It is high time to rescind federal tax exemptions for the Roman Catholic church and other religious groups that scorn the constitutionally ordained separation of church and state.
The Roman church's high-handed interference in secular affairs is unrelenting and unlawful. Consider the recent revelation that the top bishop in Rhode Island has instructed his priests not to give communion to Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) because he supports keeping government out of the private realm wherein women make decisions about their reproductive health. Kennedy said the bishop told him "that I am not a good practicing Catholic because of the positions that I've taken as a public official," particularly on abortion.
During the 2008 presidential election, voters in heavily Catholic southern New Mexico were bombarded with robo-calls from "Bishop Ramirez" telling them that Catholics in good conscience could not vote for any candidate (read Obama) who supported a woman's right to choose.
The anti-woman Stupak amendment to the health care bill in the house -- which prohibits health insurance payments for abortion -- was inserted at the insistence of the powerful Roman Catholic bishops' national organization, in alliance with other powerful fundamentalist religion groups.
These blatant intrusions into secular affairs must be punished under the law. The Roman church and its fundamentalist allies, as they persist in violating the law that gives them exemptions from taxation, must be made to pay the appropriate penalty: loss of those exemptions.
The religious lobby has become too powerful in our political system and must be curbed, along with the military-industrial lobby, the gun lobby and all the other lobbies that send overpaid sleazes in designer suits into every legislative office in Washington with bags of money and veiled threats.
The founding fathers intended ours to be a secular government representing "we the people." Let's begin to restore that ideal.