Printed letters, Feb. 28, 2012
Billions of dollars in revenue are lost every year for cities, counties and states as a result of religious organizations that enjoy tax-exempt status. However, this tax exemption contradicts the First Amendment, which requires government to respect the right to practice your own brand of religion, and also requires that government not establish or sponsor any particular religion or religious organization. It’s an either-or proposition. You can’t have it both ways.
The simple reality is this: A tax exemption is a form of subsidy, and the Constitution bars government from subsidizing religion. In 1970, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote: “If believers are entitled to public financial support, so are nonbelievers. A believer and nonbeliever under the present law are treated differently because of the articles of their faith. I conclude that this tax exemption is unconstitutional.”
Even Justice William Rehnquist declared in 1983 that: “Both tax exemptions and tax deductibility are a form of subsidy that is administered through the tax system. A tax exemption has much the same effect as a cash grant to the organization of the amount of tax it would have to pay on its income.”
In order to enjoy tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, a religious organization cannot be an action organization that attempts to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities, and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.
Unfortunately, we are overwhelmed with the daily newsfeed of churches meddling in campaigns and blatantly attempting to influence legislation on so-called social issues. If we were to enforce our existing laws, these religious organizations should immediately be stripped of their tax-exempt status.
The time has arrived to tax the churches (and synagogues, mosques, temples, etc.).
Radical right wants to move back to Dark Ages
Seems like those who want to take their country back want to return to the days when people of color and women knew their rightful place. After all, shouldn’t women be pregnant and barefoot and confined to the kitchen?
Regarding birth control, why hasn’t someone come up with a method to harvest the unfertilized eggs that every woman’s body sloughs off naturally so that no offspring will be lost? Makes as much sense as the notions being bandied about by the radical right wing of the Republican party. I know, let’s go back to the Dark Ages!
Don’t mess with women.
HOLLY VON HELMS
Parental responsibility is a commitment worth making
My wife and I have raised four sons and have six grandchildren, all of which were celebrated as blessings and are or are growing into productive citizens. In our mid-70s, we look back with joy at decisions we and our offspring have made.
My wife and I had reservations as to our ability to afford the responsibility. We committed on the premise that the child was ours. Neither of us had the power to decide, alone, on its fate.
Group working to provide health care for all kids
On Feb. 9, the “It’s About Kids” network in Mesa County joined more than 75 parents and child advocates in voicing support for investments in children’s health services and legislation that ensures all kids have the opportunity to get a healthy start in life. As concerned citizens who care about the health of local children in our community, we want to be involved in the decisions that impact our state’s children.
In the last five years, Colorado has made real progress toward ensuring all kids have health insurance and access to care they need to grow up healthy and strong. In fact, as cited in the “All Kids Covered” report, between 2008 and 2010, over 40,000 children in Colorado gained health insurance. Today, roughly 90 percent of Colorado kids are covered.
But, despite this progress, there is still work to be done. In Colorado, up to 10.1 percent of kids remain uninsured. That’s as many as 124,000 children — enough to fill every seat in Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium one and a half times over. That’s why we believe it was so important to make our voices heard for kids and why we made the trip to Denver recently.
Through “Speak Up for Kids’ Health Day” at the Capitol, hosted by the Colorado Children’s Campaign and Children’s Hospital Colorado, we learned more about the issues impacting the health and well-being of Colorado children and how our voices in the debate can make a difference. We also had the opportunity to meet directly with local legislators to express our support for programs and services that improve child health.
It was a wonderful experience to meet with Sen. Steve King, Reps. Laura Bradford and Ray Scott at the state Capitol. These legislators remain committed to the health and well being of children in Mesa County. We appreciate the amount of time, information and expertise they bring to this conversation. However, not all legislators are as informed as our elected officials and that is why it is important for all of us to get involved.
Ensuring kids can get the medical, oral and mental health care they need isn’t too much to ask. By working together and speaking up, we can move Colorado closer to that goal.