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Pastors from 475 churches nationwide take part in Pulpit Freedom Sunday today
God Discussion ^ | October 2, 2011 | Dakota O'Leary

Posted on 10/02/2011 8:56:19 PM PDT by Alex Murphy

Pulpit Freedom Sunday, sponsored by the Allied Defense Fund is in its fourth year.   This year has seen participation up nearly five times as many participants as last year's total of 100 pastors.  Pulpit Freedom Sunday is a demonstration, of sorts, and a test of freedom of religion as an IRS law says pastors endorsing political candidates from the pulpit can mean forfeiture of their 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.   Forbes reports:

The 1954 version of the Internal Revenue Code added restrictions on 501(c)(3) organizations such as churches so they couldn’t participate in political campaigns.   For many of us who grew up knowing that rule, it seemed to make sense.  The tax advantages churches and other charities receive are considerable.

Yet constitutional lawyers and scholars can and do debate whether this limitation on the speech and activities of churches is unconstitutional.  The stick the IRS has is considerable, including the threat the tax exemption of churches could be revoked.  The IRS does the best it can to fairly enforce the most complex tax system in the world. On the whole, it does a pretty good job.

But the IRS is in a pickle.  For as you’ll see in The Political Pulpit, the IRS is criticized if it enforces the rules and if it doesn’t.  Perhaps the IRS, the churches and their free-speaking figureheads will find a way to compromise. However, this now annual foray into (more) religion-infused politics (or is that politics-infused religion?) may be more about whose pulpit is bigger.

What the IRS will do about these 475 churches speaking out in violation of their tax code remains to be seen. Clearly, ADF believes that pastors ought to have unbridled freedom of speech from the pulpit.  The Dakota Voice adds:

“Pastors and churches shouldn’t live in fear of being punished or penalized by the government,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “Churches should be allowed to decide for themselves what they want to talk about. The IRS should not be the one making the decision by threatening to revoke a church’s tax-exempt status. No government-recognized status can be conditioned upon the surrender of a constitutionally protected right. That’s why ADF started Pulpit Freedom Sunday: to get the government out of the pulpits of America.”

Pulpit Freedom Sunday is an event associated with the ADF Pulpit Initiative, a legal effort designed to secure the free speech rights of pastors in the pulpit. ADF hopes to eventually go to court to have the IRS rule known as the Johnson Amendment struck down as unconstitutional for its regulation of sermons, which are protected by the First Amendment.

It's a "damned if you do, and damned if you don't" situation for the Internal Revenue Service, that's for sure, God bless em.


TOPICS: Evangelical Christian; Mainline Protestant; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: churches
“Pastors and churches shouldn’t live in fear of being punished or penalized by the government,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “Churches should be allowed to decide for themselves what they want to talk about. The IRS should not be the one making the decision by threatening to revoke a church’s tax-exempt status. No government-recognized status can be conditioned upon the surrender of a constitutionally protected right. That’s why ADF started Pulpit Freedom Sunday: to get the government out of the pulpits of America."
1 posted on 10/02/2011 8:56:27 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

I don’t know what I think about this. I do NOT like politics in my church service ... AT ALL.

But ... anything that screws with the IRS is ok by me.


2 posted on 10/02/2011 9:21:06 PM PDT by RIghtwardHo
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: Alex Murphy; Natural Law; MarkBsnr
Pulpit Freedom Sunday today

Ah, it's one of your group's Presbyterian usa gay pastors talking about their gay marriage, eh? Finally come out!

4 posted on 10/02/2011 11:06:07 PM PDT by Cronos (OPCers don'’t worship the same God:Our's is love, theirs predestines ppl 2 eternal torment)
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To: RIghtwardHo

The Bible addresses all spheres of life, including politics.

If you object to having politicians “preach” from the pulpit as though they were giving the gospel, I agree with you.

But if you object to the idea that God gives us principles that apply to ALL of our lives, including the political sphere, than I disagree with you.


5 posted on 10/02/2011 11:22:17 PM PDT by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: RIghtwardHo

The Bible addresses all spheres of life, including politics.

If you object to having politicians “preach” from the pulpit as though they were giving the gospel, I agree with you.

But if you object to the idea that God gives us principles that apply to ALL of our lives, including the political sphere, than I disagree with you.

Christians should be educated about applying God’s words to all of their lives, whether at home, at work, at the playground, at school, or in the voting booth.


6 posted on 10/02/2011 11:23:12 PM PDT by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: Persevero
The Bible addresses all spheres of life, including politics. If you object to having politicians “preach” from the pulpit as though they were giving the gospel, I agree with you. But if you object to the idea that God gives us principles that apply to ALL of our lives, including the political sphere, than I disagree with you. Christians should be educated about applying God’s words to all of their lives, whether at home, at work, at the playground, at school, or in the voting booth.

Excellent post!

7 posted on 10/03/2011 5:29:32 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: Alex Murphy
This year has seen participation up nearly five times as many participants as last year's total of 100 pastors. Pulpit Freedom Sunday is a demonstration, of sorts, and a test of freedom of religion as an IRS law says pastors endorsing political candidates from the pulpit can mean forfeiture of their 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

Ideally yes, but don't they have more important things to do? I hear little enough of Jesus as it is.

8 posted on 10/03/2011 6:48:57 AM PDT by Lee N. Field ( "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Gal 3:29)
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To: RIghtwardHo
I don’t know what I think about this. I do NOT like politics in my church service ... AT ALL.

Ditto. Where I warm a "pew", it would be some ill thought through conservative hobby horse. Down the street, the same thing with a lefty green (or Red) slant. Neither of which fits my personal politics. And they cut into the precious narrow Lord's Day window.

Don't waste my time. There's more important things to do with the gathered saints on the Lord's Day.

9 posted on 10/03/2011 6:55:10 AM PDT by Lee N. Field ( "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Gal 3:29)
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To: Lee N. Field

Thank you. So nicely put.


10 posted on 10/03/2011 9:41:49 AM PDT by RIghtwardHo
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