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IRS Warns Churches Against Campaigning
AP via Drudge ^ | Jul 18, 1:51 PM EDT

Posted on 07/18/2006 2:58:24 PM PDT by aceintx

Edited on 07/18/2006 3:04:41 PM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Internal Revenue Service has been warning churches and nonprofit organizations that improper campaigning in the upcoming political season could endanger their tax-exempt status.

In notices to more than 15,000 tax-exempt organizations, numerous church denominations and tax preparers, the agency has detailed its new enforcement program, called the Political Activity Compliance Initiative, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Under the initiative, the IRS plans to expedite investigations into claims of improper campaigning, no longer waiting for an annual tax return to be filed or the tax year to end before launching a probe. A three-member committee will make an initial review of complaints and then vote on whether to pursue the investigation in detail.

"While the vast majority of charities and churches do not engage in politicking, an increasing number did take part in prohibited activities in the 2004 election cycle," IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson said in a statement. "The rule against political campaign intervention by charities and churches is long established. We are stepping up our efforts to enforce it

Since 2004, the IRS has investigated more than 200 organizations, including All Saints Church in Pasadena.

Two days before the 2004 presidential election, the Rev. George F. Regas, the church's former rector, delivered a guest sermon that pictured Jesus in a debate with George W. Bush and John Kerry. Although Regas didn't endorse a candidate, he said Jesus would have told Bush that his pre-emptive war policy "has led to disaster."

The church drew national attention when the Rev. Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints, disclosed the IRS investigation and later said the agency believed the church had violated federal tax code barring tax-exempt organizations from intervening in political campaigns and elections.

Church leaders have not heard from the IRS since October, when the agency said the investigation was being taken to a higher level, according to Regas. The IRS has not confirmed whether the investigation is still ongoing.

Of the 62 organizations determined by the IRS to be in violation, three lost their nonprofit status and 59 received warning letters. The three who lost their status were not churches, and some of those warned were ordered to pay an excise tax.

Federal law prohibits the IRS from releasing the names of those under investigation, but the agency said it has more than 100 cases pending and 40 of them are churches.

This month, OMB Watch, a Washington-based nonprofit government watchdog group, issued a report criticizing the IRS enforcement program and said the program could prompt retaliatory and harassment complaints unless the agency develops clear guidelines.

"I don't think this is a case of bad faith," said Kay Guinane, author of the report. "I just think it's a poorly structured program."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: church; churchandstate; churches; election2006; irs; politicking; state
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Every pastor, priest, rabbi, and imam in this country should be screaming “CENSORSHIP” at the top of their lungs! I don’t care if this is a liberal church that supported John Kerry….THIS IS WRONG! I went to sleep in America and woke up in the Soviet Union!
1 posted on 07/18/2006 2:58:25 PM PDT by aceintx
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To: ancient_geezer; Man50D; Badray; biggun; Principled; pigdog

Ping-a-roo!


2 posted on 07/18/2006 3:00:25 PM PDT by Conservative Goddess (Politiae legibus, non leges politiis, adaptandae)
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...
Catholic Ping List
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


3 posted on 07/18/2006 3:01:14 PM PDT by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: aceintx

Relax. There will be zero enforcement against mosques and black liberal churches.


4 posted on 07/18/2006 3:02:13 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (crime would drop like a sprung trapdoor if we brought back good old-fashioned hangings)
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To: aceintx

Looks like the IRS trumps the first ammendment to the constitution. One can dream that the Supreme Court members are able to read (and write).


5 posted on 07/18/2006 3:02:29 PM PDT by Voltage
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...
Catholic Ping List
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


6 posted on 07/18/2006 3:02:35 PM PDT by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: aceintx
But, did any of these IRS warnings go to black churches, where the likes of Billyjeff Clinton and His Indescribable Holiness, the Rt. Rev. Jesse Jackson, are wont to give political sermons. Huh? Huh? [Crickets chirping.]

P.S. Interested in a Freeper in Congress? Keep in touch with me.

