Tax credits for religious schools?

| 45 Comments

According to an article by Adam Liptak in yesterday’s New York Times, the Supreme Court has just heard arguments relating to an Arizona law that gives a tax credit for contributions to private “tuition organizations.” Mr. Liptak puts it succinctly:

The program at issue on Wednesday gives Arizona taxpayers a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit of up to $500 for donations to private “student tuition organizations.” The contributors may not designate their dependents as beneficiaries. The organizations are permitted to limit the scholarships they offer to schools of a given religion, and many do [over 90 %, according to a press release from Americans United].

The program was challenged by Arizona taxpayers who said it effectively used state money to finance religious education and so violated the First Amendment’s prohibition on the official establishment of religion.

Mr. Liptak does not mention that, according to Americans United, parents are donating to each other’s children, and much of the tax expenditure goes to prosperous families even though the program was supposedly designed for poor or minority students.

At any rate, these “tuition organizations” remind me of nothing more than the segregation academies that sprang up the southern states of the US in response to school desegregation. These academies were private schools operated with public funds (where have we heard that before?). According to the redoubtable Wikipedia, parents sued the IRS for granting tax exemptions, but the Supreme Court in 1984 ruled that they did not have standing to sue.

Mr. Liptak notes that in general taxpayers do not have standing to sue just because they object to the way tax money is being spent. He adds, however, that the Court also granted a religious exemption to this general rule. Hence, the major issue before the Court is whether the Arizona taxpayers have standing to sue.

Arizona, supported by the Obama administration, argues that the religious exemption does not apply because the law grants a tax credit, rather than a direct expenditure by the government. Talk about a distinction without a difference, but the case may hinge on just that distinction.

I know the old saw about prediction being difficult, but in this case it may be easy: If the case is thrown out, then we may expect to see more bills granting tax breaks to tuition organizations in more states in the future.

45 Comments

Mr. Liptak does not mention that, according to Americans United, parents are donating to each other’s children, and much of the tax expenditure goes to prosperous families even though the program was supposedly designed for poor or minority students.

The max state income for Arizona is 4.54%. So, I write the Matt Foundation a $11,000 check, you write the Eric Foundation a $11,000 check, and we both get $500 back in tax deductions?

Seems to me the poor could get in on this too. They just have to make sure they cash their checks on the same day :)

But how do the Matt Foundation and Eric Foundation qualify as tax-deductible charities? I guess I’m missing something.

… we both get $500 back in tax deductions?

Worse. It is a tax credit, not a deduction. If your taxes exceed $500, then the state has just paid $500 toward your child’s tuition, unless you think that a tax expenditure is somehow not an expenditure.

But how do the Matt Foundation and Eric Foundation qualify as tax-deductible charities?

Fill out some paperwork and send it to the government.

Well, what the backers don’t fully understand is that, non Christians can take advantage of these kinds of end-runs made around the law. People fighting it in the courts should set aside a small portion to create The Arizona Atheist Students Tuition Fund, The Aqua Buddha Foundation, United Arizona Taliban-e-Islami, Shiva Idol Worshipers Academic Endowment, The Wiccan Students Association etc and sign them up for tax credit and give prominent news coverage to the fact these organizations are also going to be standing in line get the benefit of these rules. Let us see what happens.

Ravilyn Sanders said:

Well, what the backers don’t fully understand is that, non Christians can take advantage of these kinds of end-runs made around the law.

My guess is that while it might have started out as an attempt to give a bonus to Christian home schooling, good old capitalism has taken over and no one would be particularly upset if all of those new charities you suggested cropped up. That’s the point of talking about the Matt and Eric foundations; its basically devolved into just another tax dodge, and (most people are probably thinking) as long as *I* get my turn at the trough, I don’t care if you get a turn too.

is there anything that we are not being taxed on these days.…

is there anything that we are not being taxed on these days.…

Yes. Stupidity.

JimNorth said:

is there anything that we are not being taxed on these days.…

Yes. Stupidity.

I’ll argue with that. My State has several lotteries, raking in net proceeds of hundreds of millions per year. :)

Clearly, not on spamming the internet, or the Fed would have bought the planet by now.

This amounts to a “direct expenditure by the government” only if the government actually owns all the money. This is really a case of the government letting you keep some of your money to do with as you please.

If I received a tax credit in the full amount of taxes I owe, the government hasn’t “given” me anything. I’m only keeping that which was mine to start with.

