To the editor: In regards to the letter published in today’s News-Miner (June 5) titled, “Clergy, speak up,” the gentleman’s post captures the paradox of organized religion in America. The writer reasonably wants to have all First Amendment free speech rights guaranteed to speakers and leaders of private faith or religious groups. The same right to expound and exegete whatever belief, nonsense or fact that every other person, business or entity has in America. Unlike all our other proud independent and loud voices in the American tapestry, churches, including sects, faith groups, cults, creeds, religions large and small, do not want to share the cost of free speech. They claim nonprofit status because of their churches’ “good” works and belief in the whichever version of the celestial answer makes them holier than all other Americans, who pay for their rights by assuming responsibilities.
Religions and churches, all of which are for-profit organizations with payrolls, tithes, employees, budgets, private jets and the usual sartorial elegance of the anointed men of god (no women, of course, can provide the valuable benefits of their discriminating discernment, theological training and considered convictions in these trying times for Alaska), want their cake and eat it too. And as soon as the self-anointed folks and their religious businesses pay their property and income taxes just like the rest of us, I for one have no problem with those true believers running the oldest shell game of all time on the rest of us, saying whatever they bloody well please anytime they want to anyone willing to listen.
Clergy, pay up. Then you will have earned the right to speak up.