wearing a T-shirt that says Defund Religion, cancel church tax exemptions

Website author:
Darwin Bedford,
An Ambassador of Reason
Email: darwin@atheists.net

 

 

Are you a Spiritual Realist?

 

Book recommendation:
The Heathen's Guide to World Religions:
A Secular History of the One True Faiths

by William Hopper

 

 

Book recommendation:
Christopher DiCarlo wants advanced critical thinking tools to be taught in schools. He has written "A Critical Thinker's Guide to Asking the Right Questions."

 

 

Book recommendation:
The God Virus:
How Religion Infects
Our Lives and Culture

by Darrel W. Ray, Ed.D.

 

 

Book recommendation:
Imagine No Superstition
by Stephen Frederick Uhl

 

 

Book recommendation:
Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind
by Yuval Noah Harari

 

 

Book recommendation:
Homo Deus, A Brief History of Tomorrow
by Yuval Noah Harari

 

 

Book recommendation:
21 Lessons for the 21st Century
by Yuval Noah Harari

 

 

Book recommendation:
Why There Is No God: Simple Responses to 20 Common Arguments for the Existence of God
by Armin Navabi

 

Book recommendation:
Fighting God, an atheist manifesto for a religious world
by David Silverman

The domain name that was used to reach this page is for sale here.



DefundReligion.org

a request for all levels of government to abstain from supporting religion

 


Here is why we should defund religion …
by Darwin Bedford, Creator of DefundReligion.org
February 1, 2021

Religion is fantasy-fiction brought forth from the roots of history by means of early childhood religious indoctrination. Over centuries, religion has creped into governmental proceedings and the law.

No one religion represents the truth, and society should abandon religion as an aberration of the past. Myths vanish once people stop believing in them and over the past few decades the percentage of non-believers has grown significantly (and now borders on being greater than that of the percentage of believers of all faiths).

Taxpayers should not have to pay for the "advancement of religion" which is nothing more than the continuance of spreading false information as though it is true. The church has had special status within the law regarding taxes since Christianity was declared the official religion of the state of the Roman Empire in 380 AD. Since then, many acts of law have provided churches (defined as "places of worship") exemption from property taxes as well as giving them other monetary advantages. One such act is the "Charitable Uses Act of 1601" in England—which forms the bases of church privileges within the law of many countries of today. The status quo should no longer remain this way.

People have written extensively on the ills of religion to society and to individuals—just check out some of the books displayed in the left column.

It is time to defund religion and spend the money elsewhere. This misguided funding should go towards a myriad of social causes including family planning and climate change control. There are many other social needs that are more beneficial than preserving fantasy-fiction which contradicts public education’s teachings of science and history, and other subjects.

If suddenly, temples, churches, mosques, synagogues, pagodas and the like lost their tax privileges, how much tax revenue would that generate?

The Centre for Inquiry of Canada has estimated the cost of religion in Canada to be $2.6 billion annually.

See "The Cost of Religion in Canada, Canadian Taxpayers Funding the Advancement of Religion".

The United States has similar tax laws as Canada regarding religious charities. Here is an article that says Americans give more than $82.5 billion annually to religions.

See The Washing Post article "You give religions more than $82.5 billion a year".

Religion contributes to racism and intolerance.

According to recent polls "A majority (57 percent) of millennials agree that religious people are generally less tolerant of others, compared to only 37 percent of Baby Boomers."

See "Millennials Are Leaving Religion And Not Coming Back".

Some churches are bad apples and they certainly should be penalized.

See "Canadian Official: COVID-Defying Churches Should Lose Their Tax-Exempt Status".

On top of that, there are the church authorities that take advantage of their position for sexual gratification. It seems churches are ideal venues for sexual abuse.

See "Almost 1,700 priests and clergy accused of sex abuse are unsupervised".

So please write a letter asking a politician of your choice to partake in the defunding of religion and let the Nonbelief Coalition know that you have done so.

 


A replacement for the "advancement of religion"
by Darwin Bedford, Creator of DefundReligion.org
February 8, 2021

The "advancement of religion" as a category of charitable purposes in our tax laws, should be deleted. Religion is no longer considered beneficial to society or to individuals by many philosophers and thinkers of today and it should no longer be encouraged by way of tax exemption law.

