Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Religion in Recession

Money is tight for most people these days. We’re taking seconds jobs or struggling to even find one. One in ten people looking for work can’t find any, and another fifteen percent are underemployed. People have less cash to waste.

As a result, donations are down at most churches, and many are closing their doors. Enrollment is down at pricey religious schools as the middle class is bled dry by a well oiled, unregulated economy. It’s not just Americans who are feeling the crunch, the divine also seems to be in dire straits.

After 9/11, some people flocked to churches. I don’t understand why. We had just been attacked by a bunch of religious nuts, and for some reason that drove millions to attend church. I guess people were looking for that sense of “community” that can only come from a group of people who gather together to hate like-minded things.

But the honeymoon with religion is over, and the fact is that the Gods did nothing to save us from… well, quietly frankly, ourselves. As in all times when the gap between the rich and the poor increases, charity dries up in the heat of greed. The Gods have to go hungry, too.

The only problem is this: religion is like a societal cockroach. It has developed ways to survive. They are not taxed, so many churches and buildings owned by religious organizations are simply shuttered with the lights turned off, because the buildings can sit there unused and untaxed indefinitely. Of course, no one can buy and use that land to actually benefit the community, but at least religion has all its infrastructure when things pick up.

Just a thought: if we taxed the income and land of religious organizations, I believe we could not only pay for healthcare, but we could begin the steady march towards eliminating some of the pointless institutions of society. Let religions sink or swim on their own; no more handouts for the Gods.

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