Skip to comments.1,000 Pastors to Challenge IRS, Talk Politics From The Pulpit
Posted on 09/26/2012 2:04:47 PM PDT by NYer
More than 1,000 pastors will challenge the IRS on October 7 by preaching sermons that present biblical perspectives on the positions of electoral candidates.
In so doing, they will exercise their constitutionally protected freedom to engage in religious expression from the pulpit despite an Internal Revenue Service rule known as the Johnson Amendment that activist groups often use to silence churches by threatening their tax-exempt status.
Groups such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State have taken advantage of the vagueness of the tax law and have reported churches to the IRS in an attempt to remove their tax-exempt status. The organization has also sent threatening letters to church warning them not to allow election literature from pro-life groups to be distributed on their property.
The pastors are participating in Alliance Defending Freedoms fifth annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday and the figure of 1,000 pastors doubles doubling last years participation. Registration continues until October 7, so the number continues to rise.
Pastors should decide what they preach from the pulpit, not the IRS, said Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley of ADF. Its outrageous for pastors and churches to be threatened or punished by the government for applying biblical teachings to all areas of life, including candidates and elections. The question is, Who should decide the content of sermons: pastors or the IRS?
No government-recognized status can be conditioned upon the surrender of a constitutionally protected right, Stanley explained. No one would suggest a pastor give up his churchs tax-exempt status if he wants to keep his constitutional protection against illegal search and seizure or cruel and unusual punishment. Likewise, no one should be asking him to give up his churchs tax-exempt status to be able to keep his constitutionally protected right to free speech.
Pulpit Freedom Sunday is an event associated with the Pulpit Initiative, a legal effort designed to secure the free speech rights of pastors in the pulpit. Alliance Defending Freedom hopes to eventually go to court to have the Johnson Amendment struck down as unconstitutional for its regulation of sermons, which are protected by the First Amendment.
Pulpit Freedom Sunday began in 2008 with 33 participating pastors. Participation increased each year, with last years participation blossoming to 539. This years registered participation is currently 1,050 and growing.
A national phone survey conducted by Alliance Defending Freedom and LifeWay Research with 1,000 randomly drawn senior pastors prior to last years Pulpit Freedom Sunday found that nearly nine out of 10 Protestant pastors believe that the government should not regulate their sermons. http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/5076
Pastor Luke Emrich of New Life Church in West Bend, Wisconsin participated in 2008 and told his congregation on Sunday that he supported McCain as did Rev. Ron Johnson Jr., the senior associate pastor at Living Stones Church in Crown Point, Indiana.
“If a candidate supports something that is evil and wicked from a biblical perspective,” Johnson said, “then I have the right to call out the wickedness, and I have the right to say this is what this person stands for this is wrong.”
The Rev. Jody Hice of Bethlehem First Baptist Church outside of Atlanta also endorsed McCain in 2008 and said he based his recommendations on McCains opposition to abortion compared to Obamas strongly pro-abortion position.
These are not political issues, Hice said. There are moral issues.
It’s ok if they’re in black churches.
1001...I just sent to my favorite Pastor. I can guarantee he’ll join in.
The IRS rule is an end run around the Constitution and should be abolished.
Churches have Constitutionally protected free speech, BUT if they choose to exercise that free speech in a manner the government disapproves of, the government penalizes them by raising their tax rate.
If the government is going to force churches to fund abortions then f the governments rules about politics from the pulpit.
Let the insurrection begin. This is as good a place as any. If they prosecute dissolve and reform. A name doesn’t mean much.
Apparently this was not an issue at all until 1954:
The Johnson Amendment was passed by Congress in 1954 as an amendment to section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code. The Johnson Amendment states that entities who are exempt from federal income tax cannot:
Participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.
In 1954, Johnson was facing re-election to the Senate and was being aggressively opposed by two non-profit anti-Communist groups that were attacking Johnsons liberal agenda. In retaliation, Johnson inserted language into the IRS code that prohibited non-profits, including churches, from endorsing or opposing candidates for political office. In effect, Senator Johnson used the power of the go-along Congress and the IRS to silence his opposition. Unfortunately, it worked. Some in Johnsons staff claimed that Johnson never intended to go after churches, only the two nonprofits in Texas. Nevertheless, his sly amendment to the tax code affected every church in America, and it is a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Barak obastard ... the four most evil presidents in the history of the country.
In the 58 years since this was added, seems strange that I have never heard of an attempt to amend the amendment and get rid of it.
Come and get me, Copper!
This has been going on in “Democrat” churches for ever. Black churches are the worse. They should have had their tax status stripped eons ago.
You beat me the the punchline.
Eric Witholder is our nation's the "top cop" [barf] and is committed to his New Black Panthers, Black Caucus communists, and his law firm Covington & Burling who handled Blago and pro bono - Gitmo detainees.
In March 2004, Holder and Covington & Burling were hired by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to act as a special investigator to the Illinois Gaming Board. The investigation was subsequently canceled on May 18, 2004.
According to The American Lawyer's annual pro bono survey, Covington lawyers spent 3,022 hours on Guantánamo litigation in 2007, "the firm's largest pro bono project that year".Lawyers from the firm who have become administration officials have been advised by ethics officials to recuse themselves in matters involving detainees represented by their former firms, but not from policy issues where they were not personally and substantially involved. Lanny Breuer is one of those who has had to recuse on from some [sic] matters since leaving the firm for a government position.Covington also co-authored one of three petitioners' briefs filed in Boumediene v. Bush, "and was responsible for several detainee victories" in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. "At least one high-ranking appointee played a key role in advancing detainees' rights," but they did not participate in litigation over the Guantanamo Bay prison itself.
P.S. sorry for the Wikipedia references, but the source is respected by progressives, so it's unassailable /sarc
The IRS has overlooked the Dhim slave quarters for too long to pretend to care anymore.
The statists are in hypergallactic global turbo mode to "control freedom in order to preserve it".
Religious freedom? Separation of Church and State? ObamaCare forces employers to provide abortions to their employees. Romney forced Catholic Charities to stop providing adoptions in Mass. because they would have been required to do same sex adoptions. He tried to force Catholic Hospitals to perform abortions. San Francisco City Council and Board of Supervisors passed a resolution condemning the Catholic Church. These are examples of what is happening to religious freedoms.