Read the fine print: Republican “tax reform” bill injects religious dogma into the tax code

You don’t typically think of a tax reform bill as a vehicle to push a religious agenda onto the rest of the country, but Trump’s “tax reform” bill does exactly that.

Buried deep inside the Republicans’ proposed “tax reform” bill is a provision conferring rights on “unborn children,” which the bill defines as “a child in utero…a member of the species Homo Sapiens, at any stage of development.” The provision appears on page 93 of the 429-page bill, in a section amending the rules on “529 plans,” which are tax-free investment accounts that allow families to save for a child’s college education. People have long been able to set up 529 plans for children that don’t yet exist, but changing the wording of the law intentionally enshrines recognition of the unborn into federal law, something anti-abortion activists and supporters of fetal “personhood” have long sought to do.

Trump’s tax reform bill is full of tricks

Recognizing human embryos, whether implanted in the uterus or not, is fraught with legal dilemmas. It legally separates the woman from her fetus, creating ethical questions about who has precedence in the event of a life-threatening pregnancy, like an ectopic pregnancy, which occurs outside the womb. Other questions that could arise from conferring the rights of existing people on fertilized eggs include whether pregnant women should be counted as two people for the purposes of using highway carpool lanes, whether fetusus would require social security numbers, or whether embryos could legally inherit property or enter into contracts.

Tax law repeals Johnson Amendment

The Republicans’ tax reform bill also contains another plum for religious groups, in particular the Alliance Defending Freedom, a right-wing religious group in Scottsdale, Arizona: it repeals the Johnson Amendment, a provision of the federal tax code that prohibits non-profit groups, including churches and religious organizations, from promoting candidates for office. The change appears on pages 427-428 of the bill, and allows religious leaders to endorse or oppose candidates from the pulpit. 

Watch out for this Republican “tax reform” bill. It affects a lot more than you think.

21 comments for “Read the fine print: Republican “tax reform” bill injects religious dogma into the tax code

  1. American Patriot
    November 17, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    Here we go again. Seamus part deux. When will I ever learn? Attention; Benita!

    Bernie supporters fill in the blank. NEVER Are you sure? Enter the fall of the dynasties, entitled “lessons learned” A dynasty being overturned by a coup is the definition of treachery. Be advised, and now they are become you. Don’t stick a fork in them, they’re not done.

    We (the Tea Party) recognize the moves that are being made. Do you? Well, you better hope so, cause if you miss one, the only change you’ll see will be to protect the guilty. And oh yeah, that remark that I made not too long ago about seeing no movement where there should be movement. Well, you’re about a week and a half late, but better late than never. And things are about to get breathless.

    Gird your loins and think before you act. Treachery will be the rule, rather than the exception. And the clock’s running. If you ain’t there by the midterms, there won’t be much left to inherit. Make use of the defectors to establish credibility. And then pick up the brand. Run on a party reform ticket. That’s the setup you’ll need when by necessity you’ll have great need to purge the defectors.

    Recognize that you’re playing catch-up. Move boldly and decisively and assume total ownership. He who dares wins. Lock in twenty-four seven. No exceptions. You’re about to live and make some history. But you’re not going entirely where no man has gone before. It’s your turn. You’re it. And the status quo is about to throw the kitchen sink at you. But there’s nothing stronger than the heart of an insurgent. And I hope you will fare well.

    • Seamus
      November 18, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      Huh? Don’t drag me into your delusions of grandeur and misleading allusions to your own bona fides, Tim. Everyone is weary of your game by now. Maybe that’s why the Tea Party imploded, and is now nothing but separate groups of misfits, each one howling about how they’re the “real” Tea Party. Eventually, people get tired of your loony caterwauling and sunken chest-thumping.

      • American Patriot
        November 18, 2017 at 7:22 pm

        Why Seamus, you’re back….and late as usual. How predictable.

        • Seamus
          November 18, 2017 at 10:48 pm

          So are you, Tim. Predictable, I mean.

  2. Benita Phillips
    November 6, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    What the hell…why would a definition of embryonic life show up in tax reform legislation? If this thing passes the theft of the working class will be monumental and at every level of life. AP you are a white man. You have NO idea what it is like to be a second class citizen. Women live it everyday and if they are not well educated, have children, married or had kids with the wrong man or have no way of making an independent living, they become and stay second class. Religion put the hex on women when man started using it as a bludgeon against the oppressed and women have always been an easy target. Eve was framed. Mary Magdalene was reviled and the church apologized. There is nothing more degrading than to have your personal intimate body rights usurped by a government or a religion. My GOD damn made body and parts are mine till I die! Atheist or Christian, women are worthy of that. So my friend, your statement is inane.

    • American Patriot
      November 7, 2017 at 7:36 am

      Okay, let’s see if I have this straight. A wife beating, child and animal abuser, who is a self proclaimed atheist, goes into a church and shoots Christian men, women and children, and obviously felt entitled and empowered to do so, based on the fact that he thought he was being treated unfairly by the world in general, (and by Christians in particular).

