Skip to comments.Silence of the Pulpits - Why?
Posted on 11/15/2008 5:32:16 PM PST by Penn4God
In view of the 2008 election, the Christian churches have been noticeably silent. Is this reluctance due to their fear of losing the tax exempt status?
The recent election highlights this issue quite well. Candidates held moral positions that were in direct opposition to known biblical teachings. Despite the candidates support for issues like abortion, religious leaders allowed these candidates to go unchallenged from their pulpits.
Religious leaders are fearful of losing the tax-exempt status if they speak out strongly regarding moral positions that candidates hold. Religious leaders are not directing their comments from their pulpits to influence decisions about candidates based on biblical truths. The result is the election of a pro-abortion, radical candidate for president that many christians supported.
Is it time to amend the IRS code to allow religious leaders the freedom to speak on current issues that have become politicized? The original intent of this IRS code was to silence churches in Texas who spoke out against Lyndon Johnson. The result has been the muzzling of the church by the goverment. Do we call this a free republic?
>In view of the 2008 election, the Christian churches have been noticeably silent.<
Because they are aware that they gave to Ceasar that which belongs to God.
Exactly - so churches need to remain tax exempt.
If the restriction on free speech was enforced to the degreethe ambiguity of the law allows, it could motivate anough ministries to lobby for it’s appeal. But a frog is best boiled slowly.
“Im sure theyre deliriously happy that Obama won.
...United Church of Christ, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterian USA...”
In all fairness, don’t leave us Catholics out. There are many of us who got an obamism (not my original expression) when the messiah was elected. Some of them are slowly realizing that they bet on the wrong horse.
I say let the churches pay taxes, then they can say what they want.
What do you think the odds of that happening under the Obama presidency, with an almost filibuster proof Senate and big majority in the House?
I do not believe that the government should not be able to take God’s money. They have enough of their own.
*correction* The government should not take money from the church for any reason.
There never was a need fr any non-profit to forsake it’d tax exepmy status in order to execise full freedom of speech until the 501(3)(c) was put though.
Now, any 501(3)(c) non-profit can lose their tax exempt status if they, as an org., officially support a candidate or conduct political campaign activities to influence elections to public office, but members and even the leader or pastor (but officially not as rep. the org.) can do such. Public charities are permitted to conduct a limited amount of lobbying to influence legislation.
The 501(3)(c) restriction are a recent invention, put thru by then Sen. LBJ in order to prevent opposition from a secular nonprofit. It is an unconstitutional restriction of freedom of speech, but few feel much curtailed by it, and it assures givers their donations are tax deductable. And good evidence exists that churches need not be 501(3)(c) but are defacto tax exempt.
Non profits can be formally involved in politics by registering as 501(c)(4 which allows a broader ability to lobby for legislation.
Here’s the IRS summary of 501(c)(3) organizations:
To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.
The IRS summary of the term “exempt purposes” is:
The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals. The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.
The fact is that mainline churches, Prot. an Cath, are typically far more liberal in both moral views and doctrine than their evang. couterparts: http://peacebyjesus.witnesstoday.org/RevealingStatistics.html#Sec4
However, all Baptist, Lutheran, etc. are lumped together.
What are the implications of a change to a 501 (4)(c) status? How would this effect the church’s ability for free speech?
Sadly, there are many “yellow dog” Democrats interspersed among the church congregations and the pastors of those churches are in most cases, to their shame, dependent on their salaries too much to make their Democrat sheep offended. We attended one like that for over three years, and I was miserable, in large part because of just that fact. Having communion with these people was not particularly a happy thing to me, but my husband was so into the place that it was a long time before I finally cried foul. - There’s another very small church near us that is totally in agreement on the conservative side in their politics. Hubby didn’t like that one all that well, but I may just go back there and at least visit some of the time. Church hasn’t been a very happy place for me in a long time due to the strain between us; I finally just quit going for a while altogether.
True somewhat, but actually except for outright official political endsorements and such like, churches yet can preach strongly in such as way that it is clear who to vote for. But that can change.
Meanwhile, i read that the 501(c)(3) tax exempt Planned Parenthood org. rallied votes for one particular candidate on tax purchased and maintained property all across the nation.
I agree with you. Seems we have all bought into the notion that the government has the right to tax everyone and everything except those which it, in its benevolence, exempts. I think it used to be the other way around: government had to justify whom it intended to tax.
Funny how ACORN is not only tax exempt, but also receives Federal Funds, yet is EXTREMELY politically active... Criminally Active. Yet that doesn’t seem to cause a problem (except for those locals who have been busted for false voter registrations). But not a word about their very biased political activity...
The idea behind tax exempt status for churches is to specifically get the government out of religion. With the power to tax churches comes the power to control them.
But I fail to see why churches cannot (legally, and without government scrutiny) specifically line out the issues and compare candidates to the church’s doctrine and beliefs.
And let us not forget the Clinton campaign years - campaigning by invitation from African-American churches - with direct endorsements from those pastors... with not a single sound from the government about THOSE church’s and their tax exempt status...
This is not even the argument used for the Gov. orginally i think, but that NPOs help the Gov. by spending much time and money helping society in ways the Gov. would or could not do, and more effeciently. Someplace the amount must be given.
The change sought is not in 501(4)(c) but 501(3)(c). The answer can pretty much be derived from thread #49 http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2132855/posts?page=49#49
Acorn is likely a 501(4)(c) which allows more poltical activity. For instance, Focus on the Family is a 501(3)(c) org. but Focus on the Family action 501(4)(c) “is a cultural action organization that is completely separate from Focus on the Family, legally. It has been created by separating out of Focus on the Family those activities which constitute lobbying under the IRS code so that they can be expanded in scope. It will provide a platform for informing, inspiring and rallying those who care deeply about the family to greater involvement in the moral, cultural and political issues that threaten our nation.” http://www.citizenlink.org/focusaction/
Note, i am not lawyer but this is the result of some research i hve done. Now do we want to talk about the potential for conservative (esp. Christian) free speech being much curtailed on the Web by liberal enforcement of the near universal language of most TOS agreements you must sign to be on a forum? “Or .. otherwise objectionable,... or violative of ANY law?”
Religion is a protected class in our constitution.
Government has to be separate from religion... religion is not required to be separate from government.
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