Skip to comments.Pastors Challenge Law, Endorse Candidates From Pulpit
Posted on 06/20/2008 8:09:07 AM PDT by XR7
Few Americans would invite an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, but that's exactly what Minnesota pastor Gus Booth wanted when he stood behind his pulpit and told his congregation God wanted them to vote Republican.
In an election where candidates openly discuss their faith and are regularly seen in churches, and a time when pastors' sermons lead the politics sections of newspapers, one might be excused for not knowing that it is illegal for a church to endorse or oppose a candidate for president.
But when Booth addressed the members of his Warroad Community Church one Sunday in May and told them, "If you are a Christian, you cannot support a candidate like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton for president," he very much knew he was violating the law. He even wrote a letter to the IRS explaining what he had said and challenging the tax collection agency to do something about it.
Churches and other non-profit groups like charities and universities do not have to pay taxes. That exemption, however, comes with a price. Churches, and by extension the pastors who serve them in an official capacity, are not allowed to endorse or oppose political candidates.
Booth, 34, is one of several religious leaders who this year hope to challenge federal law by flouting the regulations about endorsing candidates from the pulpit, a move that could potentially cost them their tax-exempt status, creating financial ruin for many congregations.
The separation of church and state may be one of our democracy's most vaunted values...
Booth and other religious leaders who want to challenge the government believe their rights to freedom of speech and religion, enshrined in the First Amendment, permit them to say whatever they want, wherever they want. Those rights, they say, should trump a 54-year-old tax code...
(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...
Anybody disagree with him?
So why register your church with the IRS and agree not to endorse candidates in the first place?
Unfortunately it often happens the other way around - Democrats.
It is possible to avoid this entirely by citing scripture and saying that Christians need to vote for the pro life, pro family candidates. Then handout questionnaires/checklists of where everyone stands after the service.
....Sharpton and Jackson laughing their asses off right now
I agree with you!!!
the there's the WWJD thingy - He kept the two entities separated: "Render unto Caesar..." and
his action is akin to the folk who refuse to pay income tax and end up behind bars, with nada accomplished - and lastly -
I wonder if he first got his congregations approval to put the church in jeopardy of financial ruin?
Sometimes, whistling into the wind is just a futile act. Spitting into the wind is a foolish one.
You suck at the master’s teat, you play by the master’s rules.
They rendered their church unto Caesar when they voluntarily registered as a 501c3 corporation with the IRS.
The IRS giveth and the IRS taketh away.
Without going to the link, is there any mention of Democrats and “Black Churches” or Jessie, or Al or Jermemiah?
Bro, we probably agree on 98% of issues. We just disagree on your favorite talk show host, and maybe favorite flavor of Ice Cream (Chocolate).
There are so many ways a pastor can talk politics as far as who and who not to vote for you just have to word it right. without ever mentioning a party by name just layout what a supposed good Christian should and should not stand for based on Biblical truths.
If I want an unsolicited worthless political opinion, I can always rely on the MSM. When I go to church, I would like to learn something about spiritual things that I do not already know. And what I do not know about spiritual things is infinite. When it comes to politics I know too much, I have to make a simple choice. Do I choose the Devil I do know or do I choose the Devil I don’t know.
First of all, ‘separation of church and state’ appears no where in the U.S. Constitution; it’s a fabrication allegedly founded on the ‘establishment’ clause. Secondly, this IRS harassment will focus exclusively on white conservative institutions and completely ignore the goings on in churhes operated by the likes of Reverend Wright (that would be racist-Wright gets mentioned, finally, at page 3 of the above article). This selective persecution will get a ‘pass’ from the MSM, as did the Clintons use of the FBI to gather intelligence on political enemies and the selective use of IRS audits to intimidate conservative organizations like the Heritage Foundation. An Obama presidency, along with the full support of the alleged ‘watchdog’ media, will be the beginning of the end of civil liberties in America. As is is now on many college campuese, the key to survival will be KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT AND DO NOTHING TO REVEAL YOUR THOUGHTS.
The worst that can happen is the church will lose its tax-free status. Some would say, myself included, that this would be a good thing. Now the pastor is truly free to preach the whole Word of God without any government restrictions. He could back any candidate he wanted to and even name names. They may have to cut a program or two because of a tighter budget, though.
(I gag when I say former church because Obama only gave up his membership for political purposes, not because he disagrees with anything that was preached there.)
Other "non-profit, tax-exempt organizations as well have no problem with endorsing liberal candidates: NEA, Planned Parenthood, et al.
It is only when conservstive congregations and pastors come out favoring pro-life, pro-family, pro-faith messages from the bible, face IRS "investigations" (some might refer to them as "inquisitions") from the secular, leftist, hate-mongering "IRS".
And then only when "congressional or private citizens" report them and have the strong arm of the (in)Justice Department come after them.
I’ve fought against leftist politics in my own church but I’ve backed off my earlier position of banning politics in the pulpit. My position is now that they can do as they please, but I reserve the right to debate, withhold funds, or just leave.
This is clearly designed to create a test case. If the pastor has the approval of his board of deacons (or it’s equivalent), then more power to him.
It is constitutionally questionable that the United States restricts constitutional rights in order for a bona fide religious organization to be tax exempt.
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