Kevin, doesn’t your argument undermine the government’s defense? The defense is claiming that taxpayers do not have standing to sue just because they don’t like how tax dollars are being spent. But you’re claiming the government isn’t spending tax dollars, they’re just not collecting them in the first place.

Seems to me, the government can’t have it both ways. If they want to argue against standing they have to claim that $500 becomes their property before it is given back.

Agreed, but of course the primary beneficiaries are so mentally dense that they probably couldn’t conceive of such possibilities:

Ravilyn Sanders said:

Well, what the backers don’t fully understand is that, non Christians can take advantage of these kinds of end-runs made around the law. People fighting it in the courts should set aside a small portion to create The Arizona Atheist Students Tuition Fund, The Aqua Buddha Foundation, United Arizona Taliban-e-Islami, Shiva Idol Worshipers Academic Endowment, The Wiccan Students Association etc and sign them up for tax credit and give prominent news coverage to the fact these organizations are also going to be standing in line get the benefit of these rules. Let us see what happens.

I am not an AZ. resident but this smells like an end run around a failed voucher program/proposal.

$500 tax credit = state giving you $500 $500 tax credit tied to donations to private “student tuition organizations” - $500 ‘voucher’ for tuition

if the intent or effect is to subsidize religious education w/ public funds then this is a establishment/constitutional conflict

Today’s Denver Post has an article about efforts by the Douglas County School Board to investigate legal issues and institute a voucher program to give students state money to attend private or religious schools:

“Voters in Douglas County, in the conservative suburbs south of Denver, last year elected an all-Republican school board that entered with a mission to expand choice in the state’s third-largest school district, one of Colorado’s wealthiest and highest performing.”

“Only the voucher subcommittee has received district money to research and explore legal issues.”

“All six Douglas County private schools that serve students after first grade are Christian-based, according to the Colorado Department of Education. According to the department, about 2,500 students attend those six schools.”

““We come from a fabulous school district, and they are high-performing schools,” said Barnard, who is a parent to a high-school student and a recent graduate. “Ninety-eight percent of our parents are very happy with Douglas County schools. I truly believe the Option Certificate Program has the possibility to destroy the district.””

Read more: Douglas County School District considers starting voucher program - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_1[…]xzz14QTrEwmw

eric,

Yes, I am arguing against the argument concerning standing. I think that every citizen has standing to sue the government when there appears to be a constitutional violation. I just don’t see a violation in this case.

So long as the tax credit is open to anybody for donations to any school, I don’t see a problem.

We need to stop looking at tax credits as “money from the government.” It is actually money that the government didn’t take from us.

Hmmm… Suburban Denver schools spend about $5,500 per student per year. I assume this $500 credit is just a round about way of diverting property taxes paid to schools towards private tuition of a student that will then leave the school. I’m sure the marginal cost per student is difficult to calculate, but still. The schools might be crying crocodile tears over this.

Of course, that doesn’t really matter if it’s an Establishment Clause violation.

I predict the Supreme Court will uphold the program as constitutional, and it strikes me as just as constitutional as providing tax deductions for donations to tax-exempt nonprofits that may be religious. (Yeah, there is the difference that deductions reduce taxable income and credits reduce tax, but it’s not clear to me why that difference makes a difference to First Amendment implications.) That religious schools have been the primary beneficiaries of scholarship funds is de facto, not de jure.

The Arizona STO program provides for a tax credit for donations to tax-exempt nonprofit school tuition organizations that provide tuition scholarships to private schools, whether or not the schools are religious.

I agree that the designation ability has been abused to trade tuition payments; that’s best fixed by removing the ability to designate recipients. (I have used it to designate a donation for tuition of an atheist child at a secular private school.) I think it would also be reasonable to require STOs to use means testing for tuition assistance qualification (which some already do). There probably are some specific STOs which are abusing these features more than others.

vouchers are inherently unfair:

the argument that (I hear) proponents use is “I am paying taxes for a school that I am not using/don’t like - I should get my money back so I can use it towards tuition where I want to send my kids”

here’s why it’s not fair:

1) school taxes don’t work that way - you don’t pay “per student/per school” you pay based upon the value of your house- under the proponents argument residents with more children should pay more taxes,(towards schools) and residents w/ no children would pay none.

2) religious schools are allowed to discriminate based on religion! public schools are open to all

3) religious schools are not required (at least not in my state) to offer the same range of services that public schools do i.e. special eduction for children with physical/mental/learning disabilities etc. Granting vouchers concentrates the burden for these services (on the residents that didn’t get a voucher)

I think it is ‘interesting’ that I hear voucher proposals from conservatives with money (that can afford private schooling in the 1st place)- not from residents in areas with schools of lower quality (who want schools improved)

Kevin said:

eric,

Yes, I am arguing against the argument concerning standing. I think that every citizen has standing to sue the government when there appears to be a constitutional violation. I just don’t see a violation in this case.

