Intentionally provoking the IRS, engaging civil disobedience
By Allan Erickson
Did you know most Christian pastors do not have full freedom of speech rights in America thanks to former President Lyndon Johnson and Congress?
Churches are tax exempt given their non-profit status as charitable organizations. According to IRS rules, however, churches can have tax exemption stripped if pastors endorse a candidate from the pulpit or otherwise participate in partisanship. These rules were put in place in 1954 by Congress approving an amendment submitted by then Sen. Lyndon Johnson. Non-profits are supposedly prohibited from political activism as well, but obviously, in the case of organizations like ACORN, and Obama’s Public Allies, the law is selectively enforced.
Why did Johnson seek to prohibit churches and non-profits from political activities? Certain pastors in Texas opposed him. He sought to silence them. Interesting the accelerated liberal trend through the years to the present day to silent the voices of the opposition.
And so, pastors have been cowed for years, silenced by threats from the federal government, right here in America.
Consequently, you see election time commercials like this, focusing on morality and religion, while carefully avoiding outright voter directives.
But all that is changing.
“Now comes word that a tiny cadre of three dozen or so activist pastors, working in conjunction with the Arizona-based religious rights legal firm known as the Alliance Defense Fund, are not only exercising their constitutional rights but also stand ready to challenge a 1954 amendment to the tax code that says nonprofit, tax-exempt entities may not ‘participate in or intervene in…any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.’
[Christian Pastors Stand Up, by Doug Patton http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=28796]
Yesterday, words got feet, in Arkansas.
“In a predominantly black church in a city known for its past racial strife, Bishop Robert Smith is taking sides. His targets: Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and federal restrictions barring Smith’s endorsement of Republican John McCain. At the end of a recent sermon on abortion and gay marriage, Smith told about 50 worshippers at his Word of Outreach Christian Center, ‘I will be voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin.’ “
Bishop Robert Smith is being joined by many others.
“Gus Booth, a pastor in Warroad, Minn., preached from the pulpit, ‘If you are a Christian, you cannot support a candidate like Barack Obama,’ knowing that he was violating federal tax code and jeopardizing his church’s tax-exempt status by speaking against a specific candidate.”
Of course, it is worth noting, liberal and radical pastors have long enjoyed both tax exemption, and full freedom to endorse any candidate they like, without sanction.
Jeremiah Wright, Father Pfleger and Rev. Meeks are notable examples.