Pastors Take on the IRS

Respectfully Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

In light of the ever-increasing influence on National and local politics by churches and clergy, I was interested in the recent news that over 1,000 churches will be challenging the IRS by telling their parishioners who they want them to vote for in the upcoming national elections.  The event is dubbed “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” by its organizers and it is designed to challenge the IRS on its prohibition of churches from intertwining politics and religion, as a requirement of maintaining their tax-free status.

‘ “It is a head-on constitutional challenge.”  The Johnson amendment in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits tax-exempt charities and churches from intervening in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate. The IRS has been reluctant to revoke churches’ tax-exempt status for violating the more than 50-year-old IRS rule, but the agency has issued written warnings to dozens of churches.” Raw Story

The event is slated for October 7th and the organizers claim that they are trying to force the IRS to pull the tax-free status from churches to test the constitutionality of the IRS on what the churches claim is a restriction on the pastors and churches right of free speech.  Of course, not all churches back this challenge of the tax-free laws.  “Americans United for Church and State has pushed back against the event, sending letters to 60,000 houses of worship that urge them to obey federal tax law.  “People don’t join churches because they want to be told how to vote,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Our letter reminds religious leaders about what the law requires, why it makes sense and how it could affect them.”  Raw Story

While I back the pastors rights of free speech, I do not agree that churches and religious clergy have the right to free speech from the pulpit and the right to a tax-free status.  If any church wants to tell its followers to back or vote a specific political party, they have the absolute right to do that under the Freedom of Speech.  The real question is can these same churches still claim their tax-free status?

Do Churches and clergy violate the Separation of Church and State when they take advantage of the tax laws as a religious entity, but yet preach for specific God or church friendly candidates from the pulpit?  I know this issue not only brings politicians into conflict, but as we have seen above, it even brings churches into conflict with one another.  Is the solution just banning all political speech from the pulpit, or should the IRS drop all churches tax free status?

Does this discussion put Jefferson’s wall of separation between church and state in jeopardy?  Was Justice Black in error when he backed the Jeffersonian concept in the 1947 Supreme Court decision in Everson V. United States, that also discussed the Reynolds v. United states decision?  “Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups, and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between church and State.” Reynolds v. United States, supra, at 164.”  Cornell.edu

I realize that many pastors and members of the clergy for a variety of faiths, routinely “violate” this IRS rule now.  I have actually been in church and heard priests preach for specific candidates or political parties, as well as preach for or against certain government issues.  It personally makes me feel uncomfortable to hear the church being used for such political and partisan purposes.  How does it make you feel?  Is the Separation of Church and State worth protecting?

I also disagreed when priest or nuns run for political office because of the religious vows of obedience to the Bishops and the Pope that they are required to take.  Should any citizen be concerned when any member of the clergy runs for political office?  Without a strong wall separating the Church from the State, can anyone’s religion be safe?  What do you think?

78 thoughts on “Pastors Take on the IRS

  1. I don’t know why they are tax exempt in the first place. Why do they pay no property tax??

    They should be able to deduct the amount the give away, not the amount they use to proselytize, or use for other non charity work.

    It makes no sense to me why I am being asked to subsidize someone else’s religion.

  2. I prefer the churches preach God stuff and leave politics alone. If they insist on doing politics, they need to be taxed b/c they are no longer “just” churches.

  3. ‘ “It is a head-on constitutional challenge.” The Johnson amendment in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits tax-exempt charities and churches from intervening in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate. The IRS has been reluctant to revoke churches’ tax-exempt status for violating the more than 50-year-old IRS rule, but the agency has issued written warnings to dozens of churches.” Raw Story
    ==========
    The IRS is fundamentally incompetent. Give them a high publicity reason to prove they have a right to exist.

    The churches are making a mistake with this. If this gets started the IRS will be intent on proving they actually have a reason to exist

  4. Wouldn’t this fall under basic contract law? A promise for a promise. The Congress promised that the IRS would not collect taxes from the church and the church promised not to promote a political agenda. When the church files the 501(c)3 paperwork, aren’t they accepting the offer?

  5. Section 501(c)(3) organizations are restricted in how much political and legislative (lobbying) activities they may conduct. For a detailed discussion, see Political and Lobbying Activities. For more information about lobbying activities by charities, see the article Lobbying Issues; for more information about political activities of charities, see the FY-2002 CPE topic Election Year Issues.