So long as the tax credit is open to anybody for donations to any school, I don’t see a problem.

We need to stop looking at tax credits as “money from the government.” It is actually money that the government didn’t take from us.

but what is the intent and the effect of the program?

a tax credit, by definition, is a diversion of public funds. I presume that the state needs to make that money up somehow? In this case $500 that would have gone into the State of AZ’s general fund (which among other things goes towards public schools) is instead going to defray the cost of tuition at a private/ religious school- and the person making the $500 donation gets to specify who (which student) gets the money. Without proper regulation this program can (has?) become a write your own ‘voucher’ program (with all of the unfairness inherent in voucher programs) and the program has the EFFECT of diverting public funds to religious schools - therefore a violation of the constitution. (IMHO the framers of the program INTENDED it that way but tried to be weaselly about it)

Jim Lippard said:

I predict the Supreme Court will uphold the program as constitutional, and it strikes me as just as constitutional as providing tax deductions for donations to tax-exempt nonprofits that may be religious. (Yeah, there is the difference that deductions reduce taxable income and credits reduce tax, but it’s not clear to me why that difference makes a difference to First Amendment implications.) That religious schools have been the primary beneficiaries of scholarship funds is de facto, not de jure.

The Arizona STO program provides for a tax credit for donations to tax-exempt nonprofit school tuition organizations that provide tuition scholarships to private schools, whether or not the schools are religious.

I agree that the designation ability has been abused to trade tuition payments; that’s best fixed by removing the ability to designate recipients. (I have used it to designate a donation for tuition of an atheist child at a secular private school.) I think it would also be reasonable to require STOs to use means testing for tuition assistance qualification (which some already do). There probably are some specific STOs which are abusing these features more than others.

they very well may rule that as the program exists NOW, it is unconstitutional - and that the remedy is to implement the reforms you mention above (IANAL - can the court suggest a remedy or just rule thumbs up/ thums down?)

Kevin said: So long as the tax credit is open to anybody for donations to any school, I don’t see a problem.

We need to stop looking at tax credits as “money from the government.” It is actually money that the government didn’t take from us.

But it does. The law expressly prevents you from getting your own money back. The way the program appears to work is this:

1. Like the presidential election campaign fund, you can decide whether $500 of your tax dollars goes to this or the state’s general fund. You MUST give the $500 to either the State or this program. In no case do you get it back.

2. If you give it to the program, you select from a number of non-profits. You can’t name your own dependents as a beneficiary. So if there is an “Eric’s kids” fund, that’s the one fund I can’t give it to. If there’s a “Matt’s kids” fund, Matt and I can do a switcheroo, but the government is most certainly taking money from me and giving it to some middleman that may end up giving it back to me if I send my kid to a private school that middleman supports.

3. Those non-profits can distribute the money to deserving kids and/or schools (I’m not sure which). And they can do that based on religion. So you can set up a “chrisitans only” non-profit if you want. This doesn’t mean ALL of the non-profits discriminate, but it does mean that these governmentally approved distributers are allowed to discriminate based on religion.

4. Incidentally, there’s only like 20 non-profits in the program. So its not like there are hundreds of choices supporting every private school under the sun. Your choices are very strictly limited, and 70% of the distributions currently go to Christian schools.

So, does that still sound like money the government didn’t take from me?

Reading Jim’s great post I have to revise my bullet #3. It appears you can put strict, religiously-based requirements on who the non-profit gives the money to. It just can’t be “my kid.” This revision, however, still supports my main point, which is that the system is NOT one in which the taxpayer is simply ‘not getting taxed $500.’ They money is going out of my pocket and its not coming back except (I can hope) via some middleman scholarship.

This amounts to a “direct expenditure by the government” only if the government actually owns all the money. … If I received a tax credit in the full amount of taxes I owe, the government hasn’t “given” me anything.

I, at least, never claimed that these tax credits were a direct expenditure; a tax credit is an indirect expenditure, not a direct expenditure. Such indirect expenditures are sometimes called tax expenditures, which is the term I used.

