Skip to comments.Pastor endorsing partisan political party?
Posted on 05/26/2005 8:11:25 AM PDT by mbarker12474
Federal 501c3 IRS law places tax-exempt status of churches contingent on the church not performing a "substantial" amount of legislative lobbying, and on the church or church official's not making endorsements of a political party or candidate.
So, does a pastor's placement of partisan stickers on his personal vehicle, coupled with declarations of his status as clergy in a denomination, pass this 501c3 test?
See the photo. Is this an individual who happens to be clergy making a political endorsement? Or is this a clergy official making a political endorsement?
No way this is a problem.
Can't see pic. Went to website and note says, "temporarily unavailable". However, pastors are people and entitled to their opinion, and if just happens to coincide with his brethren, what of it? Besides, not one govt agency has ever pursued the "Rev." Jesse Jackson for his obnoxiousness political activities and business shakedowns as a so called "man of the cloth."
Democrats make campaign stops in black churches in the south and that doesn't seem to be a problem.
I guess there are too many of us trying to see the picture. But I can guess by the keywords that the bumper sticker doesn't say BUSH/CHENEY.
Let's not get like the whiny libs in trying to snag the opposition with every syntactic trick. He's entitled to his opinion, even if he's wrong.
Ack! Sorry about the dead pic...... Guess I live and learn about free web sites and restrictions on data transfer.... Mike B.
A law I would like to see challenged in court. Amazing how easily the First Amendment is used as toilet paper.
Check the Bill of Rights, the part that says we have freedom of speech. Anyone is entitled to their opinion as a private person. By Law, I cannot wear my uniform to appear with a candidate for office in order to endorse them. But I sure can have loads of stickers on my car, even if in uniform. That is the kind of thing the law is talking about so, take a cool drink, find some shade and enjoy life.
Nothing to see here. Move on... (does sound like a Move On concern.)
Well, he tried to endorse a non-partisan political party, but he couldn't find one (unless you count the GOP).
For over 180 years it was conventional wisdom and court precedent that taxing a Church was unconstitutional. Lyndon Johnson wrote the legislation that created a status where churches had to apply for this 'privilege'. It is not clear that a church has to be a 503(c) group to be tax-emempt. But Johnson has effectively completed his mission, putting the churches under control of the government and people now accept this as law. I find it disturbing. A minister can't say what his political beliefs are, that is just plain wrong no matter how you look at it.
I don't see it as being a tax problem. I see it being a moral / religious problem, but not a tax one. Plus, what's up with this guy being a Yankees fan? Doesn't he realize that they're the evil empire? That's almost as big a sin as having the Kaine sticker on his car!!!
The rule is enforced in a one-sided manor. The Democrats can make stops in black churches, and be left alone. But picture the howls of rage if George W. Bush had stopped at a conservative Presbyterian church...
Actually, churches are automatically considered tax-exempt which makes them unlike other groups which must affirmatively apply for that designation.
It is not clear that a church has to be a 503(c) group to be tax-emempt.
They essentially mean the same thing. Although, for a few reasons, a group may decide to be, say, a 501(c)(4) instead of a 501(c)(3). To a layperson, the distinction is minor.
I find it disturbing. A minister can't say what his political beliefs are, that is just plain wrong no matter how you look at it.
Sure a minister can. They just can't endorse candidates within their offical capacity as an officer/employee of the church. Well, unless they do away with their tax-exempt status.
And that's the problem. A majority of churches value money over the ability to speak their minds.
Kilgore ping. This is a non-issue unless he's saying stuff from the pulpit (which he very well could be).
The Yankee sticker bothers me as much as anything else...
The question is about interpretation of current law, not whether we agree with the law or not.
I have approached Virginia's tax commissioner about the issue of "substantial" legislative lobbying by churches, giving him a fair amount of data supporting the case that the UMC in Virginia does a substantial amount of lobbying. He (not suprisingly) didn't volunteer to jump into this issue.
I personally think the bumper sticker case is on the "its an individual opinion" side of the line. But a close call.
This particular pastor stays away from politics in the pulpit (though he did once take an unfair swipe at Trent Lott from the pulpit, and he is very much a lefty).
There seems to be no case law (in Virginia at least) on the whole church tax-exemption issue.
A comparison point would be Hatch Act cases and state and federal employee prohibitions against partisan political activity.
IMO, the UMC in Virginia fails the "substantial" lobbying test, and, if the law was enforced, should lose its tax-exempt status.
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