Skip to comments.IRS Surrenders: Time For Churches to Get ‘Political’
Posted on 11/05/2012 12:16:46 PM PST by Kaslin
The jig is up. The news is out. Pastors across America have called the lefts bluff. The empty words separation of church and state a phrase found nowhere in the U.S. Constitution have lost their sting.
Yes, separation still applies, but only insofar as it requires the state to remain separate from the church. That is to say, that government not interfere with the free exercise of either speech or religion.
For decades, hard-left anti-theist groups like the ACLU, People for the American Way (PFAW) and Barry Lynns Americans United (AU) have employed a cynical disinformation scheme intended to intimidate clergy into silence on issues of morality, culture and Christian civic involvement issues that are not political so much as they have been politicized, issues that are inherently religious.
AU, for instance, recently sent 60,000 letters to churches across the nation warning pastors, priests and rabbis that If the IRS determines that your house of worship has engaged in unlawful intervention, it can revoke the institutions tax-exempt status.
Thats a lie.
Despite hundreds of thousands of threatening letters sent by these liberal outfits (and as many complaints filed with the IRS) not a single church has ever lost tax-exemption for socio-political activity zip, zero, nada. Not even for endorsing candidates from the pulpit. The left has cried wolf far too many times. No one will come running. Especially not the IRS.
Thats because churches, unlike other nonprofit organizations, dont need a letter of tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service. Churches are constitutionally tax-exempt simply by virtue of existence. Its automatic. The only way the IRS could revoke a churchs tax-exempt status would be to disband the church, which, obviously, the government has no authority to do. Its simple. Pastors, if you get a letter from the ACLU, PFAW or AU, I suggest a singular use for it: bird-cage liner.
Keeping all this in mind, something Ive long expected has finally occurred. A little over a week ago, the IRS ran up the white flag. That bureaucratic bully we all love to hate announced that, for the indefinite future, it is holding any potential church audits in abeyance, for violating its arbitrary no politicking rule.
This rule stems from the blatantly unconstitutional Johnson Amendment, which, in 1954, was introduced by then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson. At the time, Johnson was facing opposition from Christians and anti-Communists. He pushed the rule through in an effort to muzzle them.
Unfortunately, his scheme has achieved much success. That is, until now. I suspect the realization that it lacks constitutional authority to yank any churchs tax exemption for politicking has prompted the IRS to finally lay down its arms.
But theres a back story. Since 2008, the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has spearheaded a First Amendment exercise called Pulpit Freedom Sunday. Since then, thousands of pastors across America have boldly exercised their guaranteed constitutional rights by addressing political issues from the pulpit. This has included directly endorsing candidates. These pastors have dared the IRS to come after them and, not surprisingly, the IRS has balked.
Essentially, the goal was twofold. First, it was hoped that if the IRS tried, somehow, to revoke a churchs tax-exempt status, that church could sue and, once and for all, have the Johnson Amendment ruled unconstitutional.
The second possibility was that, rather than having the no politicking rule completely thrown out, the IRS would choose, instead, the path of least resistance that it would simply do nothing. It has chosen door No. 2. Not only has the IRS done nothing, it has, at least for now, completely thrown in the towel.
The next step is to repeal the toothless Johnson Amendment. This will do away with any residual confusion. A Republican-led Congress and a President Romney could do just that.
Indeed, the staggering gravity of Tuesdays election has weighed heavily on the hearts of spiritual leaders who, hitherto, have remained completely apolitical. Obamas unprecedented attacks on life, freedom, faith and family have prompted the Rev. Billy Graham, for instance, to run full-page advertisements in newspapers across the country, urging voters to choose candidates who support biblical values of life, natural marriage, and religious liberty.
People are taking notice.
This is unprecedented for the worlds best-known evangelist, said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. Billy Graham has always steered clear of politics. In reality, Billy Graham has merely raised his prophetic voice like any preacher should when biblical and moral values are placed in jeopardy by politicians.