Mr. Kevin thinks there is a meaningful difference between a direct expenditure and a tax expenditure. In fact, there is none: there is no meaningful difference between my writing you a check for money I owe you and my failing to collect a debt in lieu of writing that check. Similarly, if you owe money to the state, and the state fails to collect that money, the state has effectively written you a check. To suggest otherwise is frankly tendentious and possibly self-serving.

Matt Young -

Yes, in fact, Kevin’s comments essentially deny basic concepts in economics and accounting, such as accounts receivable, opportunity cost, etc.

I didn’t bother to point it out, as this is not the venue for the libertarian rant that would be the inevitable result, but now that you’ve opened the floodgates I may as well agree with you.

Kevin -

This amounts to a “direct expenditure by the government” only if the government actually owns all the money.

By law the government “owns” the income tax due on the money you earn as soon as you earn it. In fact there are substantial penalties against failing to withold taxes as you go along.

This is really a case of the government letting you keep some of your money to do with as you please.

No, it is a case of a tax credit. A tax credit is effectively a payment from the government. In fact, it sometimes happens that people qualify for a tax credit that is greater than the amount of tax they owe, and those people do receive a direct payment from the government.

If I received a tax credit in the full amount of taxes I owe, the government hasn’t “given” me anything. I’m only keeping that which was mine to start with.

Incorrect. Under US law, the taxes you owe are effectively the government’s money. It is illegal not to pay them. This is true of all federal, state, local, and value added taxes.

If you owe me money, and I grant you a credit of the full amount of the debt, without receiving a payment, I am giving you something.

Yes, I am arguing against the argument concerning standing. I think that every citizen has standing to sue the government when there appears to be a constitutional violation. I just don’t see a violation in this case.

To me, it seems like a very clear violation - people who subsidize tuitions at particular religious schools are getting tax credits. I can’t see how that can be spun as not being a violation of the First Amendment. Those who choose not to subsidize tuitions at those particular religious schools will pay higher taxes, all else being equal.

However, it will be the decisions of the courts, and of the voters in the next school board elections, that will count.

So long as the tax credit is open to anybody for donations to any school, I don’t see a problem.

When tax money goes to religious schools, it is almost impossible to assure that one sect or another is not being excessively favored by the government. It makes far more sense not to give tax money to the religious schools.

I assume libertarians agree with me on this issue - full freedom of religion for all Americans, with no government favoritism for any one religion. Right?

We need to stop looking at tax credits as “money from the government.” It is actually money that the government didn’t take from us.

This may be valid as the expression of the hypothetical goals of a an ideology, but it should not be mistaken for a factual statement about reality.

A tax credit is money from the governnment in any reasonable sense.

harold,

Thanks for your most enlightening post with regards to Kevin’s absurd understanding of taxation here in the United States. But I suppose his reasoning is as sound as those in Oklahoma who voted to ban the imposition of Sharia law (Only problem with that proposition is that, as it is worded, any foreign law, whether it is English common law or those based directly on the Old and New Testaments, could be excluded too. While I am sentimentally in agreement with those in OK, that proposition wasn’t the right way to address their concern.).

John Kwok -

I’m glad to hear you agree.

Although not on topic, the OK law is mildly interesting.

Needless to say, I would be completely against imposition of Sharia law as public law in the US (Muslims can, of course, voluntarily observe Islam as they interpret it, as long as they otherwise obey the law, freely, in the US).

However, since Sharia law would be blatantly unconstitutional and since it is absurd to pretend that it is likely to be imposed in the US, ever, the OK law is merely an unpleasant symbolic act, designed to express bigotry and imply a deeper desire to take away the rights of Muslim Americans, if that were possible (but fortunately it is not, at present, so symbols are resorted to).

Please note that when I say “anti-Muslim bigotry” I am not talking about the view that people, Muslim and otherwise, should be open-minded and skeptical about religion. I hold that view myself. My personal reflection has led me to be completely non-religious. But that is not what I am talking about. By anti-Muslim bigotry I refer to specific singling out of Muslim people for unjustified discrimination or hostility, and disrespect for the rights of Muslims.

I’ll bother to remember, although it is not entirely relevant, that the 9/11 hijackers were overwhelmingly of Saudi Arabian descent (no Iraqis or Iranians were involved), were not citizens, immigrants, nor “illegal immigrants” but were here on student visas, did not dress in religious garb at any time during their stay but in western clothing, and did not observe Islamic prohibitions but gambled, drank, and made use of prostitutes.