Congressman Billybob

Latest article: "Stupidity about WW III: 'Here's your Sign' "

7 posted on 07/18/2006 3:02:51 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob (http://www.ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: aceintx

You're wrong. If churches want to maintain their tax exceptions they need to stay out of politics. That's the law.

The difference now seems to be that for a change it's going to be enforced. This will cripple black churches if it's enforced evenly.


8 posted on 07/18/2006 3:03:30 PM PDT by kjo
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To: aceintx

The great abuser --- the First AME Church. It is nothing but a political arm of the Rat party.


9 posted on 07/18/2006 3:04:04 PM PDT by doug from upland (Stopping Hillary should be a FreeRepublic Manhattan Project)
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To: aceintx


Churches where Revrund Jackson and Revrund Sharpton, or any churches where Democrats are campaigning, need not worry.

This ruling only applies to conservatives and churches that believe the Bible.


10 posted on 07/18/2006 3:04:32 PM PDT by Westbrook (Having more children does not divide your love, it multiplies it!)
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To: Voltage
Looks like the IRS trumps the first ammendment to the constitution,

And the 4th and any other they deem necessary to "enforce" tax compliance.

Just another reason to abolish and demolish the IRS.

11 posted on 07/18/2006 3:04:46 PM PDT by unixfox (The 13th Amendment Abolished Slavery, The 16th Amendment Reinstated It !)
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To: aceintx

I saw this. I always found it interesting how the IRS (and yes, liberal bed wetters) treat the church as an independent being that exists in some sort of vaccuum. Last I heard a church's membership is comprised by persons who already presumably pay taxes, and whatever funds a church acquires is from those persons.


12 posted on 07/18/2006 3:05:27 PM PDT by guido911 (Islamic terrorists are members of the "ROP", the "religion of pu*&ies")
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To: Vigilanteman

correct.


13 posted on 07/18/2006 3:05:54 PM PDT by pipecorp (my muhammed portrait 8(_o_)8 nice likeness, eh?)
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To: aceintx
Earlier post.

-PJ

14 posted on 07/18/2006 3:06:58 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's still not safe to vote Democrat.)
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To: aceintx
Every pastor, priest, rabbi, and imam in this country should be screaming “CENSORSHIP” at the top of their lungs!

There is this matter of a little bit of law that gets in the way. If you want to maintain your tax-free status; you must be non-political. Now, if you want to become a political entity, and accept or solicit funds for political causes; knock yourself out. However, in keeping with the laws on the books; you can not do this and remain in the tax-free status.

15 posted on 07/18/2006 3:07:32 PM PDT by Hodar (With Rights, come Responsibilities. Don't assume one, without assuming the other.)
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To: Voltage

Why not? they already trump the 14th. Why not others as well?


16 posted on 07/18/2006 3:07:35 PM PDT by Shimmer128 (Tolerance becomes crime when applied to evil. Thomas Mann)
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To: kjo
"If churches want to maintain their tax exceptions

Given that you probably meant to say "exemption" instead of "exceptions", I would agree only if Federal Funding to ANY school where teachers OR professors encourage DEMOCRAT/LIBERAL/SOCIALIST views and votes also LOSE THEIR FEDERAL FUNDING

What do you think ?

17 posted on 07/18/2006 3:16:01 PM PDT by traditional1
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To: kjo

Black southern baptist churches have for years been used as a recruiting platfotm for liberal democrats.
With no enforcement of these laws.


18 posted on 07/18/2006 3:17:18 PM PDT by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: aceintx
This is unconstitutional. And if they are so worried why are they not on top of the ACLU? Looks as though the left is taking over and going to force the Christians to kneel before them, or go underground.
19 posted on 07/18/2006 3:19:13 PM PDT by YOUGOTIT
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To: aceintx

Do you know how the limitations on the political activities of non-profits came about?

From the website: Renew America

"Approximately half a century ago, then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson (D-T.X.) successfully attached a restriction on the partisan activity of non-profit groups to that year's tax bill. At the time, no one recognized the seemingly minor attachment as a major development in the American political or religious communities. Yet, the relationship between God and government had been significantly altered. After the sea change, churches were prohibited from engaging in partisan activities such as endorsing candidates. Violators can lose their tax exempt status.

