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?
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.
Thank for your honestly, but pray and faint not. (2 Cor 10:6) “And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
Who else has to pay taxes to have free speech? Where is this requirement in the Constitution regarding the freedom of speech? Why should Pastors and Priests get muzzled because their employing institutions don't pay taxes? Again, where is this limitation on free speech in the Constitution?
I am really disturbed by comments on this thread. Does anyone understand that people seeking freedom of religion were the first to settle this land?!
They sought FREEDOM from government persecution and intervention in the practice of their faith!
Now we have so called conservatives on FR who think it’s okay to allow the government to silence religion through the use of taxation?
There is truly a sad lack of basic education regarding the vital history of this country.
Wake up..educate yourselves...this is the greatest experiment in individuality and freedom in the history of the world. Become a part of it... don’t allow it to be destroyed.
And the IRS i have read that the IRS actually states churches alone are de facto tax exempt, w/out registering as 501(c)(3)
And it won't be for exclusively discussing the Word of God.
The God given right and obligation for men and women to defend themselves against any and all oppression will be a central tenet.
God bless the USA.
I dare say that the most effectual and balanced conservatism flows out of Bible based evangelical Christian faith. Like as worked towards abolition of slavery, while yet mainly seeking to free souls from the greater form of slavery.
Why let any organization have non-profit status, then? Churches are as deserving of non-profit status as any of the other non-profits. Once again, where is the limitation on free speech in the Constitution to those who pay taxes? Do we have to "pay" for our free speech with taxes? Plenty of people, and other organizations, don't, and they still have free speech rights.
Nobody in a church has to vote the way any Pastor or Priest tells him/her to. But commenting on moral/political issues should be the job of any Pastor or Priest who has something to say on a given issue.
This is a grossly unconstitutional law, and is also manifestly unfairly applied (only a secondary issue).
My pastor does. Every Sunday, with boldness.
They decided to draw the fire of the separation of church and state crowd by deliberately having preachers give political opinion to the flock from the pulpit. They even sent taped sermons with this “illegal” act on them to make it easy to be attacked in court by the IRS. We are awaiting the response of the government now and hope to snip Barry Lynn and the People for the Separations of Church and state's reason for existing to pieces. See below and donate to the ADF today. They are an army of Christian attorneys fighting for the rights of ALL people of faith.
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Pulpit Freedom Sunday
Participating pastors will exercise First Amendment right to speak on positions of electoral candidates Sept. 28
Thursday, September 25, 2008, 8:05 AM (MST) |
ADF Media Relations | 480-444-0020
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Pastors participating in the Alliance Defense Funds Pulpit Freedom Sunday will preach from their pulpits Sept. 28 about the moral qualifications of candidates seeking political office. The pastors will exercise their First Amendment right to preach on the subject, despite federal tax regulations that prohibit intervening or participating in a political campaign.
Pastors have a right to speak about Biblical truths from the pulpit without fear of punishment. No one should be able to use the government to intimidate pastors into giving up their constitutional rights, said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. If you have a concern about pastors speaking about electoral candidates from the pulpit, ask yourself this: should the church decide that question, or should the IRS?
Pulpit Freedom Sunday is an event associated with the ADF Pulpit Initiative (www.telladf.org/church), a legal effort designed to secure the First Amendment rights of pastors in the pulpit. A document explaining what the Pulpit Initiative is and is not is available at www.telladf.org/UserDocs/WhatIsPI.pdf.
ADF is not trying to get politics into the pulpit. Churches can decide for themselves that they either do or dont want their pastors to speak about electoral candidates. The point of the Pulpit Initiative is very simple: the IRS should not be the one making the decision by threatening to revoke a churchs tax-exempt status. We need to get the government out of the pulpit, said Stanley.
Stanley explained that, contrary to the misunderstandings of many, tax-exempt status is not a gift or subsidy bestowed by the government.
Churches were completely free to preach about candidates from the day that the Constitution was ratified in 1788 until 1954. Thats when the unconstitutional rule known as the Johnson Amendment was enacted, explained Stanley. Churches are exempt from taxation under the principle that there is no surer way to destroy religion than to begin taxing it. As the U.S. Supreme Court has noted, the power to tax involves the power to destroy. The real effect of the Johnson Amendment is that pastors are muzzled for fear of investigation by the IRS.
After Sept. 28, ADF plans to provide via news release a list of pastors who participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.
I don’t like the govt taking money from anyone, but I’m tired of churches not speaking about politics. Churches need to become very vocal and not care about the consequences.
Amen. The church as seen by the Founders was principally made up of tax paying citizens. And as the Gov. itself is the largest non-profit, and yet suppported by taxes, a requirement that an org. must be a paying taxes to express pol. speech is problematic.
I agree with all the reasons why churches shouldn’t pay taxes.
But right now, they are afraid of loosing their non-profit status, and that is ridiculous. The churches need to become vocal.
Oh, what bliss to have our biggest problem be Hillary saying, “A’hm no ways near tahred.” Sigh. The good old days.
It is a logical extension of the faith.
The present state of global affairs can be further understood by reading "Gulliver's Travels".
Furthermore, today's clerics for the most part got their start in academics.
If you can't do, teach; if you can't teach, preach.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
While the Christian faith does manifest that the early church began with a perfect form of communal living, the context was that of a uniquely transformed people who therefore freely forsook all and shared communally, and entrusted the administration not to politicians, but to proven men, vetted by the same Lord who supernaturally radically transformed their hearts and lives, and which men demonstrated their qualifications by consistent Divine supernatural attestation (not Obamateleloquence). And who demonstrated that they were able and hard workers in secualar trades. This context sets it critically in contrast with other models.