I’ll also note that ordinary Muslims are not required by US law to “condemn” the attacks, but that many do but simply don’t have media access. Similarly, for example, I massively condemn the actions of white English-speaking men of Christian background who molest children, but nobody quotes me in the media, and nobody is saying that they can take my rights away because some other white English-speaking man of Christian background molested children and I “didn’t condemn it strongly enough”. So that attempted justification for anti-Muslim bigotry is also BS.

It’s a free country, and different people are going to choose to dress, eat, worship, etc, in different ways. Respecting the rights of your fellow human beings is a necessary element of having your own rights respected.

Arizona, supported by the Obama administration, argues that the religious exemption does not apply because the law grants a tax credit, rather than a direct expenditure by the government. Talk about a distinction without a difference, but the case may hinge on just that distinction.

What a wonderful way to assure state funding for things for things which would be politically difficult to get state funding for. Tax credits for abortions, anyone?

We need to stop looking at tax credits as “money from the government.” It is actually money that the government didn’t take from us.

The government has to meet its expenses, for things like roads, etc. that anyone but the most extreme Libertarian would acknowledge. If they allow someone a tax credit, they have to raise their tax rates to assure they meet their funding needs, which means raising taxes on everyone else.

Yeah, what Harold said.

I agree with virtually all you said here, except to note that many Muslims and Muslim-Americans don’t speak out here in the United States out of fear of intimidation by radical Islamists (or their sympathizers) here in the United States:

harold said:

John Kwok -

I’m glad to hear you agree.

Although not on topic, the OK law is mildly interesting.

Needless to say, I would be completely against imposition of Sharia law as public law in the US (Muslims can, of course, voluntarily observe Islam as they interpret it, as long as they otherwise obey the law, freely, in the US).

However, since Sharia law would be blatantly unconstitutional and since it is absurd to pretend that it is likely to be imposed in the US, ever, the OK law is merely an unpleasant symbolic act, designed to express bigotry and imply a deeper desire to take away the rights of Muslim Americans, if that were possible (but fortunately it is not, at present, so symbols are resorted to).

Please note that when I say “anti-Muslim bigotry” I am not talking about the view that people, Muslim and otherwise, should be open-minded and skeptical about religion. I hold that view myself. My personal reflection has led me to be completely non-religious. But that is not what I am talking about. By anti-Muslim bigotry I refer to specific singling out of Muslim people for unjustified discrimination or hostility, and disrespect for the rights of Muslims.

I’ll bother to remember, although it is not entirely relevant, that the 9/11 hijackers were overwhelmingly of Saudi Arabian descent (no Iraqis or Iranians were involved), were not citizens, immigrants, nor “illegal immigrants” but were here on student visas, did not dress in religious garb at any time during their stay but in western clothing, and did not observe Islamic prohibitions but gambled, drank, and made use of prostitutes.

I’ll also note that ordinary Muslims are not required by US law to “condemn” the attacks, but that many do but simply don’t have media access. Similarly, for example, I massively condemn the actions of white English-speaking men of Christian background who molest children, but nobody quotes me in the media, and nobody is saying that they can take my rights away because some other white English-speaking man of Christian background molested children and I “didn’t condemn it strongly enough”. So that attempted justification for anti-Muslim bigotry is also BS.

It’s a free country, and different people are going to choose to dress, eat, worship, etc, in different ways. Respecting the rights of your fellow human beings is a necessary element of having your own rights respected.

There are a number of “prominent” Muslim-American organizations such as MSA and CAIR which are not truly “moderate”, but rather, instead, heavily influenced and supported by Islamists both here and overseas. This has been documented extensively by journalist Steve Emerson and his Investigative Project on Terrorism:

http://www.investigativeproject.org

I have taken a keen interest in this, especially now that I have a relative who is an executive director of a CAIR state chapter.

I don’t challenge Muslims dressed in traditional garb when I see them on the subway, on busses, or in museums here in New York City. But I am concerned that they are not allowing themselves to become more fully intergrated into American culture, even in New York City.

John Kwok said:

I have taken a keen interest in this, especially now that I have a relative who is an executive director of a CAIR state chapter.

I became a CAIR member in November of 2001. I have not yet encountered anything, at least in this locale, that would incline me to change that.

I don’t challenge Muslims dressed in traditional garb when I see them on the subway, on busses, or in museums here in New York City. But I am concerned that they are not allowing themselves to become more fully intergrated into American culture, even in New York City.

Oh, integrated like all those guys in Crown Heights who don’t have the hats and beards any more.

So, how do you recognise the 98% of Muslims who have “integrated” when you see them on the subway?

