Tag: Church-State Separation

Dear Brother Joe…

On the Limits of Tax-Exempt Status

Some of you know that a few weeks ago my hubby and I flew out to Oklahoma to help get Mom-in-law moved into assisted living due to some issues with failing eyesight, short-term memory non-existence and refusal to use a walker (resulting in her falling down a lot). Hubby’s family were lifelong Presbyterians by faith, his Mom and Dad were both Elders in the tiny church behind their house. My Dad returned to his family’s association with the Presbyterian church after retiring from the Navy, following some lengthy investigation of various denominations. My husband and I attended the same Presbyterian church as teenagers and young adults, though our attendance at any church over recent years has been reserved to weddings and funerals.

Now, the thing about protestantism is that it’s got a denomination for whatever flavor of natural inclination a person’s got. If your nature is parliamentarian nit-picking and resolution by argument, Presbyterianism is your cup of tea. If your nature is lightning-like bliss and gibberish, a Pentecostal or other “holy roller” denomination will serve. If you’re a liberal-minded type fond of social issues, some of the reformed orthodox denominations will be satisfying. And if you’re a hard right WingNut type Republican Talibangelist harboring too much leftover racism, the SBC [Southern Baptist Conference] churches are made to order.

My husband’s brother Joe “found God” some years ago as a result of a debilitating back injury and a lot of pain, subsequently immersed himself in the Baptist tradition of his wife’s family, and eventually made it through all the hoops to become a full-fledged Baptist preacher. And he’s a darned good one too – full of spirit, witty and amiable, stern when he needs to be, committed to working tirelessly in the various conference disaster relief operations, great with children, and inspiring if you’re into that sort of thing. He’s also the only Republican in the family and a social conservative of the extreme theocratic variety.