Monday, December 30, 2013

State Fraternization with Religious Organisations Troubling

As the state continues its quest to create dependency and expand its political influence they continue to resort to fraternizing with religious organisations and leaders. 

Although this is done and promoted as an altruistic gesture, this activity should be exposed for what it is  -veiled attempts to purchase political influence from religious groups and pacify dissent and opposition. 

These disbursements are in effect; a form of disguised bribery using tax dollars.  

Additionally, even though these government hand outs are tempting, religious leaders should be weary of accepting as they immediately become compromised in their ability to challenge, chastise and castigate the state when they inevitably engage in immoral behaviour. 

In addition; acceptance of government money are also likely to come with strings attached or conditionalities often times antithetical to their core religious principles. Classic examples include issues related to homosexuality, birth-control, marriage etc. These highly contentious issues can drive harmful wedges within religious communities.

Moreover bias, favouritism and discrimination are granted new opportunities to fester in the most emotionally charged arena of religion and faith. Undoubtedly, politicians would be highly motivated to favour their religious communities in the distribution of limited resources at the expense of others, or disburse disproportionate funds to denominations that support their political agenda.

Even absent of this major problem, what should each denomination be granted? What should independent churches be granted? What should rastafarians be granted? What should atheist be granted? In the interest of being "fair and equitable" all groups should be granted some form of handout and therein lies the slippery slope.

What's more, religions Christians for example would surely resent their tax dollars going to support "pagan religions" while atheists would take exception to any and all hand outs to all religions. For these reasons state hobnobbing with religious groups should be shunned altogether.

4 comments:

  1. Like most state institutions in Trinidad and Tobago, there seems to be lacking any structure or guidelines to which monies are given out to religious organisations. If any structure does exist its in the politicians back pocket, among other things....

    I for one believe state and religion do not mix. However, the UK has a very systematic structure when dealing with funding to religious organisations. In the UK religious entities can fall into a category called 'charitable organisations' . Specific criteria/ guidelines must be met for religious entities to be classified as such. Also these 'charitable organisations' are governed under UK Charity law and everything is very transparent.

    I'm sad to say that I do not think TnT will ever reach to this level.

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    1. Thanks for the response Nicholas. Although what you say is correct even the most regulated and supervised structures, will be manned by individuals and will have an element of discretion and consequent bias.

      A greater danger is also that there will be increased rent seeking (solicitation) because typically the pool of resources to be doled tends to be quite significant.

      Cheers...

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