A Taxing Discussion
YCT threatens to disrupt health care forum
By Richard Whittaker, 5:10PM, Fri. Aug. 28, 2009
Are conservatives really prepared to picket a church to block health care reform?
The question has been raised because of the venue for Saturday's Real Voices for Change public forum.
That's scheduled for Saturday afternoon at the First United Methodist Church. It's partially a final face-to-face with Congressman Lloyd Doggett before he heads back to Congress for the health care debate begins again, but organizers worry that anti-health care activists plan to cause trouble. David Kobierowski, who will be MCing the event, said, "All the blogs say they are going to disrupt it."
The Young Conservatives of Texas have put out a press release complaining about the event. It's not, as one has grown weary of expecting, just a knee-jerk "Down with the Gov'ment" protest, or just some anti-liberal rhetoric. Apparently, according to YCT's press release, "The venue as well as Moveon.org's involvement has the Young Conservatives of Texas at UT-Austin fired up and wondering if the liberal double standard will be brought to light."
What double standard, you might ask?
Apparently, the YCT can't tell the difference between holding a meeting in a church building (perfectly fine), and a church institution getting involved in politics (which is also legal, but means they lose their tax exempt status). Churches operate as 501c.(3) charities, but the trade-off (like it is for any other charity) is that they can't get into the political endorsement game.
Groups like Biblical literalists the Houston Area Pastor Council regularly send out screeds demanding the right to send out whatever political message they want and still get a tax break. Subtle, they ain't, with their mission statement claiming that they hold "elected officials of both major parties and non-partisan offices to a Biblical standard." They just want to do it without losing their tax exempt status. That idea is a pretty serious no-sale amongst anyone that has the slightest interest in not letting America plummet down into the intolerable depths of theocracy.
Kobierowski said that they are expecting protesters (and also enough attendees that they might have to use the nearby AFL-CIO offices as overflow). "We just hope they can be civil," he said. The only aspect that even crosses close to religion, he said, is that "there's a moral element of taking care of our brothers and sisters."
Of course, the easy solution would be to do what Republican leaders are doing, and have public forums that the public isn't invited to attend.