      And all of that makes me the oppressor, because I am a male. And of course in being a male, I would have no idea what it meant to be truly oppressed. Why, I had no idea Benita, that you were so well acquainted with my life’s history. Or that you could so easily pigeonhole me into the hole of oppressor.

      No doubt the atheist gunman felt the same way. Its enough to make me wonder how I’ve managed to stay married to the love of my life for fifty years, and raise my daughter and my sons to respect the rights of others. But then, perhaps I don’t have your insight into the evil that lurks in my heart?

      Truly there are some people in the world who deserve to be labeled as deplorable, especially by those who feel empowered by a political agenda to pass judgment, because we all look alike to them. I’m sure the Texas church shooter felt the same way. But of course, his priority was to eliminate his oppressors, real or imagined.

      And the world has definitely taken a turn for the surreal. All things colored in the pastels of partisan political politics, and identity politics, with no room for compromise on any subject at any time. And now, I am become the face of your oppressor. I wonder how it will all end, when there are none so blind as those who will not see.

      Benita, I have no designs on your body, nor your right to an opinion. And here’s what I think you should know. I pray hard to be wrong about what’s coming, not for my sake, because my life is pretty much over now, and I can’t complain. I worked hard for every scar, and I’ve eaten whole buckets of crap just to put food on the table. I’ve cleaned their restrooms, washed their dishes, and spent a good portion of my life in a hole inside a mountain.

      The last time I talked to you, I told you that I felt I was a failure, in that despite all my efforts, I would live long enough to see my nation and my people divided, and killing each other for the sake of politics.

      I’m pretty sure by now, I know why the gunman could see that the older people he killed could be his oppressor. I guess it’s just the killing of the kids that I can’t wrap my mind around. So in a way, I suppose it’s better for you to identify me as your enemy, and as the enemy of all humanity. At least that gives me worth. And perhaps in that way, we can save some of the children.

      You and I have talked before about abortion, and while I do not agree that the unborn are not human, I always pretty much figured that women were the real stakeholders in that issue. And that my opinion in that matter, should be pretty much subservient to theirs. But I do hold strong opinions about gunning down people, really the best of us, who have only gathered to worship as their conscience dictates.

      So I guess it’s okay that I’ve become the designated oppressor. If somebody has to do it, it’s probably better that it’s an old man like me, rather than the children. I’ve been glad to call you a friend for a number of years now, and quite honestly I thought you knew my heart. But I guess I was wrong. And I’m so sorry for having offended thee.

      Perhaps in another world, another life, we would have been allowed to be friends. But then I don’t see you as an oppressor. But I would ask you to recognize that you’ve become an enabler for those who would hate. And I know your heart well enough to know, that’s not what you would want to be.
      AP

    • Mary Simpson
      November 12, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Yes, the abortion industry would have you believe that atheist prolife people and LGBT prolife people among others do not exist so that you can call this an evangelical Christian influence. You took the bait and used the ridiculous to pad your argument. Inserting unrelated wording into legislation is certainly nothing new.. unfortunately.

    • James
      November 16, 2017 at 1:21 am

      Calm down and stop ranting long enough to consider whether or not the child in utero is a member of our species. Science says she or she is. Your anti-religious diatribe fails to address this.

      • American Patriot
        November 16, 2017 at 8:00 am

        A reasonable person would assume something named “pro-choice” would be a good thing. I did until I realized there’s at least one death in every abortion. And I never could square that fifty percent plus death rate with something good.

        I’m not a woman, but I would think that would put a hell of a strain on the Mothering instinct, imprinted in our human DNA. If that’s something that has protected us, unconditionally, through all these generations, maybe it’s something we should take more than ordinary care to preserve.

        My guess is, if we have a future, a lot of little people are going to be depending on that.

        • MarshFarm
          November 16, 2017 at 5:48 pm

          Here’s a solution, fellas:
          If you don’t like abortions, don’t have one.
          Personal freedoms and all that, government not interfering in our lives?
          Or is that just for white Christian men and their “property”?
          Since it’s not your body, you’re free to mind your own damned business.

          • Scott
            November 16, 2017 at 7:31 pm

            Conservatives aren’t very good at minding their own business. Personal freedoms only apply to things they agree with.

          • American Patriot
            November 16, 2017 at 8:18 pm

            What is it with liberals and their lack of reading comprehension; “And I never could square that fifty percent plus death rate with something good.” Did you notice I said “I” as in me? And deciding for myself whether something is good or bad is the de-facto definition of minding my own business.

            Now, if you can square the deliberate killing of an innocent human being in your own conscience, well then that says something to me about your decision-making paradigm and your lack of a moral compass. And you’re welcome to your opinion, but you can’t reasonably expect to silence those who disagree with you by calling what you’re doing good. Because that would require the complete suspension of all disbelief.

            Bottom line fellas, why don’t you mind your own business, and you won’t be minding mine?

          • Scott
            November 16, 2017 at 8:27 pm

            Because people like you are trying to force their business on others.

            The unborn are not “human” per se. They are potential humans. They cannot live without the support of the mother. They cannot survive in the same environment as humans. One day they will, and they even reach that point before birth, but there is no objective point when that line is crossed.