Taxpayers are unwittingly contributing to a multitude of religions to compete in the proselytization of religion. Why should non-believers be forced to participate in this counter productive practice? Or, why shouldn’t non-believers be granted the same privilege to proselytize atheism or humanism and the like? The supreme court has added a term to our lexicon, "non-belief", to mean without religion and inherently, opposition to religion.

The supreme court ruled that there should be no favouritism of belief over non-belief, nor vice versa. Yet organizations, foundations, and associations that are intrinsically non-belief must jump through hoops to prove that they are charitable. To show no favouritism regarding tax laws there would have to be a category "advancement of non-belief".

Followers of some of religions believe in incredible scenarios which compete with the most imaginable plots of fiction and science fiction. For example, followers of most Christian denominations believe that their god created an “only son” in human form and sent him down to earth so that people could kill him to be forgiven for their sins so that they may go to an everlasting afterlife where they get to serve him. This is instead of going to an eternity of shoveling coal into a fire with a devil occasionally poking them with his pitchfork. Namely, the sin is not believing that the son loves them—go figure.

There are many outrages scenarios of religious belief. These are presented as "truths" and the world’s government’s tax departments grant exemptions for proselytizing them. I may discuss the conflicting “truths” in a separate article as they are in fact, at least entertaining.

The "advancement of music" is more beneficial to society and individuals than religion, so why shouldn’t it be given charitable status tax advantages. We should not stop there, the advancement of arts and sciences, and the advancement of sports are all far more beneficial to society and individuals than is religion.

Churches should have to qualify as a charity under the same parameters as non-belief organizations, foundations, and associations.

Here are the Canada Revenue Agency’s categories of charitable purposes

  • Relief of poverty
  • Advancement of education
  • Advancement of religion
  • Other purposes beneficial to the community

One of the above is not the same as the other, can you spot it? It’s the "advancement of religion" because it is the only one that does not benefit the community.

The Canada Revenue Agency defines the "advancement of religion" as such …

"There must be an element of theistic worship, which means the worship of a deity or deities in the spiritual sense. To advance religion in the charitable sense means to preach and advance the spiritual teachings of a religious faith, and to maintain the doctrines and spiritual observances on which those teachings are based, such as:

  • establishing and maintaining buildings for religious worship and other religious use
  • organizing and providing religious instruction
  • carrying out pastoral and missionary work"

I propose that the "advancement of religion" be replaced with the "advancement of non-belief" and defined as such …

“There must be an element of non-belief or doubt of gods, which means the denial of a deity or deities in the physical sense. To advance non-belief in the charitable sense means to advocate and advance and apply critical thinking techniques regarding religious teachings, and to maintain the application of the scientific method for religious claims and observances on which religious teachings are based, such as:

  • establishing and maintaining buildings for non-belief discussion and other non-belief use
  • organizing and providing non-belief instruction
  • carrying out promotional and leadership work of the non-belief agendas

The United States and many other countries have similar laws and definitions regarding religion and taxation. Please consider becoming an activist for positive change regarding outdated tax exemptions for religion.

 

OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

December 18, 2020

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

Subject: The state cannot favour religious belief over non-belief

On April 15, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the state must abstain from favouring religious belief over non-belief. Here is how the CBC reported the ruling …

The Supreme Court said Canadian society has evolved and given rise to a "concept of neutrality according to which the state must not interfere in religion and beliefs."

"The state must instead remain neutral in this regard," the judgment said.

"This neutrality requires that the state neither favour nor hinder any particular belief, and the same holds true for non-belief. It requires that the state abstain from taking any position and thus avoid adhering to a particular belief.

"When all is said and done, the state's duty to protect every person's freedom of conscience and religion means that it may not use its powers in such a way as to promote the participation of certain believers or non-believers in public life to the detriment of others."

These are quotes from the ruling. Note that the ruling not only refers to neutrality of religion, but also positions of promotion regarding belief and non-belief. Note also that this ruling applies to all levels of government.

