The article asks, "Why should [...] churches, temples, mosques and a staggering 86,000 registered charities receive exemptions from paying business tax? Why should they be allowed to issue tax-exemption receipts to donors? And why [...] should churches get a pass on playing politics when, say, The David Suzuki Foundation does not any longer?"
The final two paragraphs are an interesting contrast. "Tighten up on the books, by all means. Reinforce the rule that says registered charities - whether religious or secular - should devote no more than 10 per cent of their resources to political work." This is excellent advice - something that most secularists would heartily endorse.
But the final lines then pose a mystery: "But then, for Heaven's sake, leave the churches alone. Let them say what they please, about what they choose." If the churches are anywhere near as politically active as Mr. Den Tandt states, enforcing the law that restricts political activism from charitable organizations would have a major effect on religious institutions.
Conversely, one could grant churches the right to participate in all aspects of the political process, including fund raising, campaigning for candidates, and soliciting legislation favourable to their philosophical perspective - as all other organizations, corporate and non-profit, can today (within limits). In return, churches would be taxed on their property, no longer receive tax credits merely for proselytizing, and clergy would pay income tax on their salaries - as all other organizations, corporate and non-profit, must do today.
"What was Senator Eaton thinking?" I surmise that she believes it is time for Canada to openly embrace a secular approach to governance. It is a sound, wise, moral, and - given the reaction of Mr. Den Tandt and others - courageous action to publicly call for it. Bravo, Senator Eaton.