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IRS Surrenders: Time For Churches to Get ‘Political’
Townhall.com ^ | November 5, 2012 | Matt Barber

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 left’s 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 Lynn’s 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 institution’s tax-exempt status.”

That’s 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.

That’s because churches, unlike other nonprofit organizations, don’t need a letter of tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service. Churches are constitutionally tax-exempt simply by virtue of existence. It’s automatic. The only way the IRS could revoke a church’s tax-exempt status would be to disband the church, which, obviously, the government has no authority to do. It’s 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 I’ve 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 church’s tax exemption for “politicking” has prompted the IRS to finally lay down its arms.

But there’s 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 church’s 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 Tuesday’s election has weighed heavily on the hearts of spiritual leaders who, hitherto, have remained completely apolitical. Obama’s 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 world’s 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 God’s 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 isn’t 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. Today’s 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.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: billygraham; faithandfamily; faithandpolitics; religiousfreedom

1 posted on 11/05/2012 12:16:47 PM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
Christmas Shopping list of where the Romney administration needs to cut the federal budget...

1.# Cut and defund the E.P.A.
2.# Cut and defund the department of Education.
3.# Cut and defund the Department of Homeland Security. BIG SIS YOUR FIRED !
4.# Cut and defund HUD.
5.# Cut and defund the national endowment of the arts and PBS.
6.# Cut and defund the IRS.
7.# Repeal Obamacare Healthscare program.
2 posted on 11/05/2012 12:23:16 PM PST by American Constitutionalist
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To: Kaslin

liberal churches have always been active politically, they are more about politics than religion anyways


3 posted on 11/05/2012 12:25:48 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: GeronL

Some churches being political are more equal than others.


4 posted on 11/05/2012 12:28:57 PM PST by American Constitutionalist
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To: Kaslin
If the "muzzle" if off for churches it will also be off for other non-profits like Planned Parenthood, NAACP, etc.

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.

5 posted on 11/05/2012 12:30:07 PM PST by gdani
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To: Kaslin

The Baptists of America were pushing for a wall around the American government, not a wall around American Christianity.


6 posted on 11/05/2012 12:30:15 PM PST by ansel12 (Vote, but don't pretend.)
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To: GeronL
GeronL ? please get your Christmas shopping list together where the Romney administration should cut federal spending.


7 posted on 11/05/2012 12:31:10 PM PST by American Constitutionalist
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To: Kaslin

This is a good article. Thank you.


8 posted on 11/05/2012 12:31:37 PM PST by Beowulf9
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To: American Constitutionalist

8. Cut funding to UN, withdraw from membership/participation, evict them from their NY location and out of the Country.


9 posted on 11/05/2012 12:31:53 PM PST by ObozoMustGo2012
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To: Kaslin

This has always been a non-issue. The IRS has no power over churches that the churches don’t voluntarily give them.


10 posted on 11/05/2012 12:32:32 PM PST by DManA
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To: ObozoMustGo2012
" 8. Cut funding to UN, withdraw from membership/participation, evict them from their NY location and out of the Country. "


Please, please, please GOD ? pretty please ? let it be so ?
11 posted on 11/05/2012 12:34:32 PM PST by American Constitutionalist
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To: Kaslin

[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)


12 posted on 11/05/2012 12:35:19 PM PST by ICE-FLYER (God bless and keep the United States of America)
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To: ObozoMustGo2012
That Christmas item on the Christmas wish list alone has gotten me into the Christmas spirit.....

MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND !

Anyone going to put up their Christmas Tree early if Romney wins ?
13 posted on 11/05/2012 12:37:28 PM PST by American Constitutionalist
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To: American Constitutionalist

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


14 posted on 11/05/2012 12:38:38 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: GeronL
GeronL ? I am going to put up Christmas lights and decorations early when Romney/Ryan wins...

MERRY CHRISTMAS GERONL !!! SEASONS GREETINGS !!
15 posted on 11/05/2012 12:39:35 PM PST by American Constitutionalist
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To: GeronL

This has always been about silencing true biblical viewpoints in the political process.

True biblical believers obey the laws/rules.
Leftists, not so much.


16 posted on 11/05/2012 12:39:36 PM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: American Constitutionalist
Basically I agree with all but the IRS. This organization need a huge change and some of its unconstitutional authority taken away. But since we have the National Income tax we will need some kind of enforcement. Hopefully some day the income tax will be abolished and replaced with another tax system.
17 posted on 11/05/2012 12:41:38 PM PST by Logical me
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To: gdani

> 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.


18 posted on 11/05/2012 12:47:20 PM PST by Westbrook (Children do not divide your love, they multiply it.)
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To: American Constitutionalist
The HIGHEST PRIORITY, though it will not cut spending, requires no help from Congress and no assistance from the Bureaucracy -- which will fight against any conservative idea tooth and nail anyway -- is very, very simple:

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.

19 posted on 11/05/2012 12:50:41 PM PST by FredZarguna ("Post Hoc, ergo propter hoc," is no way to reason through life, son.)
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To: Kaslin

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.


20 posted on 11/05/2012 12:52:47 PM PST by SaraJohnson
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To: Westbrook
In case you haven’t noticed, Planned Parenthood and other Lefty “non-profits” have been openly supporting democrat candidates for generations.