For your reference …

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/1875528/mouvement-laique-quebecois-v-saguenay.pdf

As it stands now with the Canada Revenue Agency’s laws and regulations, property tax exemptions and certain charitable tax exemptions are only awarded where there is "worship of a deity" involved. This is unfair and illegal now since the ruling.

It has been over five and a half years since this ruling and we have not seen anything come down the pike correcting this unfair situation of religious institutions receiving tax exemptions, but not non-belief organizations.

Will you assure me that you will either eliminate tax favouritism towards religious institutions, or exempt non-belief organizations, equally, regarding tax exemptions?

I would prefer eliminating tax favouritism towards religious institutions because that is a simple cancelation or deletion of tax exemptions. Deciding which non-belief organizations would additionally be entitled for the same tax exemptions may be a challenging effort.

To avoid a mess of court challenges, you may be wise to proactively eliminate other occurrences within Canadian governmental practice that favour religious institutions over non-belief organizations.

Yours sincerely,

D. Bedford,
President
Voters Without Religion Association
admin@voterswithoutreligion.org

Lifetime Member of Humanist Canada,
Member of BC Humanist Association,
Member of Centre For Inquiry Canada,
Ambassador of Reason for Canadian atheists


CC:
Humanist Canada
251 Laurier Ave West, Suite 900
Ottawa, ON
Canada K1P 5J6

CC:
British Columbia Humanist Association
422 Richards St, Suite 170
Vancouver, BC V6B 2Z4
info@bchumanist.ca

CC:
Centre For Inquiry Canada
PO Box 24006 Hazeldean RPO,
Ottawa, ON
K2M 2C3 Canada
info@centreforinquiry.ca

CC:
Canadian atheists
National Headquarters
26208 - 8000 No. 3 Road
Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
V6Y 2E0
info@canadianatheists.ca

 

Response

January 6, 2021

Office of the Prime Minister / Cabinet du premier ministre

To David Bedford
Cc Chrystia Freeland

Dear Mr. Bedford:

I would like to acknowledge receipt of your email sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Thank you for sharing your concerns with the Prime Minister. You may be assured that your comments have been carefully reviewed.

I have taken the liberty of forwarding your email to the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, so that she may be made aware of your concerns.

Once again, thank you for writing.

K. Bentsen
Executive Correspondence Officer
for the Prime Minister's Office
Agent de correspondance
de la haute direction
pour le Cabinet du premier ministre

 


 

January 21, 2021

MinFinance / FinanceMin (FIN)

To admin@voterswithoutreligion.org

Dear Mr. Bedford:

Thank you for your correspondence of December 18, 2020, which was referred by the Office of the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, regarding the removal of tax exemptions for religious organizations under the Income Tax Act (ITA) or the granting of similar privileges to "non-belief" organizations.

I would like to emphasize that religious organizations are not automatically tax-exempt. Under the ITA, to be exempt from income tax, such an organization must generally be either a Non Profit Organization (NPO) or a registered charity.

NPOs receive tax-exempt status in recognition of the important role they play in Canadian society, often filling a gap between the private and the public sector. To qualify, a non-profit organization must be organized, and operated exclusively, for social welfare, civic improvement, pleasure or any other purpose other than profit. Generally speaking, the activities of NPOs are expected to be directed toward shared community goals rather than individual gain. In this spirit, the ITA prohibits any part of the income of NPOs from being payable or otherwise available for the personal benefit of their proprietors, members, or shareholders. A wide variety of organizations are established as NPOs, including certain religious, quasi-religious and non religious societies, fraternal organizations, social clubs, professional societies and business associations.

Registered charities are also exempt from income tax. However, in recognition of the valuable services they provide to Canadians and to encourage public support for their activities, charities are also provided the benefit of being able to issue official donation receipts for any gifts they receive. Registered charities must also devote all of their resources to their charitable activities and are subject to certain restrictions, such as on the types of business activities they may carry out.

