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Preach Politics from the Pulpit

from BATR:

When is a law unconstitutional and defaces the First Amendment?  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; is as clear cut as any assertion in the basic law of the land. YetDonald Trump correct — Lyndon Johnson passed legislation limiting political activity of churches and has lead to the systematic exclusion of religious political speech. Yet the Johnson amendment survived court challenges in 1983, 1990 and 2000, according to Pew. Such perversion of fundamental rights endowed by God and subverted by government illustrates that the nature of politics defies the only legitimate authority, which any society can derive and claim its moral authority upon.

“An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. Their voice has been taken away,” Trump said. “I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and to protect free speech for all Americans.

The threat of losing tax-exempt status persists as long as the law is in place, and politically-minded religious groups, particularly evangelicals, have regarded it as a suppression of free speech and an entanglement of the IRS in the operation of their religion.”

Contrast this punitive assault on religion with our historic tradition and understandHow the Johnson Amendment Threatens Churches’ Freedoms.

“Our nation once had a longstanding tradition of church involvement in the political activity of the day. It was previously commonplace for pastors to preach about political issues and candidates.

[F]or the first century and a half of our nation’s history, ‘election sermons’ were commonplace in which pastors appealed to their congregations to support or oppose particular candidates based on their positions on issues.  Religious leaders did not merely speak about moral principles alone – they encouraged church members to take specific action in the voting booth to support those principles.”

With the prevailing anti-intellectualism culture which passes for secular humanism, the political establishment has become hell bent on isolating, marginalizing and restricting the pulpit from engaging in criticism of the government regime. Ploys that prohibit the phony partisan differences divert from the true intent behind the exclusion of God from the public square.

The notion that an artificial and penalizing force of intimidation and corruption like the IRS can displace the free exercise of religious speech out of a contrived and byzantine submission to ridicules restrictions, prove that tax exemption defined by an ungodly administrative system is pure absurdity.

Note that the American Bar Association contends in Nonprofits and Lobbying.

“When many people think about nonprofits and lobbying, they might think of a relationship like oil and water: they don’t mix. There is a widespread perception that nonprofits cannot lobby, or if they do lobby, they are exploiting some kind of legal loophole. The fact is that nonprofits, even 501(c)(3) organizations, which are the most restricted type of nonprofits, may legally lobby. Getting involved in the legislative process and having a say in policy discussions is not just an appropriate role for nonprofits; it is vital. If nonprofits are not speaking on behalf of their often-vulnerable communities, chances are nobody else is either.”

Compare this legal viewpoint with the religious deniers from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, who want you to believe a distorted restraint, When Church Lobbying Becomes Political Campaign Intervention.

“IRS regulations allow 501(c)(3)s to engage in issue advocacy or lobbying so long as it does not function as political campaign intervention. At times, however, the advocacy/lobbying can cross a line to become an indirect way to support or oppose a candidate for public office. “Even if a statement does not expressly tell an audience to vote for or against a specific candidate, an organization delivering the statement is at risk of violating the political campaign intervention prohibition if there is any message favoring or opposing a candidate.” Rev. Rul. 2007-41, 2007-25 I.R.B. (June 28, 2007). The IRS will consider all facts and circumstances to determine whether the advocacy is political campaign intervention. Id. Key factors include:

  • Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office;
  • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval for one or more candidates’ positions and/or actions;
  • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election;
  • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
  • Whether the issue addressed in the communication has been raised as an issue distinguishing candidates for a given office;
  • Whether the communication is part of an ongoing series of communications by the organization on the same issue that are made independent of the timing of any elections; and
  • Whether the timing of the communication and identification of the candidate are related to a non-electoral event such as a scheduled vote on specific legislation by an officeholder who also happens to be a candidate for public office.” Id.”

Can anyone cite a more “politically incorrect” heresy of religious hate than these purveyors that deal in prohibiting constitutionally guaranteed free speech?

David Fiorazo makes a very valid point and cites a classic example to argue the crucial need for pastors to speak out with the bold courage of faith.

Read More @ BATR.org

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