a Christian. I believe that the Bible provides for me the moral framework within which I need to live my life. I believe that Christianity impacts every area of life, not just church on Sunday, and therefore my whole life, and the decisions that I make, must be guided by the moral and ethical principles of Christianity.

            Set aside for a moment your obvious disdain for religion and religious people: how, exactly, am I supposed to participate in a meaningful way in society in your view? Should I be allowed to participate at all?

            I’d note as well that I’m not at all enamored of your secularist dogma. Why should you be allowed to run roughshod over everyone else who disagrees with you?

            “You are also mincing words whereby universal values are to be found and applied in everyday life”

            I have no idea what you’re talking about here.

  • Tim Grams

    Joe, nice try on putting a “spin” on John Oliver’s words. U are no better than the next political hack. john hit it straight on and is 100% correct.

  • Grady McDonald

    Nice false Equivelencies, suggesting dna is just like enslaved and oppressed peoples. Dna is a ribonucleic acid, it is not a person.

  • Grady McDonald

    Wait, you actually made the assertion a womb and its contents are not within the realm of a “womans own body”. Curious, at which point in time do you believe a fetus has rights as an individual, rights of protection via state police power.

  • http://www.trutherator.wordpress.com/ Trutherator

    Better to remove government altogether.

    • JH

      That’s nor really an option.

      • Alan Cassidy

        I only said it’s better, but now you say it, it is an option.

        The government is helpless to protect us, and its enforcers more often than not think that any order they command you to do is “lawful”, top to bottom. Every individual is unique, each person has his own set of values.

        There is no “divine right” of kings to rule,inside or outside of the Bible. There is also no “divine right” for ideologues. There is no “divine right” of majorities or pluralities either to decides who should rule the rest of us. Nobody has a “natural” or “divine right” to rule his neighbor by force, or steal his property or wealth for purposes that the neighbor opposes.

        You have no right to steal from your neighbor or hurt him. Therefore, you have no right to delegate that evil to another person either. You have no right to hire somebody to take what’s mine or your neighbor’s for any good cause or bad cause.

        The needs of the many do NOT EVER outweigh the needs of the few.

  • gidtanner

    It would be simple to get rid of the charlatans who abuse and debase religion for personal profit. Just drop the exemption for nonprofits. We all could donate a little bit more to real churches, etc., and the crooks would no longer have a motive to debase religion. How bout it folks? Those of us who love our real churches would take care of them, but crooks living in giant mansions bought with money stolen by fleecing ignorant victims , would have to pay taxes on their evil gotten gains. Wouldn’t that be good for believers, to not have our faith mocked by these parasites?