Last updated on: 2/6/2013 5:49:19 PM PST | Author: ProCon.org

Joseph McCabe Biography

Title:
Atheist writer and former Franciscan monk
Position:
Con to the question "Should Churches (Defined as Churches, Temples, Mosques, Synagogues, etc.) Remain Tax-Exempt?"
Reasoning:

“The exemption of churches from taxation is one of the worst anachronisms. It meant originally that the church was a state within the state, having its own law and deciding itself when and in what measure it might, in times of pressure; contribute to the public treasury. When this arrogant claim was disallowed, church property still evaded taxation on the ground that it served a high public purpose, like, charitable or educational institutions, which were then entirely voluntary, and it ought therefore, to have at least this subsidy of an exemption from taxation. There was no need in those days to inquire very closely into the soundness of the public service. Practically the whole community used the churches and, if a tax were imposed on them, the community would have to pay it. The church was exempt on pretty much the same grounds as the civic hall. It was like transferring your money from one pocket to another. Now considerably less than half the adults of any Community use the churches, and the last argument for exempting them from taxation is quite discredited…

Church property in the United States is said to be worth about four billion dollars, and it is increasing rapidly in value… The anachronism is that city property of immense value is used by only about a tenth of the taxpayers of this city, yet the nine-tenths lazily subsidize it by remitting taxation”

“Why I Believe in Fair Taxation of Church Property,” Little Blue Book No. 1502, Ed. E. Haldeman-Julius, Infidels.org, 1930

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Organizations/VIPs/Others
Individuals and organizations that do not fit into the other star categories.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Former atheist writer
  • Former translator (German to English)
  • Renounced his Catholic faith, Ash Wednesday 1896
  • Appointed Rector of Buckingham College, England, 1895
  • Former Professor of Scholastic Philosophy
  • Ordained a priest, 1890
  • Entered Franciscan order, 1883
Education:
  • Attended Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, 1893-1894
  • Attended St. Antony’s, Forest Gate, England
  • Attended St. Francis College, Manchester, England
Contact Info:
Phone
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Email
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Website
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Other:
  • Died of prostate cancer on Jan. 10, 1955
  • Full name is Joseph Martin McCabe
  • Known as Brother Antony and, later, Father Antony while in the Franciscan order, and wrote two books under the pseudonym Martin Abbotson
  • Offered a PhD at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, but was required to refuse by the Franciscan order, which forbade the acceptance of honorifics
  • Born Nov. 11, 1867
  • “[S]o how is it that a person who has written over two hundred books and monographs comes to be so completely ignored? McCabe was one of the most remarkable polymaths of the twentieth century, and yet is unknown, even by specialists working in relevant fields. How is it that a man who once featured regularly in the English Who’s Who and was acknowledged as an expert on the Roman Catholic Church, and a popularizer of science with a worldwide reputation, is now rarely mentioned, even in passing?… [A] reason McCabe has been forgotten was predicted very soon after his death. ‘One thing only will militate against his speedy recognition; he was a militant Freethinker, Atheist and Materialist.’ Another crime could be added: McCabe was also an outspoken feminist and advocate of sexual liberty.”
    Bill Cooke, A Rebel to His Last Breath: Joseph McCabe and Rationalism, 2001
Quoted in:
Should Churches (Defined as Churches, Temples, Mosques, Synagogues, etc.) Remain Tax-Exempt? – Pro & Con Quotes