US churches, now and then

Some of you probably watch John Oliver, and may have seen his video about televangelists. If you didn’t, you can do so now, it’s as entertaining as it is depressing.

 

I’m reading “Stranger In a Strange Land” now, by Robert Heinlein, and a couple of days ago I came across a particularly interesting paragraph:

 

church

 

The book was published in 1961.
Of course, I should not be surprised: the IRS video in John Oliver’s show did say “for reasons as old as the United States”. It’s more depressing than surprising, I guess; there is no change – the first derivative is practically zero. And by the looks of it, the second derivative isn’t so great either (I’m not sure yet if general American opinions are going towards or away from increased religion and theocracy). Maybe, somewhere out there in the world’s Taylor expansion, way off in the 100th term, there is a struggling positive element; silently pushing on, slowly affecting derivative after derivative, trying to make a better world, one ε at a time.

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2 comments

  1. It doesn’t look like a worse problem to me than the Double Irish With A Dutch Sandwitch, and in both cases the solution is that we all form this kinds of organization and enjoy the protection that Congress has bestowed upon whoever bothers taking them. I don’t see why there are still companies that don’t either call themselves religions or have something like a Double Irish going.

    • It’s also a bit sad that a tax evasion maneuver is so popular it has its own nickname. I didn’t know about it before. At least, by wikipedia, “In 2013, the Irish government announced that companies which incorporate in Ireland must also be tax resident there. This counter-measure took effect in January 2015. […]”.

      As a problem of “people not reporting taxes and thus money is being stolen”, I guess the lack of regulation on churches is no worse than schemes like Double Irish. I don’t really know where there is bigger money (probably the companies). Maybe it’s bad in other ways too (e.g conflicts with your moral values of “truth”).

      If you register your (future) companies as official religions, I hereby vow to buy at least one stock (within the limits of my poor studential allowance).

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