This is from the Monday December 26th 2005, Daily Mail
TAX BREAKS FOR MONKS? THEY HAVEN'T GOT A PRAYER by Tim Shipman (Political correspondent)
Monks and nuns in enclosed orders have been told they do not qualify for charitable staus - because their prayers do not benefit society.
Other religious groups generally qualilfy as charities because they perform voluntary service that ehlps the community.
But Labour has rejected calls from MPs to grant closed orders the same rights, dismissing studies which claim that private prayer really can work by speeding the recovery of the sick and injured.
In a letter to Liberal Democrat front bencher, Steve Webb, Home Office Minister, Paul Goggins revealed that the Government has decided to refuse pleas for monks and nuns to benefit from the new Charities Bill - even though the cost would be negligible.
Mr Goggins wrote : 'Entirely closed religious orders are not now charitable. The Charities Bill, if enacted in its current form, will not change this position.
'The effect of the Bill her is simply to remove the presumption that organizations for the advancement of religion...are for the public benefit. A court decision found there was no clear evidence that private prayer provided by entirely closed orders provided a public benefit.'
But two years ago scientists reported what the devoutly religious have always claimed, that appealing to the Almighty can actually work.
Research showed that heart disease patients in San Francisco were 'significantly helped' when prayers were said on their behalf.
Those who were prayed for had fewer complications, fewer cases of pnemonia and needed less drug treatment.
The evidence was presented by Dr Peter Fenwick, a neuropsychiatrist from the Institute of Psychiatry at the Festival of Science in 2003.
A separate study found that Korean patients undergoing IVF treatment who were prayed for by strangers had double the success rate of those who did not.
Mr Webb said : 'Most people would think that those who commit to a life of prayer are contributing to society. We don't need to be a nation of accountants where everything has to be measured.
We should be a society that values the spiritual dimension as well as the material.
'If ministers want to be purely factual about it, you can find evidence that prayer works. When I asked the Treasury how much it would cost to grant tax breaks to closed religious communities they said they didn't know. It would be a tiny amount.
'Particularly at this time of year it would be nice if the Government recognised that there is more to life than pounds and pence.'
A Church of England spokesman said : 'There are numerous occassions where the power of prayer has been pointed to as a factor.
'Charity in the normal sense is something physical rather than spiritual but closed communities have been supporting society through their prayer for centuries and will continue to do so.'
Reverend Rod Thomas, of the Evangelical group Reform, said: 'One thing the studies don't show is the extraordinary consolation that prayer can bring to those going through bereavement or illness. I'd like to know how the government are going to measure that.'
Well this article brought a couple of questions to my mind.
1) Shouldn't tax exempt status be removed from the WTBTS because it does NOTHING at all charitable to help society, and also because it is praying for the destruction of all who are not worshippers of Jehovah.
2) The proof or evidence that they found that prayer 'works' proves , if it proves anything, that God is listening to NON JW prayers.
Any one else got any thoughts on this article?