    Additional Information

    Application Process Step by Step: Questions and answers that will help an organization determine if it is eligible to apply for recognition of exemption from federal income taxation under IRC section 501(a) and, if so, how to proceed.

  6. The churches have been pushing the envelope for years. In my opinion it’s a flagrant disregard for the law. I believe the assumption is they will never get called on it…

  7. Raff,

    What’s your thought on the same folks running for elected office…… The RCC has had numerous candidates over the years……

    I am with you….. Any use of the pulpit as a edge to any Canidate or social issues should automatically revoke tax exempt status…..

  8. http://townhall.com/news/religion/2012/03/12/firstperson_why_should_churches_be_taxexempt

    ” there is also a constitutional reason why churches are tax exempt. Our history is one of an unbroken practice of exempting churches from taxation. Churches were exempt from the very first time the tax code was passed at the federal level, and have remained exempt in every iteration of the tax code ever since. Every state in America also exempts churches from property taxes. When the U.S. Supreme Court decided a case regarding the property tax exemption of churches, called Walz v. Tax Commission, it stated that providing a tax exemption for churches was a less intrusive option under the Constitution than requiring churches to pay taxes.

    That makes sense when you stop and think about it. As the Supreme Court said in a very early case, “The power to tax involves the power to control.” Taxation is, in essence, a very strong assertion of control by a sovereign over its subjects. Exempting churches is a way to ensure that the state cannot control churches.”

    “We should take up the cause of passionate defenders of church tax exemption like Kentucky state Rep. Whittaker of the 19th century. During the debates on the Kentucky Constitution in 1890, he loudly proclaimed, “Let an untaxed Gospel be preached, in an untaxed church-house, from an untaxed pulpit; let the emblem of a crucified, but risen Christ be administered from an untaxed altar, and, as the spire points heavenward, let it stand forever untaxed.” Amen.”

  9. I don’t see any reason why churches, religious organizations AND charity organizations are excluded from paying taxes. Let’s face it, the boys at the top of these public leech organizations are living very, very well – one could say like politicians! The money just rolls in and no one holds them accountable for it. I would love to see that change.

  10. That makes sense when you stop and think about it. As the Supreme Court said in a very early case, “The power to tax involves the power to control.” Taxation is, in essence, a very strong assertion of control by a sovereign over its subjects. Exempting churches is a way to ensure that the state cannot control churches.”

    “We should take up the cause of passionate defenders of church tax exemption like Kentucky state Rep. Whittaker of the 19th century. During the debates on the Kentucky Constitution in 1890, he loudly proclaimed, “Let an untaxed Gospel be preached, in an untaxed church-house, from an untaxed pulpit; let the emblem of a crucified, but risen Christ be administered from an untaxed altar, and, as the spire points heavenward, let it stand forever untaxed.” Amen.”
    =============================
    Ask Jim Jones. Oh wait, he’s dead. One of his lieutenants shot him in the head because he didn’t have what it takes to drink the punch himself. In this context, you can take your “Amen” and stick it up your arse.

    Salem witch trials? The churches can either keep their tax exempt status or not. They better keep politics out of the pulpit.

    You’re in the minority.

  11. I’ve changed my mind. I do that on occasion.

    It’s one thing for the church to meddle in politics, it’s something else entirely for the government to tax the churches. Taxing is a means of control as indicated by someone up-thread. The government should not be exercising control over the churches.

    I’m not addressing the point raised by Cheryl “The Congress promised that the IRS would not collect taxes from the church and the church promised not to promote a political agenda. When the church files the 501(c)3 paperwork, aren’t they accepting the offer?” This point also has merit. It seems some churches have decided it’s time to challenge the government agency that no one likes.

    However, churches should be taxed for their profit-making enterprises. This is separate from their politicking though.

  12. wgward,

    I agree. That is the simplest solution and will solve the problem! Now to examine the weird idea that god is telling your pastor how you should vote.

    God appears confused. He exhorts some religious leaders to tell their congregations to vote one way and other religious leaders that their congregations should vote another way. Why is anyone listening to god if god is that confused?

