Let’s take away CAP’s Tax Exempt Status!by Don Lacey on Jun. 02, 2012, under Abortion, Arizona Families, Atheism, AZ Politics, Biblical Inerrancy, Christian Self-Righteous Arrogance, Christianity, Critical Thinking, Education, Environment, Ethics, Faith, Fundamentalism, Gay Marriage, God & Bible, Government, History, Islam, Reason, Religion, Responsible Government, Science, Separation of Church & State
Editor’s note: Before I get into Jim Wilson’s opinion on CAP (Center for Arizona Policy), I’d like to report the Secular Coalition for Arizona’s position on the controversy.
The Secular Coalition for Arizona was formed to give a voice to the non-theists in Arizona and to help insure that the laws that affect ALL Arizona citizens are based on reason and science and not sectarian religious beliefs. We recognize that the Center for Arizona Policy as an evangelical Christian organization that appears to operate extensive lobbying activities beyond that allowed for organizations with a 501(c)3 designation (www.stopcap.org). The Secular Coalition for Arizona operates under 501(c)4 rules in order to legally conduct unlimited lobbying. Unlike a 501(c)3, contributions to a 501(c)4 are not tax deductible; this ensures that taxpayers are not subsidizing political lobbying. It appears to us that lobbying is a substantial part of the CAP’s operation. We would simply like to know if Center for Arizona Policy’s activities are legal for a 501(c)3. We are concerned that Center for Arizona Policy’s taxpayer-subsidized lobbying is an example of religious privilege in that secular organizations of a similar nature, including SC for Arizona, must operate under 501(c)4 rules. You can find out more about the Secular Coalition for Arizona at its website: http://www.secularaz.org/.
From Jim Wilson:
Let’s stop the Center for Arizona Policy and their theocratic politics along with their complete control of the Republican Party in this state. They have recently sent out a victory email boasting of their influence in passing huge numbers of anti-choice bill and openly theocratic bills. Though they have the benefits of 501(C)3 non profit, they fragrantly violate the restrictions imposed on such groups. These include engaging in excessive political activity including lobbying promoting political candidates, writing, and lobbying for legislation. Even if I agreed with this organizations openly anti-secular pro-theocracy mission, I still would recognize that it is unfair for them to engage in this type of deliberate tax fraud while a group like our own Freethought Arizona strictly abides by these restrictions.
Though it was a previously covered on this blog here is a reminder of some of the legislation that CAP pushed this Legislative session: (editor’s note: this is just a small sample. For more, check out CAP’s own website: http://www.azpolicy.org/current-bill-status).
SB1365 (Signed into law on May 12th) permits medical professionals including doctors and pharmacist to discriminate and refuse service to anyone who disagrees with their religious views including homosexuals or people simply trying to buy contraceptives. State licensed professionals should not be discriminating or denying services especially for religious reasons nor should the state be in the practice promoting this type of discrimination. There is also SB1359 (Signed on April 17th) which essentially legalizes medical fraud allowing doctors to withhold information about potential birth defects and prenatal problems from pregnant mothers misleading them to believe everything is ok when it is not.
HB2800 (Signed May 4th) bars people on public assistance for health care being reimbursed for services provided by Planned Parenthood or any other Clinic that provides abortion. There is already a law prohibiting state money being used to fund abortion so this bill simply makes life more difficult for people on public assistance. HB2563 (Signed April 12th) allows schools to teach from the Christian bible while forbidding the use of other religious text. This sort of favoritism is a flat out violation of the separation of church and state and unconstitutional.
There is also the infamous HB2036 (Signed April 12th) the anti-abortion bill that is based on the fallacious notion that a fetus feels pain after 20 weeks so therefore abortions should be banned after this point. This is false as the neural networks simply have not developed that far.
There is no legitimate scientific information that supports the statement that a fetus feels pain and The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists states that “no legitimate scientific information that supports the statement that a fetus feels pain.” It also requires a 24 hour wait for abortions. This I never understood I would think pro-life types would prefer an abortion take place as early in the pregnancy as possible. The bill also mandates ultra-sounds and takes away the decision making power away from the woman and puts it in the hands of government.
It is no secret that CAP plays a big role in Arizona Politics. Moderate Republicans running for state congress are guaranteed to see well funded CAP supported challengers and it has also been revealed that at least some support for CAP comes from ALEC the corporatist group that explicitly pushes to pass laws that benefit big business over the rest of the population. CAP represents everything that is interventionist and wrong with the Christian right and it is time to end their ill-gotten tax-free ride!