Monday, September 27, 2010

‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’: Pastors Defy IRS by Talking Politics

About 100 pastors plan to “bait” the IRS today by making political statements during their church services. Something expressly forbidden by the IRS.

ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley argues that tax-exempt status is not a government subsidy:
“Churches were completely free to preach about candidates from the day that the Constitution was ratified in 1788 until 1954.  That’s when the unconstitutional rule known as the ‘Johnson Amendment’ was enacted. Churches are exempt from taxation under the principle that there is no surer way to destroy religion than to begin taxing it.  As the U.S. Supreme Court has noted, the power to tax involves the power to destroy.  The real effect of the Johnson Amendment is that pastors are muzzled for fear of investigation by the IRS.”

‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ does have some significant detractors:
“It puts congregations in an awkward position. It’s not a wise thing for churches to endorse candidates. We think candidates should endorse us,” said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
Land said the church endorses many of the defense fund’s initiatives, but “we think the mixing of the sacred nature of the church with the exceedingly worldly nature of politics is. .. unseemly.”
USA Today talked to the ADF’s “polar opposite“:
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued a statement this week calling pulpit-based lawbreaking “the worst idea ever.”
“Clergy serve as spiritual advisers, not political bosses. Pulpit politicking violates federal tax law and offends the vast majority of church-goers,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, the group’s executive director.
“The nation is already bitterly divided over politics this year.. .. Now, Religious Right political hacks want to haul that divisiveness into America’s houses of worship.
“Clergy should just say no.”
Last month Glenn Beck talked with David Barton of Wallbuilders about the message of the day:

And Alan Sears of the ADF presented his case for Pulpit Freedom Sunday at the Values Voters Conference:

The ADF plans to release a list of participating pastors later this week. In the American Thinker, Cindy Simpson writes: “I can see November from my pew. What I hear about November from the pulpit is another story.”
If we don't stand up for our own religion then who will stand up for us? It's time we fear and respect God rather then man.


  1. Well I don't believe ANY religious organization should endorse a politician. A pastor or leader can do so freely AWAY from the pulpit if they so choose but I agree it is unseemly doing so from said pulpit.

    Bottom line for this Christian is this; I have never read of Jesus endorsing any politician or ruler except that of His Father. In fact He is quoted as saying (not verbatim): "Give onto Caesar what is Caesars and give onto God what is Gods" meaning the two are separate i.e. Gods Law and those that are created by humans.

    To mix the two blurs the line of distinction.

  2. Christopher no preacher is backing a candidate. What they are doing is standing up for beliefs within the Church like gay marriage,abortions,socialism... Not political candidates. Now if a political candidate is for abortion,gay marriage...then the pastors should stand against that candidate because of their views not political party.

  3. Well Christopher On This Issue I Tend To Agree With You. There Must Be A NO POLITICS Zone And Church To Me During Services Seems To Fit.Hell And Brimstone Sermons Yes. Political Views Any Time After Services. Just My Opinion!

  4. Chris,

    As I stated they are free to do so AWAY FROM THE PULPIT. I just do not see it appropriate DURING a service as those services are to be devoted to God.

    If a said preacher wishes to address the social ills of which you speak in the context of Gods words so be it, but leave all politcal candidates, parties and proposed legislation out of it while playing that role at the pulpit.

    Also understand that I find it abhorrent that preachers invite politicos INTO a place of worship to do the very same no matter the party.

    Mixing the two only achieves the lessening of both and dare say it set's us on a very dangerous path should this continue.

  5. Doesn't abortion and gay marriage addressed in Gods Word? I wouldn't want to see preachers,like Rev. J.Wright using his pulpit to push a candidate unless that candidates idealogy is anti-Biblical. Then the preacher has an obligation to speak from the pulpit about it. A preacher/church should have the same rights as all non-proifit orgainizations do. But they don't. If a pastor is saying things that you don't agree with yoiu have the right to leave said church. But why is it the IRS's job to govern these churches instead of personal freedom? Take obamacare for instance. It does cover abortions which the church is against. Why should the church sit silent while these babies are killed? Jesus was God made man when He was conseved and that is why the church has such a strong stance. Should the church and the pastors not talk about the verses in the Bible that talk about gay marriage as wrong for fear of the government? Right now non-profit that is not religious have all the rights to speak as they want with authority and any churches that sanction gay marriage and obamacare are given a pass. All the conservatives Bible based rekligions want is the same fair shake. If a pastor oversteps his bounds then it's up to the Elders and voting memebers of the congregation to right that not the federal government.

  6. Chris,

    Please re-read the second paragraph in my last comment, I thought I was pretty clear and believe we agree.

    If a congregation is attentive during a sermon (which is the idea after all) addressing current ills of society in the context of Gods Word then there should be no reason to go further as there is no higher authority.

    Now if the congregation does not get it at that point, well spelling out will not help them as they are completely stupid to begin with.

  7. The British conplained after the Revolutionary War that they were defeated by the "black militia", that is, the black-shirted preachers preaching against Britain from the pulpits.

    Lyndon Johnson, as a Texas senator in the 1950s, had an opponent in his senate race that was being funded by a non-profit corporation. Johnson introduced a bill that prohibited non-profit corporations from endorsing political candidates and the bill passed. It was never designed to muzzle churches, although it has been used against churches.

  8. I was just adding to what you said. Like AL I wouldn't want my pastor telling me who to vote for. But I would like to know if those candidates go against the church and Gods will. Many Christians don't vote with their conscience just party line. And many churches have become afraid to preach law and gospel from the pulpit in fear of men. I could care less what someone does with their freedom.

  9. I think a Pastor is abusing his position when he speaks of politics. But the rightwing Pharicees like Chris, endorse the idea that they are the chosen ones and that we are not.

    Also what sins of Candidates be accepted. Could they preach on behalf of Newt Gingrich a multiple time adulterer and against Obama? Would a divorced person be acceptable to the Church? Would O'donnell and her dabbling in Wiccan magic be forgiven by the church?

    The fact remains that the Church should stand for its morality, not the flawed candidates that fall short of that. By accepting one sinner over another they make certain sins less egregious and as the Lutheran church teaches all sins are equal and against God.

  10. Joe
    O'Donnell Dabbling In Witch Craft Hell Shed Fit Right In With The Other 535 Elite!
    What I Dont Understand Is If Shes Such A Wing Nut Why Are The Demoncrats Spending So Much Cash On Ads To Besmirch Her. Must Be In Delaware Telling The Difference Between A Witch And A Demoncrat Needs Explaining.

    You Do Have To Admit Politicans From All Sides Would Have A Hard Time Passing The "Saint" Test.

  11. Al, isn't that last part exactly what i said??? I thought it was obvious. Perhaps you should talk to Chris about him needing to admit that.

    I don't care about O'Donnell or her previous religious attitudes. The point is solely that cnadidates on both sides don't meet God's standards so it would be hypocrisy for a pastor to start picking ones they like and dislike.

    As for the candidates we can go back and forth on all sorts of political ads. Both sides attack any angle they can. The dems attacking O'Donnell is the same as the repubs attacking others. just politics. Nothing new or unusual.


Please keep it clean and nice. Thank you for taking the time to post you thought. It means a lot to me that you do this.