The ITA does not define the concept of charity; rather, it has been developed by court decisions and includes organizations that are established for the advancement of education or religion, the relief of poverty or certain other purposes that benefit the community in a way the courts have said is charitable. Although non-belief organizations do not qualify under the advancement of religion, they may qualify under one of the other categories (and I understand that several humanist associations are already registered as charities).

I would note that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is responsible for the administration of the ITA, including the registration of charities. In this regard, if you have concerns about the manner in which the CRA is interpreting or applying the law, you may wish to contact the CRA directly by writing to the Charities Directorate, Canada Revenue Agency, Ottawa ON K1A 0L5.

Finally, in your correspondence, you refer to property tax exemptions provided to religious organizations. However, property tax assessments and exemptions are generally provided at the municipal level, and are not the responsibility of the federal government.

Thank you for writing.

Sincerely,

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

 

FOLLOW-UP LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

February 15, 2021

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

Subject: The "advancement of non-belief" as a category of charitable purposes

This letter is a follow-up to an earlier letter with the subject title "The state cannot favour religious belief over non-belief" dated December 18, 2020 of which The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P. and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, responded to on your behalf. In her response she revealed the immense inequality of favouritism towards belief over non-belief regarding tax exemptions.

As mentioned in our previous letter, the Supreme Court ruled that there should be no favouritism of belief over non-belief, nor vice versa. Yet organizations, foundations, and associations that are intrinsically non-belief must jump through hoops to prove that they are charitable. To show no favouritism regarding tax laws there would have to be a category "advancement of non-belief".

Churches should be required to qualify as a charity under the same parameters as non-belief organizations, foundations, and associations.

Here are the Canada Revenue Agency’s categories of charitable purposes

  • Relief of poverty
  • Advancement of education
  • Advancement of religion
  • Other purposes beneficial to the community

They can be found at the link below …

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/charities-giving/charities/registering-charitable-qualified-donee-status/applying-charitable-registration/charitable-purposes.html

Note that there is not a category "advancement of non-belief", nor does the “advancement of religion” category read or imply "advancement of religion or non-belief".

The Canada Revenue Agency defines the "advancement of religion" as such …

"There must be an element of theistic worship, which means the worship of a deity or deities in the spiritual sense. To advance religion in the charitable sense means to preach and advance the spiritual teachings of a religious faith, and to maintain the doctrines and spiritual observances on which those teachings are based, such as:

  • establishing and maintaining buildings for religious worship and other religious use
  • organizing and providing religious instruction
  • carrying out pastoral and missionary work"

The definition can be found at the link below …

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/charities-giving/charities/registering-charitable-qualified-donee-status/applying-charitable-registration/charitable-purposes/advancement-religion.html

Whereas most of today’s philosophers, intellectuals and scholars do not regard religion as beneficial to society (as it is in fact harmful to individuals and society), we propose that the "advancement of religion" be replaced with the "advancement of non-belief" and defined as such …

"There must be an element of non-belief or doubt of gods, which means the denial of a deity or deities in the physical sense. To advance non-belief in the charitable sense means to advocate and advance and apply critical thinking techniques regarding religious teachings, and to maintain the application of the scientific method for religious claims and observances on which religious teachings are based, such as:

  • establishing and maintaining buildings for non-belief discussion and other non-belief use
  • organizing and providing non-belief instruction
  • carrying out promotional and leadership work of non-belief agendas"

However, this replacement, would go against the Supreme Court ruling as well. So, either the "advancement of religion" category should be deleted, or a category "advancement of non-belief", be added. It is your choice, but the law must be upheld.

If you would like further deliberation on the ill effects of religion, we can provide that in a separate communication. For now, we will just note that most religious teachings contribute to racial discrimination, condemn homosexuality, and assume gender inequality as natural. It is for these reasons that a growing number of voters have no affiliation to religion.

Will you assure us that you will either delete the category "advancement of religion" or add a category “advancement of non-belief” instead of your government remaining in violation of the said Supreme Court ruling?

Yours sincerely,

D. Bedford,
President
Voters Without Religion Association
admin@voterswithoutreligion.org


evolving man with last man trashing religious symbols

This website is administered by Darwin Bedford, An Ambassador of Reason.

Last Updated: February 20, 2021