The US Needs to Tax Religions
On the third day, the Lord rose and said, “Let there be bake sales.”
The Lord stuck His hand into the wound in His side, which he now used as a pocket, and pulled out a list of instructions for future disciples.
“Also, let there be casino nights, silent auctions, and the game called Bingo. Let the proceeds of these and similar events be used to spread the Word and build My church on the Earth. Let the funds grow tax-free, for that is the Will of God.
“Let those funds pay for social activities and outreach events in my name, with free popped corn and proselytization. Let the pilgrims come, and let them bring friends. For if they bring two friends who join us, and those friends bring two friends, and each donates 10% to the church… well, you do the math, for I am but a simple carpenter.
“Whenever people gather in my name, let them purchase raffle tickets. Let 50% of the proceeds be redistributed among the participants; in this way, they will be pacified. Let there be contribution envelopes and suggested donations, and let there be disdain upon those who do not contribute from those who do.
“For those who seek something different, let there be Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and for those who seek something even more different, let there be Judaism, the throwback, and Islam, the “extra.” For those who would claim I visited North America, let there be Mormonism, and for those who are really out there, let there be Scientology. Within Scientology, let there be auditing, but not by the IRS.
“Let them all amass great wealth without rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s—I know what I said before, but never mind that now. And while the moneylenders can’t be IN the temple, surely a cooperative arrangement can be found.
“Let there be vast and endless accounts and holding companies, to perpetuate sacred underwear and the post-mortem claiming of souls, for heaven, hell, limbo, or whatever else you people make up in My name. Also, accumulate funds for the defense and/or walking back of various religious teachings, should they become unpopular or societally unacceptable.
“Go and spread My word, and take a healthy percentage for yourself. Maintain appearances by giving to the poor—a small, safe margin that won’t erode the base investment, maybe 2% or 3% per year. Make efforts to affect political outcomes, but not so much that you are forced to surrender your privileged tax status. Above all, let the accounting of funds be secret, and meet demands for transparency with accusations of violating the First Amendment.
“Let the legal entities you form in My name live in prosperity forever. Amen.”
*For each moot, we generate a cover image using DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'The US Needs to Tax Religions' in the style of Bill Sienkiewicz, Peter Dabbene's artist of choice.*