    Why does god always endorse the candidate whose religious leader just got some favor from that same candidate? If god is so easily bribed, should we be listening to him?

    Apparently, god tells people not to criticize anyone in power. Why is god always on the side of the powerful? Should we be a little more circumspect about god? Why does god want us to listen to the religious leader and not think for ourselves? If that’s what god wants, do we have to do it or can we make a choice to listen to ourselves?

    What happens if we tell god and his representatives here on earth, in politics and religion to buzz off?

  13. good for the pastors, labor unions tell their people how to vote. They are shills for the democratic party. Unabashedly so.

    We have about 20-25% of this country telling the other 75-80% how to think, act, speak, etc. About time someone pushes back.

  14. Very simple answer. Separation of Church and State. One does not interfere with the other. The government doesn’t involve itself in religion, and the church doesn’t involve itself in politics. The church gets a tax break by upholding that part of the agreement. Since the church has abrogated that agreement, the IRS needs to send them all tax bills and the government needs to see that those bills are collected, church, synagogue, or mosque. One dances to the tune and pays the piper. In this case, the religious institutions have lost the cover of tax-free status by their actions.

  15. Well said Kraaken.
    AY,
    I am not a fan of religous leaders or officials running for public office while they are a minister, bishop, cardinal, etc. I can remember the grief Kennedy took for being Catholic and people being afraid that he might “answer” to the Pope. Of course, a priest or nun might have a vow of obedience and therefore there could be a conflict of interest, IMO. Isn’t Romney a Mormon “Bishop”? Or is he a former bishop?
    Bron,
    are the union halls exempt from taxation?

  16. Taxes only control a business if the tax laws that apply to a business are complex. The people that own the tavern in my closest mall are independents and their taxes are relatively simple compared to the national chain grocery store or the franchise owned by an offshore clothing store in the same mall. Taxable income is figured differently for each.

    The Catholic church is run financially like a offshore multinational, various geographic and hierarchical divisions get the contributions and Rome ends up with some of it. Their business model (as well as other nationwide churches could change based on the tax law applied or how it was written.

    Taxing churches could work well if the law crafted was a simple % cut at point of origin, period. No business model needs to change to take advantage of anything.

    As to the more pure concept of control I don’t think that’s an issue at all. My tax rate does not control me except that I know I have to pay it or someone at IRS will notice and put me through some mess if I don’t. A flat tax on every church and church organization (using the same definition applied today and used to gain exemption) would do the trick and there wouldn’t be any more coercion than there is today for a church to do ‘something’ to appease the taxman. It would in fact free up churches to participate in the political process as much or as little as they and their congregants liked. I don’t see a problem at all with a tax.

  17. lottakatz 1, September 23, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    As to the more pure concept of control I don’t think that’s an issue at all. My tax rate does not control me except that I know I have to pay it or someone at IRS will notice and put me through some mess if I don’t.
    =====================================================
    You might be surprised. They don’t know squat.

  18. Seeing that many religious outfits are in the business of rendering unto God what is Caesar’s…
    … Isn’t it about time that these outfits render unto Caesar what has been God’s, then?

  19. rafflaw 1, September 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    bettykath,
    I am sorry if I have you arguing with yourself! :)
    ——————
    Not to worry. It’s an indication of a good topic on which I could debate either side.

    =====================
    Matt,

    Don’t underestimate the IRS. They are quite capable of going after those who can’t afford a tax lawyer. I had a year when I made no money, zilch. I lived verrrry frugally off of savings. They assessed me taxes, penalties, and interest and provided absolutely no reason for it. I didn’t pay b/c I didn’t owe anything. Finally got hold of a real person, maybe that’s an overstatement, a very nasty person, who also couldn’t provide any documentation or rationale. He disappeared. The IRS didn’t. They took money out of every SS check until they were satisfied. Hundreds of dollars paid on…what? savings on which I had already paid taxes?

  20. raff, Many years ago pre-Roe v Wade I had many arguments with myself about abortion until I found the answer that worked for me. No abortion for me but it’s my decision. I’m not smart enough to decide for anyone else, and, for d…. sure, a bunch of suits in Washington or a state capital aren’t smart enough either. It clarified for me that personal positions and state policy can be two different things. Personal positions can be anything you want (even if illegal if you’re willing to pay the consequences) but they shouldn’t dictate state policy which has to leave room for differing personal positions.

