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- Posted: Sat, 13 Oct 2012 14:23:55 +0000
I can think of plenty of religions and cults that are but thinly disguised profit-making ventures, like one created in recent times by a certain second-tier science fiction writer, for instance.
The law says that any 501c3 isn't able to, and that is prima facie evidence that if they are a 501c3 they are not doing as you describe
feel free to provide PROOF (we both know iwth conjecture) to the contrary
Raising the issue of 501c3 is circular logic. It's like saying the ability to factually consent to intercourse magically manifests itself when the moment the subject reaches the legally mandated age.
Religion has always been just another line of business. In fact, insofar as there is no state-backed church (which is a good business strategy in itself) they're even more like mundane businesses than ever before. Any grifter can start one. Scientology is only the most brazen case, but we also have cases of gurus from the East amassing fleets of Cadillacs, and I remember when Oral Roberts declared that a giant Jesus appeared to him in a vision and told him that he would be called to heaven unless he could raise a million dollars (the actual sum may have been more than that). And the Catholic church is just about the all-time champion in terms of raking in the religious dough. Sales of indulgences (literal tickets to heaven), sales of relics, the medieval religious tourist racket. Not to mention its vast real estate and fine arts portfolios. Or nearer to our own time, no matter how much charitable money flowed into Mother Teresa's hospice, it remained as shitty as it was when Mother Teresa died as it was on the day it was opened. Meanwhile, Mother Teresa went to a real hospital whenever she got sick. I taking in more money than overhead isn't profit, then I don't know what is.
Billy Sunday probably said it best: If God ain't real, then preachers are making money on false pretenses. While I've never seen the movie in question, the boy preacher, Marjoe Gortner, had a change of heart later in life, and helped documentarians make a movie illustrating just how he bilked people out of their money.
And business, in turn, is religion insofar as the phenomenon of value has spooky, fetishistic overtones (as pointed by You-know-who with the beard). Hell, the biggest reason we have writing is probably due to the Sumerian priests needing to have a better handle of the ocean of goodies that were flowing into their temples. And the revenues flowing into the Egyptian temple of Amon-Ra (itself the size of a theme park) during the New Kingdom is just jaw-dropping, even by the standards of a modern industrialized nation. (Yes, I've looked at the figures.)
In any event, insofar as churches are not taxed, they are subsidized, just not in the positive sense. In the meantime they will be making a pretty good living telling us how bad accumulating material wealth is, as well as selling a bill of goods that can only be checked out after our funerals.
prove to me that the church is a pass-through the cash in a way in violation of 501c3 (which, again, presumes that they won't by having the title, meaning you really need to prove it)
Again, I agree in conjuncture, but I want evidence if you want to make the claim