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How Business has Entered Religion in America

How Business has Entered Religion in America

As Moses knelt down before the Burning Bush to receive the Ten Commandments, the people were kneeling down before the golden calf to receive their cut. Money and religion have always been a paradox, a test, and a trial to those who struggle to live a spiritual life in this material world. To bring this spiritual life into existence, how much material is necessary? If one says, "one only need the word" then as the message is spread, the word needs to be accessible to everyone. As a result, books are printed for the people and

Buildings erected to house the people as they read the books. From these small beginnings, huge corporation-like entities, with tax breaks, loopholes, tremendous budgets, with salaries to match burst forth into a red tape snake pit to rival any government. Religion in the late 20th century has become bigger business than ever. It is not only fleecing the choir, but the unsuspecting unbeliever as well.


The famous Biblical account of Jesus over-turning the tables of the money-changes in the temple shows that money and religion have been strange, but necessary bedfellows for millennia. What started out, in Abraham's day, as an animal sacrifice to please God --by the Middle Ages had turned into buying a way into heaven. The clergy of the Church were sanctioned to sell indulgences-- which were payments to the Church to ensure a short wait in

Purgatory. In the 20th century, pleasing God takes many forms and most of those forms are currency. Religion is very big business, and saving souls costs a lot of money.


There are many ways that the religious money machine gets funds. There is the tithe--a percentage of a person's given to the church or religious organization for its up-keep. This is usually 10 percent. Then there is the sale of items from the innocent bake sale to raise money for the Church to the huge play/ park hotel complex of the Jim and Tammy Bakker of the late eighties. Waving the poor in the face of the rich has always been a good method to get money for corporate religion--but it is usually the poor who open up their wallet and give.


Another popular method is the doctrine of "prosperity" taught by many of the more fundamentalist groups. There are stories in many religious traditions that say, "the more you give--the...

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