Alright, thought experiment time.
We decide that we must find a compromise between liberal and religious compassion and care for the poor, the sick and the old, embodied in the modern liberal welfare state; and the conservative religious idea that this should be left up to them. But we’re going to be dicks about it.
First we register every church, temple, religious organization in the country and sort out some kind of representational system for a ‘congress’. That Congress of Religious Ministers gets to determine the details of government sponsored health care, welfare for the old and disabled and the poor. Every bit of it. Subject to being able to get those laws past Congress, which has no right to modify proposed legislation, just Yes/No. Congress also has no right to change existing law.
(Watch the Atheist Churches spring up and silly new religions form, just for input.)
Now that we know what we have to pay for, here’s how we do it. We enact a 5% tax on all income under $1 million and a 10% tax on all income over $1 million* Obviously this will not pay the bills, so any unpaid portion is then levied on the religious organizations, on a per capita basis. Those organizations will have to raise their moral levies however they want. Tithes, bake sales, secret mercenary armies, up to them.
But we’re basically saying “We’ll run these programs exactly as all of you different religions can agree upon, and we’ll fund part of it with taxes, but since you’re getting a form of control, you’re paying the bulk of it.”
We’re also not getting into state sponsored religion, as the registration is mandatory for all religious organizations as is registration as a member (or not). Oh, don’t get your undies twisted, they know who the fuck you are already, don’t give me conspiracy theory crap about registering.
- As those programs would no longer be under the general budget and covered only by this special tax, normal rates could be reduced. Or we could just pay down that huge debt that was a horrible issue of great concern among Republicans right up until one of them was elected.