Charity and selflessness underpin the teachings of the world’s largest religions, yet according to global tax consultant and author Harry Margulies, they don’t always practice what they preach
While our religious institutions have not been expected to contribute to the economy through taxation, reducing the available pot for economic investment and growth, they have been allowed to influence it, to the UK’s detriment.
For instance, religious prohibitions over time have resulted in women not being allowed to participate in the workforce. When half of the workforce is excluded, it clearly has a negative impact on economic growth. Just look at some Muslim majority countries today.
In another example, the Church of England, while criticising zero-hour contracts – calling this practice the “reincarnation of an ancient evil” – has previously been discovered to engage in exactly the same practices. Hypocrisy rules.
Then there is the questionable for-profit motivations of religious organisations. Pope Francis says that he is eager to move away from the “pure profit” motive while at the same time the Vatican invests, not to lose money but to make it.
Forbes estimates that the tax-free Catholic Church received somewhere between $1.43bn to $3.5bn in Covid relief aid which was intended to support businesses and their employees.
Let’s paint a picture with these numbers. The lower number, $1.4bn, would have given around 116,500 people $1,000 per month for a full year. The higher number, $3.5bn, would have given about 219,500 people $1,000 per month for a year. That, in effect, is taking money from the needy.
Yet at the same time, the Pope is eager for us to be generous with people who cannot pay their debts. The Pope is probably the world’s most influential religious leader. The fact that he is allowed, in my opinion, to preach hypocrisy on not only economics but also on the environment when discussing theology, even human rights, while allowing exorcisms and stipulating the dead continue to pray for us, is contrary to the scientific approach the Pope claims the Church stands for.
Wouldn’t it perhaps be a sign of good faith if all religious organisations gave all their wealth to the needy? Wouldn’t it be a sign of true faith if they then prayed for Jesus to give them what He thought they deserve?
‘Why Is It? We are Afraid of Being Descendants of Monkeys but Not Incest’ by Harry Margulies is published through Why Is It Publishing AB and is out now in hardcover, paperback, and eBook formats, priced £19.95, £12.95, and £9.99 respectively. It is available from Amazon and all good book stores.