    I haven’t gotten to that point on the current topic.

  21. No tax exemptions for churches. When churches decide, they can use my tax dollars to evangelize not only for their religious beliefs but also WHO THEY SAY GOD WANTS PEOPLE, GOD DEMANDS THAT PEOPLE VOTE FOR, I say that a stupid exemption is being abused. Churches should have to give back all of the money they have saved with this exemption and any money they have taken from the government in grants or in any other way.

  22. JMQuinn 1, September 23, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is opposed to this and taking it to the IRS. They are religious people, mostly Christian, who support SOCAS.

    http://www.au.org/media/press-releases/colorado-ministry-should-lose-tax-exemption-for-partisan-political-intervention
    ==================================
    The IRS doesn’t amount to squat. They won’t even go after people who use died gasoline (agricultural fuel) in their on road trucks.

    The IRS is a useless governmental piece of garbage.

  23. bettykath 1, September 23, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    rafflaw 1, September 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    bettykath,
    I am sorry if I have you arguing with yourself! :)
    ——————
    Not to worry. It’s an indication of a good topic on which I could debate either side.

    =====================
    Matt,

    Don’t underestimate the IRS. They are quite capable of going after those who can’t afford a tax lawyer. I had a year when I made no money, zilch. I lived verrrry frugally off of savings. They assessed me taxes, penalties, and interest and provided absolutely no reason for it. I didn’t pay b/c I didn’t owe anything. Finally got hold of a real person, maybe that’s an overstatement, a very nasty person, who also couldn’t provide any documentation or rationale. He disappeared. The IRS didn’t. They took money out of every SS check until they were satisfied. Hundreds of dollars paid on…what? savings on which I had already paid taxes?
    ================================================
    bettykath, kiss mine.

  24. The issue is not whether the church has to pay taxes. The issue with the IRS is whether contributions to the church are tax deductible to the donors. If the IRS rules against the church, the donors lose the ability to deduct their donations on Sched A of the form 1040. For those in the 35% tax bracket, that means that the previous $1,000 donation that only cost $650 now will cost $1,000!!! And certain other trust and post-death contribution schemes will no longer be tax advantaged either.

  25. It’s not that deep. An organization that gets together for the purpose of worshipping god, who is not an elected deity, can be tax exempt. An organization that gets together for some political purpose or that, once it has already gotten together, turns its attention from god to some elected official instead, is doing political, not religious, work. Must pay tax.

  26. You are right Ralph. The churches just might be put out of business with those contributions. However, should they be allowed to preach politics and still retain their 501c3 status?

  27. bettykath,
    in some ways many of these churches should already be designated political organizations.
    rcampbell,
    You are right about the predictable Fox New response.

  28. Funny how those who consider the only valid laws to be that of God have any concern for worldly constructs of man such as political elections.

  29. rafflaw:

    “They do have to pay taxes on direct political contributions but that is after the fact and only on the dollars they use for political contributions. They can use tax exempt money for lobbying and other power-brokering activities and that is a real thin line between a political and non-political contribution or expenditure…”

    Seems to me like they are.

    Most churches dont engage in direct lobbying, oh they may have a day when the membership or some of it comes to DC to meet with their congressman and senators but it isnt like a labor union lobbying. And I dont think individual churches, for the most part, are giving to political campaigns. While unions live for that.

    And they dont receive sweet employment contracts from the Obama administration per the Air Traffic Controllers who then turn around and support the president. Seems a little shady to me.

  30. In this same vein, I’m waiting for the corporate media infotainers to ask or report on someone asking Mitt if he’ll take direction from the LDS Church Elder or Prophet or seek approval for actions (e.g. attack Iran) if he’s elected President. As a former LDS Bishop (and hefty donor, prominent public figure, etc.) it’s an even more legitimate question than when JFK had to defend himself from charges the Pope would tell him what to do.

  31. Bron – were you born this stupid or did you suffer severe head trauma? Reading your posts on this thread I can’t decide if you really are completely from another planet or are hoping to convince really stupid people you are right. Those arguments are so silly I am stunned that people would bother to respond.

