News – 29 May 2009
The Purple Economy
by Max Wallace
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In this provocative book, Max Wallace argues democracies should be republics characterised by constitutional separations of church and state. Wallace argues the separation of temporal authority from supernatural authority should be understood as the first separation of powers in a democracy, prior to, and equivalent to, the separations between the executive, legislature and judiciary. The failure of democracies to fully realise this distinction constitutionally has seen churches become immensely wealthy as a consequence of their centuries old tax-exempt status as charities that “advance religion.” Their wealth is now a recognisable financial phenomenon – the Purple Economy.
But, following the French principle, Wallace argues it is not the role of a state to “advance religion.” Ancient exemptions from taxation for the “supernatural” charities who are under no obligation to spend their wealth on “good works”, are not appropriate in the 21st century. They should be treated for tax purposes the same as other taxpayers. The failure of governments to formalise separation of church and state has contributed to the significant wealth of supernatural charities largely as a function of the exemptions. These are effectively concealed tithes on all taxpayers. At the same time, church attendance has plummeted.
Central to supernatural proselytising is their lobbying success in achieving more public money for private, religious schools. Public education has been betrayed by compliant politicians from both sides as they run what are effectively soft theocracies: democracies compromised by constitutional monarchy and/or supernatural charities and their tax exemptions.