***Actually, there is some stuff in the constitution about income tax. But it wasn't added until last century. RE: Tax, (not religion) we do not tax the wealthy at a higher rate. The highest tax rates, and the alternative minimum tax, kick in well before the level that anyone could be considered wealthy. And, considering that the SSI caps out at about 70 grand, we actually tax those folks that make more at a lower rate. Now, allegeldy, the wealthy pay more in tax in this country, and that is because they make more. Arguably, they'd pay more under a flate rate (but not a flat tax) because they'd be taxed at the same rate on more dollars.***
Okay, here is a 2002 tax table from the IRS:
If your income was $5,000 as a Single, you should pay Uncle Sam $503 (~10%). If $20,000, then $2,704 (~13.5%). If $50,000, then $9,853 (19.7%). If $90,000, then $21,323 (23.6%).
Is that fair? It'll depends on what philosophy you have about 'fairness'.
***With certain exceptions, ANYBODY, whether they make 20 grand or 80 or 120 or more has the benefit of the lower tax rates for the first dollars earned. AND anybody that makes more and passes the threshold to the higher rates is taxed at those rates on the dollars above the threshold.***
Well, all $90K of your income is taxed at 23.6%. Even the first $5K is taxed at that rate. A totally 'fair' system might give you a refund if you make $5K the following year (e.g., you were laid off, took a sabbatical, etc), but the system is not designed to be completely 'fair' to an individual, it also must consider what is needed by society as well as the limitations of tax departments.
***Belief in God is not some secular policy or philosophy like, say, capitalism. It is, by definition, religuous. Our Constitution does create special protections for religious beliefs (and race, creed, color, national origin), unlike philosophical beliefs. Therefore, it must be treated differently, regardless of a majority opinion.***
I agree that certain philosophies held by the State are more secular in nature, and therefore do not test the First Amendment like a controversial test such as abortion, posting the Ten Commandments in schools, school prayer, etc, however there isn't always a clear line between secular beliefs and sacred beliefs. For example, euthanasia is a both a 'secular' crime and also considered a moral issue. Society needs to hold certain sacred beliefs in order to justify many of its secular beliefs. For example, a purely secular issue may hold no position on whether humans actually have free will (i.e., are accountable for their actions). However, society cannot reasonably accept such a non-chalant view about free will. A society is forced to hold some collective sacred views about such matters in order to underwrite its basic secular philosophies which its constitution is based.
In any case, whether such sacred views are needed or not, the tradition of the country is that these kind of sacred views have always been part of the dialogue taking place within the government and country in general. The written intent of the First Amendment was not to prevent such sacred philosophies from being held or communicated to the masses, but rather to prevent abuses in both religious and secular totalitarianism from taking over the country. The amendments are to protect the nation from this course of action.
Warm regards, Harv