HBO's Bill Maher took a lot of heat last week for calling Mormonism a cult that isn't a charity because it doesn't give to poor people.
Defending himself on Friday's Real Time, the host explained why he believes contributions to the Mormon Church and such things as the symphony and the ballet shouldn't be tax deductible but ignored that he supports federal funding of NPR (partial video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
During his final New Rule, Maher once again went after the Mormon Church saying it wasn't a charity.
He then referred to the heat he got from last Friday's show for saying "Mitt Romney's charitable giving doesn't count because it all goes to his cult."
"I'm sorry," joked Maher. "I meant to say his ridiculous church."
It was further obvious this was no apology when Maher said, "I personally define a cult as any religion with fewer followers than Snooki has on Twitter."
Actually, there are currently 14 million practicing Mormons worldwide. Snooki only has 4.9 million Twitter followers.
As we've documented for years, facts are never important to this idiot.
From there, Maher continued his anti-Mormon rant complaining that they're secretive - "like Fight Club."
"In any event, it doesn't matter, and I'm very sorry if I called your horses--t bulls--t."
Which lead to the real stupidity.
"When Mitt Romney gets a deduction for giving to charity, the rest of us taxpayers have to cover the loss. Charitable deductions reduce the public coffers by about $60 billion a year."
$60 billion? Nah.
According to Subsidy Scope, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts, the government "lost" about $47 billion in 2008.
With the downturn in the economy, charitable giving has significantly declined in recent years. A study done by New York University School of Law last spring estimated tax revenues lost to charitable deductions were only $37 billion in 2010.
Once again, facts are just irrelevant to this idiot who from there continued bashing Romney's faith.
"The way it works when you're a Mormon is you give ten percent of your income to your local coven or whatever it's called. They send it to Salt Lake City where it's counted by goblins and guarded by dragons."
He continued, "If Mitt Romney gave ten percent of his income to the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders, I would be the first to say, 'Good robot.' But he gives it to the Mormon Church."
So therein lies the rub: folks should only get tax deductions if they give to charities Maher believes in.
Minutes into this disgusting rant, he did admit the Mormon Church does some good things.
"But that's not their main concern which is, like any business, growing the business, opening branches, selling more product, putting a--es in tabernacles...Real charities only care about the charity."
From there, Maher showed a picture of the Mormon Temple in San Diego. "Someone has to explain to me why Mitt Romney gets a tax writeoff for giving money to the people who already own this."
The stupidity on display here was staggering. Religions need facilities for their members to pray and congregate at. This has been the case for centuries. Without them, they have no members.
Is Maher's contention that all religions should have their tax exempt status revoked because they use some of their money to build - ahem - churches?
But Maher wasn't done, for he next showed a picture of Disney Hall where the Los Angeles Symphony performs.
"Lots of people give money to symphonies," he complained, "and they get tax deductions for that. But they shouldn't...because unlike food and water, access to Mozart is not a basic human necessity."
So should that be what defines a charity under our tax code? Providing a basic human necessity? Then shouldn't the federal government immediately stop subsidizing anything not specifically related to such things?
If so, Maher must have forgotten an article he wrote last year for The Hollywood Reporter titled "Bill Maher States His Case for Continued Federal Funding of NPR": "NPR also only gets a few percent of its funding from the federal government, but if that keeps it in places where it wouldn't otherwise be, I think that's money well spent, considering the trillions we spend on bullshit."
So it's fine for tax dollars to go to NPR which has absolutely nothing to do with providing basic human necessities, but the Mormon Church which does shouldn't be considered a charity under the tax code because it doesn't spend all of its money that way.
Let's see the idiot talk his way out of this hypocrisy next week.