            In addition, you cannot have two people with full rights inhabiting the same body. One must take priority over the other. The “pro-choice” side gives that priority to the mother. The “pro-life” side demonizes the mother and subordinates her to the unborn. Personal freedoms, remember? It’s called pro-choice for a reason. Your side is trying to take away those personal freedoms. Hypocrisy? Or just dogma?

          • American Patriot
            November 16, 2017 at 9:00 pm

            Wow Scott, and just think, I did all of that by just expressing my opinion. And apparently, you believe the intentional killing of a “potential” human being is “personal freedom”? Kind of makes you wonder what the“potential” human would think about that, I mean if they were to grow up and find out you signed off on their death warrant?

            What’s the matter with you son, are you still outraged at the thought of being circumcised without your permission? Or did your mama drop you on your head when you were just little? This isn’t rocket science. It’s about terminating the life of a “potential” human being, because you decided they shouldn’t ever be a human being. Now, that’s a whole lot of God like power that you’ve usurped for yourself. Just out of curiosity Scott, what do you think that will end up costing you?

            But I must admit, you do make a convincing argument for legalized abortion.….retroactively, and you haven’t even reached your full potential yet.

          • Scott
            November 16, 2017 at 9:22 pm

            So it’s hypocrisy then. I’m sure you don’t mind a doctor playing god in saving a patient from dying, am I right?

            What about the 50% of all pregnacies that spontaneously abort because the egg fails to implant in the uterine wall? The woman never even knows about it. If everything that happens is God’s plan, that makes your god the biggest abortionist of all.

            Life doesn’t begin at conception. It merely continues. A fertilized egg is no less alive than an unfertilized egg. So why should there be any more heartburn over a fertilized egg, or a cluster of cells that might one day become a human being than removing a kidney or a pancreas? None of them can survive on their own. all are dependant on the whole. Yet you are taking away the rights of that whole – the woman – to tell her she no longer has control over her own body because of a cluster of cells. Sorry, but I can’t justify that. You obviously can, but that’s just part of that Christian self-righteousness.

            Abortion is a terrible thing. I would be the first one to cheer when abortions are no more. But outlawing them is not the way to do it. Abortions will always be a part of life, for medical reasons if no other. All you’re doing is trying to force women back into those dark alleys with the coat hangers, and a lot of women are going to die. But you don’t care about that (making your “pro-life”stance even more hypocritical).

            If you think abortions are wrong, then don’t have one. But you don’t get to tell a woman what she can and can’t do because of your moral outrage. You don’t have that right. All you’re doing is displaying your hypocrisy. At least its something you’re good at.

          • American Patriot
            November 16, 2017 at 9:44 pm

            What a Dr does is his business. What a woman does is her business. What you do, well Scotty that’s just evil. But it’s only evil in ignorance if you really don’t know the difference between right and wrong. That’s not a legal term. It’s what makes us human. And humans aren’t expected to be perfect, but they are expected to try to be better human beings, as in thou shall not kill.

            You’re missing something, Scotty. And I strongly suspect that it’s that way as your choice. You can’t even have a discussion with someone or listen to an honest opinion without the belief that they’re trying to put something over on you, or trying to control you in some way. Have you ever heard of free will? That’s all about your right to choose between good and evil. And I would pretty much say you’ve made your choice, just like I’ve made mine. And I guess we’re both just going to have to live with it.

            But let me remind you to take your pill tonight. I wouldn’t want to see you exposed to something that you couldn’t keep, even if you wanted to. See now, how hard was that? Hardly worth a life, don’t you think??

          • Scott
            November 16, 2017 at 9:49 pm

            And there’s that hypocrisy yet again. You talk about free will, yet your position in this issue is nothing more than taking that free will away from a woman.

            As I said, you don’t like abortions, don’t have one. But you don’t get to tell someone else what choice they have to make. Like it or not, you don’t have that right.

            Have a nice night. I’ll leave the last word to you for some more condescending insults.

          • American Patriot
            November 16, 2017 at 10:10 pm

            Yup, definitely reading comprehension problems. But smart move. When you find yourself in a moral hole, probably best to quit digging.

  3. American Patriot
    November 6, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Well, religious dogma, there’s a clear and present danger. Oh me, oh my, what’s to be done in order to demonstrate our disapproval to the Bible clinging, gun toting deplorables? Maybe an atheist could be empowered and entitled to shoot up the congregation of a Baptist Church in Sutherland, Texas? Just as an object lesson to those who are not in full, voluntary compliance and submission to our shaping of their world to our liking?

    Oops, skip on down, an atheist has already done that. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    • James
      November 16, 2017 at 1:24 am

      The humanity of the pre-born is a fact of science. You are the one to interject dogma into this.

  4. American Patriot
    November 6, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Well, religious dogma, there’s a clear and present danger. Oh me, oh my, what’s to be done in order to demonstrate our disapproval to the Bible clinging, gun toting deplorables? Maybe an atheist could be empowered and entitled to shoot up the congregation of a Baptist Church in Sutherland, Texas? Just as an object lesson to those who are not in full, voluntary compliance and submission to our shaping of their world to our liking?

    Oops, skip on down, an atheist has already done that.

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