John Kwok -

I don’t challenge Muslims dressed in traditional garb when I see them on the subway, on busses, or in museums here in New York City. But I am concerned that they are not allowing themselves to become more fully intergrated into American culture, even in New York City.

That’s called “freedom”. They can “integrate” or not if they want to.

I see plenty of other religious and traditional clothing styles around NYC, as well. I see Catholic clergy, monks, and nuns (there are a fair number of monasteries in NYC), I see various flavors of Orthodox Judaism, I don’t see as many Amish in NYC as one would in some points further south but one sees them from time to time, I see lots of people in traditional South Asian clothing, I see occasional orange-robed Buddhists. And I’m sure I could go on. And it’s all every bit as legal as an Uncle Sam costume.

(For full disclosure, I did remember that some of the guys involved in the failed 1993 WTC bombing attempt did wear traditional Islamic outfits; it would be most unfair to blame others who were not involved, simply on the grounds of superficially similar clothing style, though.)

The ones I know who have intergrated tend to be those like some Indian and Turkish friends who have become keenly interested in Western European culture. Have a Turkish friend - a fellow Leica rangefinder photographer I might add - whom I used to bump into all the time at a French language cinema in Midtown:

Shebardigan said:

John Kwok said:

I have taken a keen interest in this, especially now that I have a relative who is an executive director of a CAIR state chapter.

I became a CAIR member in November of 2001. I have not yet encountered anything, at least in this locale, that would incline me to change that.

I don’t challenge Muslims dressed in traditional garb when I see them on the subway, on busses, or in museums here in New York City. But I am concerned that they are not allowing themselves to become more fully intergrated into American culture, even in New York City.

Oh, integrated like all those guys in Crown Heights who don’t have the hats and beards any more.

So, how do you recognise the 98% of Muslims who have “integrated” when you see them on the subway?

As for CAIR it is an anti-Semitic organization which has had longstanding ties to the Muslim Brotherhood (according to Steve Emerson - who collaborated on the 1994 PBS documentary on the first jihadi World Trade Center attack with PBS (Believe it was a “Frontline” episode.) - and with other prominent Muslim and Muslim American critics such as Tawfik Hamid who was involved with the Brotherhood in Egypt, left, and eventually immigrated here.).

No, I don’t see it in terms of freedom. I see it more instead, as an undesirable trait pointing to sympathy toward Islamist political extremism. Am not intereste in debating it here, but will note that there are notable Muslim American critics such as former United States Navy Lieutenant Commander M. Zuhdi Jasser, Wall Street financier Mansoor Ijaz, Daily Beast journalist Asra Q. Nomani and others who believe that their fellow Muslim Americans have not done substantially more to intergrate themselves into American society and culture:

harold said:

John Kwok -

I don’t challenge Muslims dressed in traditional garb when I see them on the subway, on busses, or in museums here in New York City. But I am concerned that they are not allowing themselves to become more fully intergrated into American culture, even in New York City.

That’s called “freedom”. They can “integrate” or not if they want to.

I see plenty of other religious and traditional clothing styles around NYC, as well. I see Catholic clergy, monks, and nuns (there are a fair number of monasteries in NYC), I see various flavors of Orthodox Judaism, I don’t see as many Amish in NYC as one would in some points further south but one sees them from time to time, I see lots of people in traditional South Asian clothing, I see occasional orange-robed Buddhists. And I’m sure I could go on. And it’s all every bit as legal as an Uncle Sam costume.

(For full disclosure, I did remember that some of the guys involved in the failed 1993 WTC bombing attempt did wear traditional Islamic outfits; it would be most unfair to blame others who were not involved, simply on the grounds of superficially similar clothing style, though.)

Assuming that you are a CAIR member, you probably know who its New Jersey chapter executive director is. He does not speak for me nor for many in our large, extensive family, which includes a substantial Jewish minority, including an uncle who is a Holocaust survivor.

John Kwok said:

Assuming that you are a CAIR member, you probably know who its New Jersey chapter executive director is. He does not speak for me nor for many in our large, extensive family, which includes a substantial Jewish minority, including an uncle who is a Holocaust survivor.

You need not assume; I have said.

And no, I have knowledge only of the local CAIR folks.

Nobody here has uttered, in my hearing, anything even vaguely anti-Jewish. The fact that my facial features are such that I have from time to time been accused of being a Jew (I choose my words carefully) is unlikely to have influenced these observations. (Given that Arabs are semitic, calling CAIR anti-semitic is rather stupid, even though a small minority of local Muslims are Arabs.)

