Taxing religion to fund health care

If the Hippocratic Oath can be taken as the highest ideal of the medical field—separate from the economic structures that have built up around it—then something like health care should be judged by its purist ideals, i.e., the Hippocratic Oath. In that sense health care is more than a mere product. Those who reduce it to a mere product in the health care debate take this oath of healing and comforting out of context. However, if those who do wish to reduce health care to a mere product that is bought and sold in an economic market, why don’t they do the same with religion? Institutional religions are, by necessity, run in similar ways to businesses and their product is that of salvation. This is not so dissimilar from the way medical care needs to be run in a business-like fashion. Yet, I have yet to hear that we should treat religious goods as products or that we treat the actual organizations of religion as businesses. Perhaps, we should separate the highest ideals of religion from its organizational necessity, the same way we do health care. If that is the case, then religious organizations could be taxed as businesses selling products—products that promise healing and salvation. This new tax on these religious organizations that deliver the product of salvation, could, perhaps, go to help fund health care or reduce taxes for the middle class. Any thoughts?

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About nodoz99

An individual so traumatized by his parents' late-in-life conversion from "life in the fast lane" to born again Christianity that he has been driven to study religion for the rest of his life. His main interest is in religion "outside the box" ... religiosity as it happens in small groups, subcultures, and organizations. View all posts by nodoz99

2 responses to “Taxing religion to fund health care

  • Vik

    I would only say that there is nothing unreasonable about taxing religious organizations. They use police, fire and other public services as much as “businesses” do, and the government’s failure to tax them merely shifts the burden onto for-profit business and individuals. The fact that churches (and, to be consistent, other “nonprofit” organizations) are not taxed by the federal government or by most states or local governments in the USA merely shows that, the First Amendment notwithstanding, we have a functional “establishment of religion” in this country, as so many countries in Europe have state churches. Except that all organizations that get the proper IRS classification are included in this establishment. This system also allows the government to decide what is and isn’t a bona fide religion; that is, to regulate the churches, by telling them what they can and can’t do (teaching, worship: yes; politics, commerce, etc.: no).

  • Nate Winchester

    However, if those who do wish to reduce health care to a mere product that is bought and sold in an economic market, why don’t they do the same with religion? Institutional religions are, by necessity, run in similar ways to businesses and their product is that of salvation.

    Because business products are built around the idea of a limited resource (where economics arise). You literally cannot provide health to all possible people at all possible times (even if the equipment wasn’t an issue, there would be the simple challenge of having enough qualified doctors et al and time for them to work).

    However, typically in religions, salvation is infinite and unlimited. If all men wanted to be saved right now, it could be done. Your question is like asking “if we sell apples, why don’t we sell sunlight?”

    Recommended further reading:
    http://www.scifiwright.com/2012/07/obamasickness/

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