I wrote this in 1978. It’s on taxes.
I live in the sovereign state of North Carolina. Well, it’s not really that sovereign. The U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare has cut off funds to the University of North Carolina because of an insufficient number of blacks on campus. Naturally, the local editorial writers are screaming bloody murder, since they want those Federal hand-outs. Without Federal money, the sovereign states would have to act in a sovereign, unsubsidized manner, and all of them want Washington’s subsidized lunches. Every state wants more revenue back from the Federal government than is taken out of the state by Federal taxes. This is somewhat difficult for all of them to achieve simultaneously (unless the Federal Reserve System creates additional fiat money, which it is doing daily).
In any case, North Carolina is in the Bible Belt. Everyone knows this. Everyone north of the Mason-Dixon line is absolutely confident that everyone south of the line is a Southern Baptist. Well, it simply isn’t true. There are a bunch of Methodists down here, too.
There is no question that the number of voters who are classifiable as fundamentalists would be a heavy majority of those voting in North Carolina. This is a rural state, with the most dispersed population of any large population state in the Union. With 10 million people, there is no town over 400 thousand. It is a state of small towns. You would imagine that the state is quite conservative, but you would imagine wrong.
At this moment, the state educational bureaucracy has filed suit against several dozen independent and church-connected Christian schools. The state bureaucrats are demanding that forms be filled out by these schools, which is usually the first step in controlling Christian education. (On this point, see Alan Grover’s book, Ohio’s Trojan Horse, 1977) The war against the Christian schools has begun here, just as it has in Kentucky, where the head of the state board of education is an ordained Southern Baptist minister.
Are the fundamentalists up in arms? Hardly. Most of them send their children to the secular “free” schools provided by tax dollars. They may land do) criticize the bureaucrats at HEW for interfering with the state university system of North Carolina — “to interfere”: saying how someone else can spend the money you give to him — but there is little or no concern about the fact that the equally secular state bureaucrats are trying to interfere with schools that do not receive any money whatsoever from the state treasury.
Financing the Religion of Humanism
I have in front of me the booklet published by the state, 1977 Individual Income Tax Instructions for Form D-4UO. North Carolina’s fundamentalists have supported the crea- tion of a most “progressive” (graduated) income tax. Everything above $10,000 is taxed at 7%. This used to seem like a good way to “soak the rich,” since the income level of the average North Carolina family was under $10,000. Inflation is driving most families into the trap which they set for the rich many years ago. Real income may stay the same, but money income is rising, and so is everyone’s tax burden.
What I found most interesting was the following provision of the tax code. Bear in mind that this is supposedly the Bible Belt. This is a state filled with fundamentalists. Here is the tax code’s provision for deductible gifts:
You Can Deduct Gifts To: . . .
Churches, Red Cross, Boy Scouts, American Cancer Society, etc. The deduction for such contributions is limited to 15 percent of the adjusted gross income on page l. line 11 of the return.
Gifts to the State of North Carolina or any of its political subdivisions or any of their institutions, or agencies and to non-profit educational institutions or hospitals located in North Carolina are deductible without limit (D. 6).
Consider the implications of this tax code provision. Churches and other agencies, including charitable private societies, are legitimate charities for up to 15% of adjusted gross income. But beyond 15%, the giver must treat them as ordinary organizations. He receives no further tax break for additional giving. So then he goes looking for another charity to give to. And the tax code offers him a whopper: the State of North Carolina. Those who believe in the phony neutrality of the religion of secular humanism have seen to it that the citizens of the state have an opportunity to finance the chief state institution devoted to secular humanism, namely, the state itself. In other words, they encourage one religion (secular humanism) at the expense of all others. And in North Carolina, “all others” means Christianity, as far as most voters and taxpayers are concerned.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)