Congressman Jones accurately labels Lyndon Johnson's law as politically motivated. Many Texas-based non-profits opposed Johnson's reelection bid for the U.S. Senate, and he had no intention of allowing them to interfere for a second time. Using his position as majority leader, Johnson was able to effectively legislate his opposition out of existence."

The Texas-based non-profits were Baptist churches, or should I say Baptist preachers who were warning their congregations of Johnson's bad character. LBJ didn't like their "meddling" so the used legislation to silence his opponents.


20 posted on 07/18/2006 3:21:55 PM PDT by freedom4me ("Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom."--Ben Franklin)
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To: aceintx
The rule has been around a long time. Every now and then someone would find something "enforced" against them. However, this Mark W. Everson, has proposed something that compounds the original error substantially by going after everybody.

Irrespective of his having been a government employee off and on for a number of years under various Presidents, he's also worked for 10 years as an executive with the Pechiney Group, ONE OF FRANCE’s largest industrial groups which is where he lost his identity as an American with due sensitivity to the needs and feelings of the religious majority in this country.

Where'd Bush dig this one up? Is he another one of those semi-closeted types like that ne'er do well who screwed up FEMA during the Katrina crisis?

The only way this will work out well is if this character manages to anger a very large number of people. Then, we might get the support necessary to get the rule(s) rescinded. As it is, I'm not going to let a note by a petty bureaucrat having a hissy fit bother me in the least. Insofar as I can find the time to violate this order I will do so.

Sic Semper Tyronnis.

21 posted on 07/18/2006 3:25:07 PM PDT by muawiyah (-)
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To: kjo
"You're wrong. If churches want to maintain their tax exceptions they need to stay out of politics. That's the law.'

A law that I consider unconstitutional and one that was passed by anti-American Democrats to protect their members of congress. Since no one is required to appear in court where a jury can declare the law unconstitutional the IRS can do what they want.
But how come they do not investigate the ACLU or the churches where Jessy Jackson or Bill Clinton go to campaign?
22 posted on 07/18/2006 3:25:10 PM PDT by YOUGOTIT
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To: kjo

"The difference now seems to be that for a change it's going to be enforced. This will cripple black churches if it's enforced evenly."

I don't think it has ever been enforced evenly. As I understand it, LBJ was sick of being called liberal, so the law was written, but enforcement was selective from the start.


23 posted on 07/18/2006 3:28:32 PM PDT by ChessExpert (MSM: America's one (Democratic) party press)
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To: aceintx
Every pastor, priest, rabbi, and imam in this country should be screaming “CENSORSHIP” at the top of their lungs! I don’t care if this is a liberal church that supported John Kerry….THIS IS WRONG! I went to sleep in America and woke up in the Soviet Union!

They can say whatever they want. There is no reason for my tax dollars to go to support political speech (such as encouraging, aiding and abetting Illegal Invasions). You want the exemption, follow the rules. If you want to say whatever you want in violation of those rules, give up the exemption.

The biggest issue is that this isn't being evenly applied. ALL tax-exempt churches should be barred from entering the political fray.

24 posted on 07/18/2006 3:29:03 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (A Conservative will die for individual freedom. A Liberal will kill you for the good of society.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
If you don't remember, here's my post from the other thread where Jesse Jackson Jr. said in 2000 that black church campaigning should "supercede the law."

-PJ

25 posted on 07/18/2006 3:29:13 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's still not safe to vote Democrat.)
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To: YOUGOTIT
A law that I consider unconstitutional and one that was passed by anti-American Democrats to protect their members of congress.

Please show me where in the Constitution it says we have to give churches tax exemptions. Please show me where the "anti-American Democrats" passed the legislation at issue.

26 posted on 07/18/2006 3:30:46 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (A Conservative will die for individual freedom. A Liberal will kill you for the good of society.)
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To: Snapping Turtle

Ping!


