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The hundred billion dollar question

The stakes in the 2024 election couldn’t be higher. On the one side, there is Your Candidate, trying to preserve all that is good about America and help this nation fulfill its potential. His opponent, most likely the willing dupe of a hostile foreign power, whose incompetence, corruption and authoritarian instincts are a matter of public record, represents a dramatic threat to democracy.

Now imagine that Your Political Party announces that, through thrift and prudent investing and donations both large and small from dedicated supporters, it has built up a reserve of $100 billion, not just for 2024, but for 2024 and beyond so that Your Political Party can consistently promote its vision over the long term instead of desperately rebuilding its election infrastructure every two or four years.

You’d be ecstatic. With such long-term strategizing and far-sighted thinking, maybe this country won’t go completely to hell in 2024. You would perceptively recognize that anyone who was aghast and outraged at Your Political Party’s wealth, even people claiming to argue objectively that $100 billion was far more than any political party should be allowed to have, were clearly just supporters of The Other Guy, shiftless types who support a fraud and traitor and can’t manage their own money anyway.

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So let me say that I think it’s fantastic that the church has $100 billion. The church teaches the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, offers saving ordinances to the living and dead and is building the kingdom of God. It’s much better for the church to have all the resources it needs to further its mission than not to have them. Let’s make it $200 billion, or, heck, why not a trillion? The more the church is able to carry out its missions, the better.

Beyond a general inclination to want people I like or institutions I support to enjoy material plenitude, there are other things that make me think that the church having $100 billion is a good thing.

If you like the church, you’ll like the fact that it has lots of money (yay us); if you despise the church, you’ll despise the fact that it has lots of money (ha ha burn); if you have a conflicted relationship with the church, you’ll probably have a highly nuanced take. If my positive reaction sounds like motivated reasoning to you, what I’m trying to tell you is: on this topic, unless you’re a legal academic specializing in tax law (a tribe among whom news of the church’s billions provoked intense chin-stroking and fervent pondering of some interesting issues involving church and state, nonprofit taxation, and organizational structure), there’s nothing but motivated reasoning all the way down.

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