Friday, November 7, 2008

Reasons why I am angry

There was a post on a GLBT website entitled "Today is the day but I am angry instead". (If you want to read it you can check it out here.) Certainly the writer is entitled to their opinion, but I disagree on one of the things that has been getting a lot of press.
Rosie O'Donnell and her spouse did not put any money towards fighting propositions in the elections that were anti-gay.
First of all, I don't know if anyone can definitively say that they DIDN'T put money to the causes, because they may have done without broadcasting it. However, even if they didn't put any money towards them I disagree that they should be lambasted for their decision.
As I see it, propositions that are anti-gay first of all are heavily supported and funded by religious organizations (like the Mormon church) and these organizations pour MILLIONS upon millions of dollars into getting these propositions passed. A monetary donation by a famous lesbian could not even come close to competing with the amount of money spent by religious organizations.
Rosie O'Donnell is a lightening rod. The people who love her, love her and the people who hate her, hate her. By putting money towards an ad she is really preaching to a choir who already know what tune she sings. I doubt she could garner support from anyone who is undecided.
I think that focusing on her and how she spends her money takes the focus AWAY from what I consider to be a more important issue and that is how a tax-exempt church is permitted to put money into political campaigns.
Churches are tax exempt because they are viewed as providing a benefit to society which the government is unable or unwilling to provide. However, there has been some incidences in the past which illustrate that the government has an opinion on what tax exempt religious organizations can spend money on.
The website gives some additional insight into a case in 1970 where a tax exempt school used money to promote discrimination.
Bob Jones University was a Christian university that believed interracial dating and marriage was contrary to the its faith. In 1970, the Internal Revenue Service prohibited granting tax-exempt status to private schools that practiced racial discrimination. The school school sued when the IRS revoked their tax-exempt status. The supreme court upheld the IRS decision in an 8-1 vote saying that the government has an "overriding, fundamental interest in eradicating discrimination". This case clearly demonstrated that the government's interests can outweigh individual religious beliefs. Religious belief can not be used as an excuse for engaging in behavior that violates socially important beliefs.
Let's stop excoriating people in the gay community and put the focus on religious organizations who use tax free money to buy political decisions.

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