In case you haven't noticed, Planned Parenthood - as well as a bunch of groups on the left and right - openly endorse candidates using their PAC, not their 501(c)(3) organization.

21 posted on 11/05/2012 12:53:57 PM PST by gdani
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To: Logical me
Christmas wish list for the Romney administration.

9.# Roll back or repeal any if not all over bearing federal regulations that hurt businesses perform in the new economy.

The reason why I say " NEW ECONOMY " is it will hopefully be a new day after tomorrow.

Maybe ?

Romney can say today at one of the Rallies : " ONE MORE DAY WHEN WE FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORM OUR OVER BURDENED SICKLY ECONOMY INTO A NEW HEALTHY ECONOMY WHERE AMERICAN LIVES WILL BE FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED FOR THE BETTER HERE IN AMERICA " ......
22 posted on 11/05/2012 12:57:04 PM PST by American Constitutionalist
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To: American Constitutionalist

ATF...


23 posted on 11/05/2012 12:58:13 PM PST by karnage
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To: FredZarguna

Exactly what Clinton did.


24 posted on 11/05/2012 1:00:12 PM PST by karnage
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To: Westbrook
Amen Westbrook. Was a youngin when this came down the road. Remember the discussions which ensued in the church was in. Remember the meetings. Remember the contacts with other church pastors. As I said I was a youngin. I am not and have never been a Pastor. Remembered most from those days the do we take a stand speaches or do we turn the other cheek. The other cheek was decided to be turned. I was heartbroken, knew we were in for a rough ride after that day. Have spoken a few times on this here at this forum of Free Republic. Am overjoyed once again and have noticed a new day, a day where the Constitution and the Church can once more live side by side in the pulpit. With God's Help, America will be Free once more in the pulpit. Amen. Amen.
25 posted on 11/05/2012 1:15:38 PM PST by no-to-illegals (Please God, Protect and Bless Our Men and Women in Uniform with Victory. Amen.)
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To: karnage
Yep. They are political appointees and they serve at the pleasure of the President.

I have no doubt that they'll start shredding everything from lunch-lists to hard drives starting first thing on Wednesday morning, so we may never know the extent of illegality and corruption, but at least they'll be out of "public service" for a while.

He also needs to fire the DNI, and to tell David Petraeus that based on his statements concerning Benghazi on September 14th, that he is either incompetent or complicit in the cover-up, but that either way he expects his resignation effective immediately.

26 posted on 11/05/2012 1:21:29 PM PST by FredZarguna ("Post Hoc, ergo propter hoc," is no way to reason through life, son.)
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To: Kaslin
At our Mega-Church yesterday we had an hour long sermon to vote for Romney (and other Christians). The Church is about 45% black and it was great even the blacks were clapping.

One black with an ZERO button on his shirt said to his wife that they need to find a better church. I felt like telling him to go to Rev Wrong's church in Chicago!

27 posted on 11/05/2012 1:26:23 PM PST by ExCTCitizen (Yes, Obama, I had help with my business. MY CUSTOMERS!)
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To: FredZarguna

May The Bear be suggested, if he can and will, for that post?


28 posted on 11/05/2012 1:26:34 PM PST by no-to-illegals (Please God, Protect and Bless Our Men and Women in Uniform with Victory. Amen.)
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To: Kaslin
Could this be so the hate speech is not restricted in the mosques? Don't get me wrong I think that the church should be free to say what they believe, but sometimes I wonder if these things that happen aren't for other reasons. Call me skeptical.

It brings to mind the amendment on the last election ballot in Missouri that make it illegal to restrict the practice of one’s religion at school. The Christians may benefit but it would probably never have happened if it wasn't for the Muslims.

29 posted on 11/05/2012 2:01:22 PM PST by Guardian Sebastian
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To: American Constitutionalist
0.# Cut, defund and jail the BATFE.
30 posted on 11/05/2012 4:15:39 PM PST by TXnMA
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To: ObozoMustGo2012

31 posted on 11/05/2012 4:21:00 PM PST by TXnMA
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To: American Constitutionalist

Also add the groin groping TSA. The biggest p.i.t.a. for travelers yet. I don’t feel one bit safer with those thieving perverts touching my junk and then touching my other junk.


32 posted on 11/05/2012 8:38:31 PM PST by BipolarBob (Willie Stark for president.)
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To: Kaslin
Keeping all this in mind, something I’ve 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.

The Rats didn't want the political top blown off of Rat church politicking.

33 posted on 11/05/2012 8:42:11 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (cat dog, cat dog, alone in the world is a little cat dog)
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To: BipolarBob

groin gropers and skin scanners, who can’t even read their own signs.


34 posted on 11/05/2012 8:44:40 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (cat dog, cat dog, alone in the world is a little cat dog)
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To: Kaslin; All

Don’t celebrate yet... New information:

Has The IRS Given Up On Auditing Churches?
http://blog.speakupmovement.org/church/churches-and-politics/has-the-irs-given-up-on-auditing-churches/

“...Since that time, the IRS has not been auditing any churches to the best of our knowledge. It has proposed new regulations to designate a higher official in the ranks of the IRS to approve all church audits but it has never finalized those regulations. No one really knows what the delay is, but we believe that the IRS will finalize its regulations at some point and will once again begin auditing churches.”


35 posted on 11/05/2012 9:05:51 PM PST by PastorBooks
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