John MacArthur, a well-known pastor and author who, over the years, has spoken out against Christian political advocacy, has also had a dramatic change of heart. I was amazed that one of the historic parties in the U.S. adopted the sins of Romans 1 as their platform, MacArthur said of the DNC in a recent Sunday morning sermon. This is a new day in our country. Parties that used to differ on economics, now differ dramatically on issues that invade the realm of Gods law and morality.
I am beginning to see more and more pastors waking up and realizing that biblical and moral issues are under attack and they have no choice but to speak, noted Staver. This isnt politics; it is biblical and moral issues that have been politicized.
In 1980, Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell, along with other venerable Christian leaders, was central to placing Ronald Reagan in the White House. Todays socio-political stage is strikingly similar. Pastors are poised to do the same thing for Mitt Romney.
At the time, Falwell gave a rousing call to arms: What is wrong in America today? he asked. We preachers and there are 340,000 of us who pastor churches we hold the nation in our hand. And I say this to every preacher: We are going to stand accountable before God if we do not stand up and be counted.
Pastors, stand up and be counted. The IRS muzzle has been removed. The choice is clear.
You know what to do.
Now go and do it.
liberal churches have always been active politically, they are more about politics than religion anyways
Some churches being political are more equal than others.
I've always felt the best solution is for churches to renounce their tax-exempt status & say whatever they want.
With the shekels come the shackles.
The Baptists of America were pushing for a wall around the American government, not a wall around American Christianity.
This is a good article. Thank you.
8. Cut funding to UN, withdraw from membership/participation, evict them from their NY location and out of the Country.
This has always been a non-issue. The IRS has no power over churches that the churches don’t voluntarily give them.
[O]ur excellent Constitution
has not placed our religious rights under the power of any public functionary.
(Letter to the Methodist Episcopal Church (Jefferson Writings, Vol. XVI, p. 325, to the Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church on December 9, 1808)
“On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed”
[Thomas Jefferson, memoir, Correspondence and Miscellanies From the Papers of Thomas Jefferson. (Boston: Gray & Bowan, 1830)
That is easy.
Abolish Dept of Education
End all corporate and agricultural subsidies
End all funding of non-government organizations
Merge all welfare/entitlement programs into one monthly cash dole, one bureaucracy instead of 50.
(welfare bureaucracy eats up about $500 billion of the welfare budget a year)
I think that’d be a start
This has always been about silencing true biblical viewpoints in the political process.
True biblical believers obey the laws/rules.
Leftists, not so much.
> If the “muzzle” if off for churches it will also be off for
> other non-profits like Planned Parenthood, NAACP, etc.
In case you haven’t noticed, Planned Parenthood and other Lefty “non-profits” have been openly supporting democrat candidates for generations. In the case of Planned Parenthood, not only are they tax-exempt, but they are the beneficiaries of BILLIONS in federal and state tax funding.
As the article indicates, the IRS never sent any threatening letters to churches. Organizations like the ACLU and PAW did in order to scare and bully conservative churches into silence.
The cat’s out of the bag, now, and the Left loses another bully tactic.
At 1 PM on January 20, 2013, Notify the US Marshals that they are to remove every Federal Prosecutor from his or her office immediately, and lock down every document, computer, and isolate every network, then, once the Marhsals are in place, immediately fire EVERY Federal Prosecutor.
Indiduals have religious freedom and so do religious organizations.
As the leftists try to brainwash Christian/normal American children that bullying is disagreeing with their amoral dictates, teach your own children to stand up for all opinions expressed in school and to stand up to liberal homofascists and racists with their friends. They are not the sexual toys of adults who enjoy talking dirty to other people. Tell your kids adults are not supposed to talk dirty to them; their sexual feelings are personal and nto the government’s business. Public schools are government.
It worked for my sons and their friends and it will work for other parents, too. Parents need to intimidate the teachers for sexual harrassment and intolerance of religious freedom whenever they target and harass kids. In volume, they break and go back in their closets where they belong.
Keep documentation - letters to the file and participants of parent/teacher conferences. File law suits.