Wednesday, May 19, 2004

More Bigotry from our Elected Leaders

If you live in Texas, you don't expect much from your elected leaders. It didn't used to be that way, but from Shrub Bush to Governor Goodhair, we have a crop of the most useless SOB's that ever graced a state capitol. Why in fact, Governor Goodhair himself took off where Dubya left off and started executing retards and schizophenics last night, despite the fact that his parole board voted 5-1 to reduce a mentally ill convict's penalty from Death to Life Without Parole.

However, the following story takes the cake for a combination of chutzpah and bigotry. Our lovely and openminded Comptroller has decided that she knows what is a religion and what is not, and she has definitely decided that whatever Unitarians do, it is not practicing religion.

AUSTIN, Texas - (KRT) - Unitarian Universalists have for decades presided over births, marriages and memorials. The church operates in every state, with more than 5,000 members in Texas alone.

But according to the office of Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, a Texas Unitarian church isn't really a religious organization - at least for tax purposes. Its reasoning: The organization "does not have one system of belief."

Never before - not in this state nor any other - has a government agency denied Unitarians tax-exempt status because of the group's religious philosophy, church officials say. Strayhorn's ruling clearly infringes upon religious liberties, said Dan Althoff, board president for the Denison, Texas, congregation that was rejected for tax exemption by the comptroller's office.

"I was surprised - surprised and shocked - because the Unitarian church in the United States has a very long history," said Althoff, who notes that father-and-son presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams were both Unitarians.