And it is manifest in the Scriptures as being more an basic model that would quickly adapt to changing changing situations, as it rather quickly was dispersed to share the faith, and in which believers owned their own property, and even had rich men among them.
(Acts 2:43-46) “And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,”
(Acts 5:12-13) “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.”
(1 Cor 4:12) “And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:”
(1 Tim 6:17-18) “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;”
>What are some of the Obama-voting Catholics thinking?<
That they may have made a mistake for moralistic reasons because of the abortion issue. Some are starting to realize that the war and the economy should’ve been secondary motives for voting for Obama and that abortion question should’ve been the more important factor in their choice of candidate.
I am not a Catholic, but I heard a lot about Catholic bishops urging right to life voting.
I have also heard that certain “Catholic” politicians have been refused communion over their abortion promotion.
I have also heard that Catholic preachers are forbidding their parishioners communion until they do penance, if they voted for a pro-abort candidate.
The Mormons have been singled out for their support of CA’s Prop 8. Not as well publicized have been the ethnic CA churches, as in the black ones, the Asian, the Filipino, the Pacific Islander churches - very active and vocal.
James Dobson endorsed McCain.
Only 24% of evangelicals voted Demoncratic for President.
Hey, be yourself at the “bad” church, maybe they’ll ask you to leave!!
I’m not saying be obnoxious, I’m just saying, speak out.
Due to my accidental attendance at a “Unitarian” Church, it is quite clear to me that this church does not respect the separation of church and state - the “church” attacks the state at will, with no fairness - no problemo.
Socialism is not a logical extension of the Christian faith.
No where in Scripture is government charged with taxing people to provide social programs or charity.
Great... that’s what it is all about!
The state is to leave the church alone...
The church can attack the state... just as it should be.
“Only 24% of evangelicals voted Demoncratic for President.”
And I’m guessing most of them were black - so excited to have a man who is partly of their race that they ignored the deep flaws in his character.
Some (at least) independent fundamental Baptist churches were not silent in spite of the blanket intimidation they felt. At least one pastor here read the statements, record and plans of The One regarding abortion and some other matters to us, to be sure we all knew. He described “partial birth abortion” in detail. That’s really all that was needed. Oh, he read the threatening letter he got about losing tax-exempt status aloud first. The only “campaign” materials in the church were maps of the voting precincts and numbers so everyone would be sure to know where to go. It can be done. At least it still could a month ago. But this was a small 100% pro-life church, and I wonder how many are any more.
Then he’s one of the few.
Is that the best explanation for Algore?
that post is a good reality check.
Clearly, we all do, dufus!
Where is this requirement in the Constitution regarding the freedom of speech?
Not there at all, dufus!
Why should Pastors and Priests get muzzled because their employing institutions don't pay taxes?
They are not "muzzled" because they have to pay taxes, anymore than us peons - if fair, like most taxpaying citizens, they might be free to speak their minds (within limits, say something bad about Osama, er. Obama), such as it is.
One of the offensive things of the CFR is that it protects an obviously biased, and subjectively identified group of people ("reporters"), to have freer voice (not subject to prosecution if voiced) than the ordinary citizen. Why? Why? I believe to benefit the unscrupulous cruds who have taken over control of the federal offices, of course.
Interesting. At Annunciation Parish in Houston last Sunday the pastor pointed out in his homily that political Leftism was on the march all over the world. He spoke at length about what this means for the Church. The parish is somewhat traditionalist, although not in any schismatic way . Very involved in the pro-life movement.
Well, Jesus did after all instruct that one guy to pray behind closed doors by himself in private, and not make a display of it.
We elders and ministers in our church decided that we should be more concerned for souls than for politics. As a result we made no remarks about politics.
We wanted people of both parties to be in a politics free zone.
I want people to follow Jesus and do not publish my political beliefs in our congregation.
Some will call that cowardice or other such names, but our citizenship is in heaven and we do not want to turn away those who might disagree with our political stand.
Neither of the major candidates were particularly palatable to the Christian Right, or to Christian organizations. One cannot speak out against one or the other, as they BOTH held anti-Christian, anti-Life, anti-Marriage views.
To speak out against one is to recommend the other, and both were pointedly on the do_not_recommend list.
In my associations, most voted Keyes, wrote in Paul, or did not vote at all. Normal Christian grassroots were almost completely inactive- none of the activists groups I am with did anything this year at all.
"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke
Then you are sadly mislead. Conservative Evangelicals are particularly anti-socialist almost militantly so. So are Conservative Catholics.
It is the Church's job to take care of the poor, not the government's. It is socialism's kin (liberalism) which erodes the moral foundations of our Christian nation and causes all of our moral ills. Moral relativism and multi-culturalism are a bane to the Judeo-Christian ethic. The Church (and the Synagogue), in all of it's myriad Conservative forms recognize this perfectly, and oppose it profoundly.
These are indeed troubling times for orthodox Christians of whatever theological flavor - faced with assault by Islam - the Father of the Lie - on their home grounds and wracked by dissention within their own ranks from socialist schismatics, to whom Christ is viewed as some bizarre proto-communist activist instead of the Son of God and Saviour Whose Kingdom was “Not of this earth”.