‘Atheists Attack in Texas!’

The header above is the subject line in the latest fundraising e-mail from the Free Market Foundation, the Texas affiliate of the Christian-right pressure group Focus on the Family. We suppose “Martians Invade!” sounded too silly to them.

It’s sad that in a country founded on the principle of religious freedom, pressure groups still foster such hatred for people who choose not to practice any religion. In any case, Free Market’s e-mail lists a variety of dangers posed by the atheist horde supposedly descending upon the Lone Star State. Much of the list is standard stuff, such as taking God out of the Pledge of Allegiance, blocking prayer in schools and abortion.

But taxes?

Another big issue is taxes. We’re all tired of our property taxes being raised each year without being allowed to vote on this issue. We are working hard to support legislation to cap raising appraisal taxes more than 5% unless approved by local citizens. These tax increases must stop!

Goodness. What in the world are those evil atheists up to? Not only do they want to destroy all that is holy, but now they want to tax everybody to death.

In all seriousness, this is simply another example of the religious right using faith as a political weapon. TFN has no official position on property taxes. That issue is simply beyond the scope of our mission. But we’ve seen Free Market’s tactic replicated by countless religious-right groups: use fear and hatred to raise money or stir up religious activists in support of or opposition to some partisan agenda, even if it has nothing to do with faith. And never mind who you have to smear to do it.

7 thoughts on “‘Atheists Attack in Texas!’

  1. Correct. I consider it a patriotic privilige to pay my taxes. For one thing, it gives me an undeniable stake in government and how it operates. As for the methods of the Religion Right—a little poem worthy of e.e. cummings:

    Their father in hell
    Has taught them well

  2. Well, actually, I think the fundies are doing some classic memory merging on the issue of taxes. I have been trying to figure out how this works. It appears that they were actually listening one autumn in high school history class and recall the famous colonial complaint to the British parliament on “taxation without representation.” They appear to have merged this memory with some vague past church Sunday memory about New Testament tax collectors being sinful. Therefore, in their minds, taxes are sinful. The true situation is very different:

    1) In the United States of America, taxation without representation does not exist because people are “represented” at the county/parish, city, state, and federal level. They might not always like the results of that representation, but they are represented in one way or another.

    2) To the best of my knowledge, the Bible does not forbid taxation. However, it does look dimly on crooked tax collection. If the fundies had been listening good in church that day long ago, they would recall that the tax collectors in New Testament times were crooked. They would go around to people’s doors to collect the legitimate taxes and then add another amount to the total that was their own “personal cut.”

    3) In ancient Israel, the church and government were essentially the same. According to Gary Friesen, a conservative Christian professor once at Multnomah College in Oregon,the tithe and additional temple taxes were in force and that the two together raised the tax rate on the Jewish people to around 30 percent—not much out of line with the current IRS rates.

    4) So, when you get right down to it, the fundies do not have a Biblical leg to stand on in their complaints about taxes. They just love the money and want to keep it all for themselves—no matter who gets hurt in the process. The Bible does have something to say about that, and I doubt that the fundies would like what it says.

    The best I have been able to understand, fundies do not believe in taxes because it is somehow unBiblical.

  3. One other thing:

    I once had a fundie, ultra-conservative, Republican neighnor who lived right across the street from me. He was in his 70s and was a member of the local election commission. He and I would sometimes sit in his front yard and discuss assorted things. As it turned out, he was ABSOLUTELY BITTER that he had to pay taxes to send kids to the local public schools. He thought it was just so unfair for local government to use his tax dollars for that purpose. Never mind that 40 years before other local citizens had paid those same taxes to send his daughter to the same public schools.

    It occurred to me that you might like a true, real-world example of how these people think.

  4. Charles – I don’t blame your neighbor for being bitter – what are teachers teaching our young children nowadays? Nothing! They’re persuading our sons and daughters into their ideals and beliefs – what a tradgedy and what a ripoff of taxpayers money!

    Fort Worth

  5. Hey, Ben — why didn’t you point out Charles’ spelling of “privilige” and “neighnor” or his lack of spacing after a comma? Come on . . . . next you’ll be calling names . . . sticks and stones.