Community and administration

Entries about Baha'i community life, about Baha'i administration, and about how the two intersect.

In God's Name, part 3: Giving Exemptions


Holy Land Experience, a biblical theme park in Orlando, Fla., went to Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature to win an exemption after county authorities determined that the park should be taxable.

Articles in this four-part series examine how American religious organizations benefit from an increasingly accommodating government.

"As the Brothers of Holy Cross, a Roman Catholic religious order, sees it, providing the elderly with the amenities of the village — a sense of security, social opportunities and various services to make independent living easier — is a charitable activity rooted in its pastoral mission to serve others.

Members of the St. Joseph County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals, all but one of them lifelong Catholics, see it differently. To them, a charitable ministry does not consist of providing lovely retirement living to affluent people. The current residents of Holy Cross Village have an average net worth of $1 million. Those with deposits on the units under construction are even better off, averaging $1.6 million.

If Holy Cross Village is not taxed, members of the assessment board point out, a heavier burden will fall on the working families in the county that are struggling to pay the taxes on their small homes in careworn communities like the west side of South Bend.

Full story...

In God's Name, part 4: The Personal Exemptions


An afternoon service at Saddleback Church, in Lake Forest, Calif.

Articles in this four-part series examine how American religious organizations benefit from an increasingly accommodating government.

Like the many other tax and regulatory exemptions that have become available to religious organizations in America, the tax breaks for clergy housing expenses and religious publications benefit religion in ways that some critics say go beyond the limits of the Constitution.

Until several years ago, “it was inconceivable for most to think that religion might well be aggressively expanding its power in a way that is harmful to the public good,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at the Cardozo law school at Yeshiva University in New York and the author of “God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law,” which is critical of many religious exemptions, particularly in the areas of land use and family law.

But now, Professor Hamilton said, the power of religious entities “is at its apex.” {josquote}it was inconceivable for most to think that religion might well be aggressively expanding its power in a way that is harmful to the public good{/josquote}

Defenders of these exemptions deny that they raise any questions of excessive power or constitutional violations. “Government deregulation of religion is consistent with a broader pattern of American government going back to the founding,” said Anthony R. Picarello Jr., vice president and general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a legal advocacy group in Washington.

“Providing special treatment is not always constitutionally required,” he said, “but it is constitutionally permissible.”

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The subversive Kalimat Press product placement campaign

The US NSA, and a few other NSAs, have asked their institutional bookstores not to continue handling books from Kalimat Press. It was an apparently arbitrary decision. No actual reason was given by any of the NSAs.

However, the Baha'i administration keeps advertising Kalimat Press. The form the advertising takes is known as "product placement". Here's a pictorial example. It shows detail from a high-resolution photo, on the Baha'i World News Service website, of Professor Suheil Bushrui in his office at the University of Maryland. Yes, that's "Circle of unity" and "Equal circles", right there on the shelf within easy reach.

I'd love to get more examples of Kalimat Press products showing up in official photos.

Source...

JY Video

Just in case you were wondering what happens at junior youth animator training sessions...

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Montreal Junior Youth Animator Training

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