27 posted on 07/18/2006 3:31:38 PM PDT by Rabid Dog
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To: aceintx

No, it's not wrong. If churches want to give up their tax advantages, they can do exactly what they want, politically. But I, as a taxpayer, do not want to subsidize any political activities that I don;t directly support.


28 posted on 07/18/2006 3:31:57 PM PDT by mike70
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To: aceintx

This is not WRONG. Churches should not be involved in endorsing candidates. They are tax free because they are not a political organization. If they want to pay taxes, their FREE SPEECH can be exorcised. Every "Religious" non-profit entity knows the rules when they get their IRS status.


29 posted on 07/18/2006 3:33:35 PM PDT by Integrityrocks
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To: Congressman Billybob
But, did any of these IRS warnings go to black churches, where the likes of Billyjeff Clinton and His Indescribable Holiness, the Rt. Rev. Jesse Jackson, are wont to give political sermons. Huh? Huh? [Crickets chirping.]

The rank and file of federal bureaucracy are natural constituents of the Democrats. They are the party of the New Deal, and the vast majority of the beltway bureaucrats owe their livlihood to the massive expansion of government they have wrought. They'll take care of their own.

30 posted on 07/18/2006 3:35:28 PM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: kjo
This will cripple black churches if it's enforced evenly.

It won't be. Democrats openly campaign in black churches all the time.

Is preaching that abortion and homosexuality are sins being political? That's the danger.

31 posted on 07/18/2006 3:35:52 PM PDT by Conservativegreatgrandma
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To: kjo
This will cripple black churches if it's enforced evenly.

It won't be. Democrats openly campaign in black churches all the time.

Is preaching that abortion and homosexuality are sins being political? That's the danger.

32 posted on 07/18/2006 3:35:53 PM PDT by Conservativegreatgrandma
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To: traditional1

"I would agree only if Federal Funding to ANY school where teachers OR professors encourage DEMOCRAT/LIBERAL/SOCIALIST views and votes also LOSE THEIR FEDERAL FUNDING"

I know the "educator" who is in charge of the gifted program in our school district. Her greatest passion is teaching students to "think critically" about religion. She insists to me that there really is a "first amendment separation of church and state." Of course, one must "believe in evolution." It would be wrong to "think critically" about evolution. Basically, she is an evangelical atheist on the school payroll.


33 posted on 07/18/2006 3:37:03 PM PDT by ChessExpert (MSM: America's one (Democratic) party press)
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To: kjo
You're wrong. If churches want to maintain their tax exceptions they need to stay out of politics. That's the law.

No. Churches have always been allowed to speak out on issues related to their Faith and ministry, i.e. moral issues like homosexuality and abortion. They may not endorse candidates, but they can sure talk alot about the issues being debated.

34 posted on 07/18/2006 3:39:36 PM PDT by ElkGroveDan (California bashers will be called out)
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To: kjo
"This will cripple black churches if it's enforced evenly."

The "IF" is the big qualifier. Nobody will dare critisize black churchs or Jesse Jackson will say the Bush administration is targeting blacks in a racist manner, etc. That is the same reason nothing is done about the voter fraud in black districts--they scream racisim and everyone backs off.
35 posted on 07/18/2006 3:39:44 PM PDT by Hendrix
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To: freedumb2003

"Please show me where in the Constitution it says we have to give churches tax exemptions. Please show me where the "anti-American Democrats" passed the legislation at issue."

See Comment 20:

See Below:

"Approximately half a century ago, then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson (D-T.X.) successfully attached a restriction on the partisan activity of non-profit groups to that year's tax bill. After the change, churches were prohibited from engaging in partisan activities such as endorsing candidates. Violators can lose their tax exempt status.

Many Texas-based non-profits opposed Johnson's reelection bid for the U.S. Senate, and he had no intention of allowing them to interfere for a second time. Using his position as majority leader, Johnson was able to effectively legislate his opposition out of existence."

Please read:

Amendment I of our Constitution


36 posted on 07/18/2006 3:41:36 PM PDT by YOUGOTIT
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To: YOUGOTIT

There is nothing in the first Amendment that says we have to tax subsidize churches.