This facet of the discussion, however, strays rather far from the original topic, and I decline any further discourse thereon.

I suggest you look at Steve Emerson and Tawfik Hamid’s work. They do document ample instances of CAIR’s anti-Semitic behavior (In Emerson’s case, he was the one who substantiated CAIR’s links to the Muslim Brotherhood - which CAIR has denied on its website - and he has also presented a substantial litany of CAIR’s anti-Semitic conduct.). As for my cousin, you’ve heard of him. He was the one falsely accused of treason back in 2003. I didn’t think he was a traitor then, but I have doubts now, especially since he’s been an all too willing lapdog of CAIR, ever since virtually all of the charges against him were dropped back in 2005 by the Pentagon:

Shebardigan said:

John Kwok said:

Assuming that you are a CAIR member, you probably know who its New Jersey chapter executive director is. He does not speak for me nor for many in our large, extensive family, which includes a substantial Jewish minority, including an uncle who is a Holocaust survivor.

You need not assume; I have said.

And no, I have knowledge only of the local CAIR folks.

Nobody here has uttered, in my hearing, anything even vaguely anti-Jewish. The fact that my facial features are such that I have from time to time been accused of being a Jew (I choose my words carefully) is unlikely to have influenced these observations. (Given that Arabs are semitic, calling CAIR anti-semitic is rather stupid, even though a small minority of local Muslims are Arabs.)

This facet of the discussion, however, strays rather far from the original topic, and I decline any further discourse thereon.

Just for yours and harold’s edification, I’ll post here part of Mansoor Ijaz’s rejection of the “Ground Zero” mosque which was published in the Washington Post back in August:

“Cordoba House is wrong because America’s Muslims do not yet exemplify the time-honored commandments, philosophies and tenets of the great men and women who founded our country – and even more sadly, of the great religion they claim to follow. A mosque is not a monument. It is a place where worshipers gather to strengthen their beliefs en masse – a place where they resolve to practice those beliefs with consistency and vigor. An American Muslim, one who believes in his or her American identity first, could not possibly hope to do that near the place where fellow citizens were murdered by Islamic mobsters seeking vanity and infamy for their crimes.”

When I sent that to my cousin, he laughed it off and suggested I run as a Tea Party Movement candidate. I should have also sent him this:

“When America’s Muslims can come together in unison to identify, fight against and defeat the forces of radicalism that have taken over our great religion – battling the cancer from within no matter where it lies in the world – then should we be allowed to build a mosque at hallowed places on American soil because then we are ready, as Americans first, to practice our religion in a way that allows us to go out and be the best Americans we can be.”

“When America’s Muslims can join hands with Jews and Christians, Hindus and atheists, not to show false friendships or as a convenient post card ad to raise money, but because we are prepared to truly assimilate and integrate our lives into the fabric of the America that gives us our sustenance to live, breathe, work and pray freely, then should we be permitted to build an interfaith community center on the same ground where terrorists defaced our religion.” “When America’s Muslims raise the majority of funds required to construct our mosques from their own taxable income, not from dubious foreign sources that also finance the forces that also finance the forces that seek our destruction, only then can we earn the confidence of our fellow Americans and help build the trust that binds free societies together.”

“America’s Muslims failed to rise up to their citizenship responsibilities after the September 11 attacks, choosing instead to play the role of aggrieved, helpless victims. That is what we see again today in the Cordoba House debate – on television, in newspaper columns and on the streets in daily demonstrations – and that is why our voices in America’s body politic are now marginalized. That American Muslims do not take meaningful steps to eradicate radical Islam’s cancer in their communities is a stunning failure of leadership which we must address without delay.”

You can read the rest of Ijaz’s remarks here:

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/[…]n_first.html

Ijaz is no Tea Party Movement lunatic. Instead, he was a Bill Clinton supporter and tried unsuccessfully to have bin Laden captured in the Sudan and brought to the United States for justice.

a cut and paste typo, so am reposting several of Ijaz’s paragraphs here:

“When America’s Muslims can join hands with Jews and Christians, Hindus and atheists, not to show false friendships or as a convenient post card ad to raise money, but because we are prepared to truly assimilate and integrate our lives into the fabric of the America that gives us our sustenance to live, breathe, work and pray freely, then should we be permitted to build an interfaith community center on the same ground where terrorists defaced our religion.”

“When America’s Muslims raise the majority of funds required to construct our mosques from their own taxable income, not from dubious foreign sources that also finance the forces that also finance that seek our destruction, only then can we earn the confidence of our fellow Americans and help build the trust that binds free societies together.”

