Theater, Birthday Parties, and Fighting Prop 8 Hate

So. The people have spoken, and what people mostly want to read in my blog is what’s going on in my life. Well, I suppose I could tell you about the fabulous play for which I am running sound, along with my lovely spouse. If you’re in the Boston area, you should come and check it out – it opened this weekend and it’s running for the next two weeks.

I could tell you about my friend Patrick’s fabulous 40th birthday party, and the cool art project we did together in honor of his birthday. Patrick’s having a little bit of a midlife crisis of faith, occupational direction, and that all encompassing search for meaning. So we gave him a decorated box (yay Fimo!) with 40 inspiring quotes inside it.

But I also can’t stop talking about politics, because the devastating news about Proposition 8 in California affects me, even if my marriage remains legal in the state of Massachusetts. It’s a major setback. But in email exchanges with a few friends I’ve been rather surprised at how people have reacted to the campaign to strip the Mormon Church of their 501c status, for their flagrant violation of tax law and the role of religious institutions in politcs:

“Section 501(c)(3) describes corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literacy, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in section (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”

Couldn’t be more clear folks. The Mormon Church overstepped their bounds in funneling 80% of the funds raised to pass Prop 8, and it’s time to stand up to them. Did you know you can file a complaint against any religious group who does this? I think we should start doing this more often. I’m a religious person, yet I want religions to get the fuck out of politics. It’s going to be the death of this country. And I’m not even being hyperbolic.

By the way, the play we’re running sound for is Rimers of Eldritch, and the themes in the play are the same ones I see in this country today: Economic despair, religious intolerance, hypocrisy, and the inappropriate intermingling of religion and political affairs.

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~ by realsupergirl on November 9, 2008.

5 Responses to “Theater, Birthday Parties, and Fighting Prop 8 Hate”

  1. RSG, I’m afraid I’m going to have to side with the opposition on the e-mail thread. While I am certainly not a lawyer, it seems to me that while the LDS is treading in some very gray territory they are still on the legal side of the line. Morally reprehensible and hateful, but legal.

    You can’t have it both ways. There are many 501c organizations whose activism has been a vitally important positive influence in recent elections. Would you muzzle Amnesty International or the Food Bank as well just because they fall under the same 501c tax exemption?

  2. Amnesty and the Food Bank aren’t religious organizations. Religious organizations should not be interjecting themselves in the political process. It is possibly a letter of the law violation – that will be decided by court cases coming out of California – but it is most certainly a violation of the spirit of the law.

  3. “Religious organizations should not be interjecting themselves in the political process.”

    In that case, rather than trying to quell speech by 501c organizations by filing complaints, you should be advocating for the IRS code to be changed to reflect that.

  4. I can’t believe I’m having this debate with people: “no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in section (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office”

    What part of “no substantial part of which is to influence legislation” ??? It’s already written into the damn IRS code. It just hasn’t been enforced.

    Religious groups should NOT be trying to influence legislation explicitly. It couldn’t be more clear in the IRS code, and it’s time to start enforcing it.

    There are obviously many more subtle ways for religious groups to influence legislation, and those are protected. But this explicit influence has to stop. And the U.S. government needs to step in and stop pandering to them by allowing them to get tax breaks.

  5. Sorry — I really wasn’t going to do this…. It’s not the “no substantial part of which is to influence legislation” that is the salient part here, but the “(except as otherwise provided in section (h))” The (h) designation allows them to do certain kinds of lobbying up to 20 percent of their budgets. (It’s more complicated than just multiplying the budget by 0.20, but that’s the basics.)

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