An atheist lawmaker has proposed legislation in Nebraska that would essentially tax churches and other religious organizations.
Ernie Chambers, who may be the highest-ranking openly atheist politician in the country, introduced a bill that would eliminate a state property tax exemption for those organizations.
Chambers, an independent, submitted the bill, LB675, as simply a copy of the existing statute with the word “religious” crossed out at each mention among groups that are currently exempt from property taxes.
The lawmaker, who is the longest-serving senator in Nebraska history, suggested the measure to generate more revenue and reduce local government reliance on state funding.
“Religious people say they want to carry out the directives of Jesus who said, ‘Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,’ when he was asked whether taxes should be paid to Caesar. In short: ‘PAY YOUR TAXES,’” Chambers wrote in the bill’s statement of intent. “This bill simply carries out what Jesus wanted to see his followers do, and they certainly want to see the Scriptures fulfilled.”
Sounds fair to me.
And since we are on the subject of honoring the wishes of Jesus perhaps these churches might want to remember Matthew 6:6:
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee.
In other words gathering in a building to pray together, is exactly what Jesus did NOT want people to do.
You know I am never going to be comfortable with religion, but it would do much to improve my relationship with them if they would start to act as if they have read, and actually understand, the teachings of the man they claim to love and respect.