Dogs at the Table

...or to put it another way, "Perish, priest!"

Saturday, April 28, 2012

So it's tax time

Many of you know that I strongly believe that the church has a voice in the public forum, especially where governments are concerned.  It is especially true at this time of year, when our taxes are due (or at least reviewed for refund).

One of the benefits that the church holds in this country is a charitable tax status.  In other words, the work of the church – usually as a community presence, provider of pastoral comfort, and representative at public functions – is acknowledged by the ‘state’ as a tangible good which enjoys some level of privilege, including its status as a charitable tax exemption.

Recently, several environmental organizations have surrendered that charitable status in order to speak out more openly against policies and prerogatives of the government.

I sometimes wonder if I might be guilty of some level of complacency by enjoying the benefits of a tax refund of about half my charitable giving while at the same time holding strong opinions about the nature of government.

∙    In both Canada and the United States, women’s health issues (including reproductive choices, and access to abortion and specialized health care providers) are still not provided on an equal basis depending on where one lives
∙    the environmental concerns that have been clearly identified through years of government-funded research are being shelved, or, worse, dismissed (sometimes by dismissing the scientists)
∙    the role of the public broadcaster (ie. the CBC) as steward of journalism, creativity and the arts is being gutted
∙    the sheer arrogance of the Prime Minister in stating in the House of Commons that the party of the official opposition had not spoken against Naziism in 1939 shows the contempt of the government for any that disagree.  Just for the record, I said nothing about Naziism in 1939 for the exact same reason that the NDP didn’t – we didn’t exist in 1939.  Perhaps the Prime Minister holds me and my views with the same contempt.

...and if you want to read an even stronger ecclesial voice, check out Dennis Drainville's (Bishop of Quebec) latest blog entry:

The Bishop's Views

Today's weigh-in: 237 Taxing.