John Kwok said:

Just for yours and harold’s edification, I’ll post here part of Mansoor Ijaz’s rejection of the “Ground Zero” mosque which was published in the Washington Post back in August:

“Cordoba House is wrong because America’s Muslims do not yet exemplify the time-honored commandments, philosophies and tenets of the great men and women who founded our country – and even more sadly, of the great religion they claim to follow. A mosque is not a monument. It is a place where worshipers gather to strengthen their beliefs en masse – a place where they resolve to practice those beliefs with consistency and vigor. An American Muslim, one who believes in his or her American identity first, could not possibly hope to do that near the place where fellow citizens were murdered by Islamic mobsters seeking vanity and infamy for their crimes.”

When I sent that to my cousin, he laughed it off and suggested I run as a Tea Party Movement candidate. I should have also sent him this:

“When America’s Muslims can come together in unison to identify, fight against and defeat the forces of radicalism that have taken over our great religion – battling the cancer from within no matter where it lies in the world – then should we be allowed to build a mosque at hallowed places on American soil because then we are ready, as Americans first, to practice our religion in a way that allows us to go out and be the best Americans we can be.”

“When America’s Muslims can join hands with Jews and Christians, Hindus and atheists, not to show false friendships or as a convenient post card ad to raise money, but because we are prepared to truly assimilate and integrate our lives into the fabric of the America that gives us our sustenance to live, breathe, work and pray freely, then should we be permitted to build an interfaith community center on the same ground where terrorists defaced our religion.” “When America’s Muslims raise the majority of funds required to construct our mosques from their own taxable income, not from dubious foreign sources that also finance the forces that also finance the forces that seek our destruction, only then can we earn the confidence of our fellow Americans and help build the trust that binds free societies together.”

“America’s Muslims failed to rise up to their citizenship responsibilities after the September 11 attacks, choosing instead to play the role of aggrieved, helpless victims. That is what we see again today in the Cordoba House debate – on television, in newspaper columns and on the streets in daily demonstrations – and that is why our voices in America’s body politic are now marginalized. That American Muslims do not take meaningful steps to eradicate radical Islam’s cancer in their communities is a stunning failure of leadership which we must address without delay.”

You can read the rest of Ijaz’s remarks here:

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/[…]n_first.html

Ijaz is no Tea Party Movement lunatic. Instead, he was a Bill Clinton supporter and tried unsuccessfully to have bin Laden captured in the Sudan and brought to the United States for justice.

One more correction, the paragraph in question should read as follows:

“When America’s Muslims raise the majority of funds required to construct our mosques from their own taxable income, not from dubious foreign sources that also finance the forces that seek our destruction, only then can we earn the confidence of our fellow Americans and help build the trust that binds free societies together.”

I think it is also sufficiently noteworthy to post the second to last paragraph from Ijaz’s column:

“The most glaring truth which Imam Rauf and his supporters seem not to accept is that Islam’s gangsters fear that America has it right: that we as a pluralistic and secular society have perfected the very system Islam’s Holy Scriptures urged them to learn and practice. They want to build their mosques as symbols of Muslim power and glory in America next to the symbols of American power the 9/11 hijackers tore down, not because they have understood that America is in its core beliefs and practices a nation which embodies the best Islam has to offer, but because they seek to take undue credit for what they are no longer capable of doing themselves.”

I don’t think quoting from Ijaz’s Washington Post column does stray too much from the original points raised by Matt Young in this discussion thread. Instead, I believe they are relevant.

I don’t think quoting from Ijaz’s Washington Post column does stray too much from the original points raised by Matt Young in this discussion thread. Instead, I believe they are relevant.

I think it is completely off topic, and I request no further discussion unless it is directly related to schools, standing, tuition organizations, or closely related topics.

It seems there is a hostility here to Christianity and not just creationism. if the ancient law and historic custom is that religious schools not get money , directly or indirectly, then they shouldn’t get tax breaks. I understand much of american schools are segregated. That is ethnic groups get extra tax breaks to advance the unsuccessful, or otherwise, identities. Especially Africans (is that the word/). Certainly affirmative action insists that identity determines who gets what in education. this is famous. So beating ones breasts about a good cause, religion, is silly in such a climate.

yet it again it shows how education crosses the deep ideas of religion. The state is not and can not be neutral on religious presumptions in ideas or society. In Canada the government funds catholic schools.

Some catholic and some protestant separate schools are funded by some provinces:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separate_school

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on November 4, 2010 2:35 PM.

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