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« New York's human-rights exception | Main | They're 'the kiss of death' »

June 26, 2011



Wow. I certainly knew what you meant. Didn't think others would take it so far.


Yeah, I thought it was obvious but the clarification is brilliant and worthwhile as an argument. But I'm not a fan of organized religion or its tax-exempt status.

Ansel M.

Thanks for the postscript, PM. As a progressive, Obama-supporting, life-long Democrat, who also happens to be a member of an organized religion, I'd just like to clarify that not all organized religions function by the same tenets. Some more sincerely teach tolerance and love of our fellow human beings than do others. I'm in your camp when it comes to the resentment of tax exemption for "religious corporations".

Dorothy Rissman

It never occurred to me that your expressing your "sadness" over the "exception" clause would create such a boondoggle.

I completely resent a tax exemption for religious organizations.


PM, I apologize for the misreading, though I wonder (forgive the pedantry) if it was really "vast" or "gross"?

You did, after all, draw an implicit comparison between the New York law, and the civil rights acts of the 1960s, saying "In short, a "religious corporation" is free to discriminate. (What if the Restaurant Association of America had successfully inserted into the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that private restaurants were exempt? . . ."

Is it really that much of a misreading to assume that the author is viewing the two discriminations under view as in all essentials similar, and that he might believe that, just as the power of the state is exercised to suppress malingerers and dissenters in the one case (something most of us here are happy to see happen), that the author is at least hypothetically entertaining the attractiveness of a similar solution in the other?

As you note here, one not necessarily compelled to embrace that solution, but again, one might refuse to do so on the grounds that it's politically impractical and that it would be positively wrong, or one can assert impracticality only, while leaving unsaid whether one thinks there are deeper reasons for rejecting coercion on the part of the state as a solution.

It seems to me--whatever your intentions may be--that what you have written leans toward the second option.

If so, then we have skirted the question regarding diversity and dissent with respect to the definition of this right, and with respect to whether a same-sex couple's right to marry should over-ride the beliefs and practices of dissenting religious institutions.

And, if it is the case that the two cases of dissent/discrimination are (in their metaphysical aspects, if you will) strictly similar, it's hard to see why the state shouldn't exercise an intervening power in the one case as well as the other.

As for tax exempt status, it's a complex enough question in its own right (many religious leaders themselves disagree with it), and isn't essential to this discussion (one might disagree with it even if a religious institution IS marrying same-sex couples, eg).

Again, forgive the pedantry.

Robert Lipscomb

P.M. and I are at opposite ends of spirituality. Occasionally, I think he a little presumptive in his description of religion. Having said that, I have no real problem with his take on religion. Further, he has always been accomodating to me on his blog. I continue to look forward to his comments.

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