In what amounts to a free speech fine reminiscent of a scene out of Robin Hood, San Francisco City government is assessing a 15 million dollar tax on a tax exempt church. This thinly veiled retaliatory move for church involvement in the passing of proposition 8 is outrageous and clearly steps over the line in the separation of church and state.
Government has no say in church affairs, including what morality gets preached or how church officials and their parishioners vote. It doesn’t matter how unpopular the prop 8 vote was in San Francisco, government tax agencies can not be used as weapons to beat churches into submission, or cow them into silence.
Noam Chomsky said: “If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like. Goebbels was in favour of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favour of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favour of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.”
Separation of church and state is just that, freedom for the church to speak and act independently from government authority, and free from reprisal. This action by San Francisco City to quash the free exercise of speech and religion smacks of intimidation and corruption at City Hall.
Is the economy so bad, are budget issues so dire that we have to raid the donation coffers of the local parish, Mayor?
[Read full article here…]