Any church can operate without any interference from the government. But if you want money from the government you need to follow the rules.


37 posted on 07/18/2006 3:49:41 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (A Conservative will die for individual freedom. A Liberal will kill you for the good of society.)
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To: ChessExpert
It would be wrong to "think critically" about evolution.

You really, really, really don't want to start a thread hijack here.

I will be kind for the moment.

38 posted on 07/18/2006 3:51:47 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (A Conservative will die for individual freedom. A Liberal will kill you for the good of society.)
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To: aceintx

This IRS intimidation campaign applies of course ONLY to support for Republicans.


39 posted on 07/18/2006 3:52:18 PM PDT by FormerACLUmember (No program, no ideas, no clue: The democrats!)
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To: Conservativegreatgrandma
Is preaching that abortion and homosexuality are sins being political? That's the danger.

Preaching that people should flat-out disobey our nation's Immigration Laws IS political.

Endorsing a political candidate IS political.

Churches should look after people's souls and leave the politics alone.

40 posted on 07/18/2006 3:54:01 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (A Conservative will die for individual freedom. A Liberal will kill you for the good of society.)
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To: YOUGOTIT

But I will admit this might have started out a political ploy -- but it is a good rule, if evenly applied.


41 posted on 07/18/2006 3:58:49 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (A Conservative will die for individual freedom. A Liberal will kill you for the good of society.)
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To: freedumb2003

All I have to say is:


"STAY OUDDA BUSHES!


42 posted on 07/18/2006 4:01:19 PM PDT by Wristpin ("The Yankees announce plan to buy every player in Baseball....")
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To: Wristpin
"STAY OUDDA BUSHES!

OK, you lost me...

43 posted on 07/18/2006 4:03:49 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (A Conservative will die for individual freedom. A Liberal will kill you for the good of society.)
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To: aceintx

White churches I suppose . They won't dare go after a black church I bet . . .


44 posted on 07/18/2006 4:10:35 PM PDT by lionheart 247365 (( I.S.L.A.M. stands for - Islams Spiritual Leaders Advocate Murder .. .. .. ))
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To: freedumb2003

During the 2000 campaign Jesse Jackson was filmed at a Black Church screaming "Stay Oudda Bushes!" It was all over the MSM.

The church nor his organization had their tax-free status affected.


45 posted on 07/18/2006 4:13:27 PM PDT by Wristpin ("The Yankees announce plan to buy every player in Baseball....")
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To: aceintx
the agency has detailed its new enforcement program, called the Political Activity Compliance Initiative,

And no doubt there are plenty on the left who would love to see even more churches PACIfied.

46 posted on 07/18/2006 4:15:57 PM PDT by IMRight
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To: aceintx
some of those warned were ordered to pay an excise tax.

The excise tax is the most ergregious part.

Not only must the church pay back-taxes (with interest and possible penalties) on all of its earnings going back several years, the IRS also slaps an additional 10% "excise" tax against the church's future offering-collections at the plate that lasts for up to three additional years. Outrageous.

47 posted on 07/18/2006 4:29:06 PM PDT by Gideon7
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To: Integrityrocks

However, there is pressure to construe the restrictions more broadly than endorsing a candidate, and to speak out on issues generally, like same sex marriage if there is a referendum. I would hope the tax restrictions would be construed narrowly so as not to eviscerate the rights of churches to speak out substantively on moral issues of the day without fear of losing tax exemption.


48 posted on 07/18/2006 4:36:37 PM PDT by Unam Sanctam
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To: freedumb2003

Since When did the 1st Ammendment take away the free-speech rights of PASTORS, and other church workers...

"Churches should look after people's souls and leave politics alone": THAT IS ABSURD!


49 posted on 07/18/2006 4:42:20 PM PDT by JSDude1 (www.pence08.com)
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To: Vigilanteman
This is the Jesse Jackson campaign committee's marching orders...
50 posted on 07/18/2006 4:48:22 PM PDT by pointsal (Q)
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