  32. rafflaw:

    I dont agree with federal money going to churches for faith based initiatives and would be all for eliminating those. But those monies are used to provide charitable services or at least should be.

    Oh, there are a good many liberal people who attend liberal churches. It isnt like they are all right wing evangelicals.

    Please tell me the amount of money spent on direct lobbying by individual churches vs the money spent by labor unions.

  33. frankly:

    show me I am wrong, I will admit to it if I am. On the whole unions are all about lobbying and donating to one party, the democratic party. They lobby for progressive/left programs almost exclusively.

  34. Churches and charities have long been tax-exempt as a reward from society for their good works. At the time the constitution was written, I suspect that virtually all charities were founded or conducted by churches. The presence of a church was desirable for communities, as they were a stabilizing force in frontier areas where law and order might have been tenuous.

    I believe that priests and pastors have always spoken politically from the pulpit, but in this era where corporations have free-speech rights, and every corporation feels free to write law for their own profit, some clergy now believe they should also be able to re-write the constitution. They even use a free-speech argument, echoing corporate speech rights, while attempting to deny civil liberties to gays and medical privacy to women.

    I disagree with the churches. Separation of church and state is a building block of our democracy. Although, like every tax payer, I view the government with a proper skepticism, I have to say I’m with the IRS on this one.

  35. If in fact tax exemption is a reward for “doing good”, now that most churches are doing “good” with tax dollars while trying to drive civil policy to ape their dogma, doctrines and prejudices, it is now time for the reward to be suspended. Did you know that 60% of the budgets of all “charities” or “nonprofits” Associated with the Catholic Church comes from tax payers? When this “reward” was given churches did “good” with their own money collected from their parishioners who were not able to deduct those contributions from their taxes. As a result churches benefit from government largess in at least 3 ways: tax exemption, deductibility of contributions thereto and payments made directly to them or associated entities from the government, that is taxpayers. It should all stop.

  36. I wonder how much the Catholic Church is spending in states such as Minnesota with Anti-Gay Marriage amendment campaigns…I know our parish announced there were about 100 ‘vote yes’ signs in the narthex to take home so you can proudly proclaim you bigotr…sorry I mean show your faith on your front yard.

    I would be/am under the impression that would violate their IRS agreement and therefore their non-profit status.

  37. Religion is inherently political as the leadership and membership of these churches routinely involve themselves in political issues presently as they have in the past. There is vast wealth off limits to taxation held by many religious groups: the Catholic Church, the Mormons, Southern Baptists and these politically active evangelical and fundamentalist groups, especially the televangelists. They should all be subject to taxation and we should end this charade. At present, they are free to distort our political lives and decrease our liberty without challenge. All Americans must come to understand that they are political actors acting under the cloak of religion.

  38. These loons have gone too far now. They have been flouting the IRS regs for years and their hubris will be their undoing.

    The dispensationalist fundie churches are so busy pushing their un-Christian Scofield Bible apostasy that you’re lucky to hear the word “Jesus” — ever.

    They’re too preoccupied with their homophobia, Muslim-hate, anti-abortion misogynism, Israel idolatry, war-mongering, and Democrat-bashing to give any attention to all that New Testament Jesus love thy neighbor turn the other cheek blessed are the peacemakers crap.

    I hope these Gulfstream-flying Pharisees, these shills for the GOP and Tel Aviv, get their asses handed to them courtesy of the IRS. I will be dancing a merry jig on that day.

  39. I’m delighted at this news! Strip them of their tax free status and start taxing those charlatans immediately! Force them to pay their property taxes and declare themselves as the businesses they are. Only fundamentalist and right wing churches pull this crap because they aren’t churches at all. Particularly in the fundamentalist category it’s just a way for fast talking salesmen to get tax exempt status for their family operations. Tax em till they need to pray for relief I say!

  40. Bron,
    The liberal churches as you put it are probably members of the group opposing the Pulpit Freedom Sunday mentioned above. As I understand it, and I am sure there is some CPA here that can verify, but contributions to labor unions are not deductible as donations like they are for churches. Big difference there, don’t you think?

  41. rafflaw 1, September 24, 2012 at 12:16 am

    bettykath,
    churches don’t usually pay real estate taxes on the local level so that also may be painful for the churches to absorb.
    ——————
    Right. And it’s painful for the localities. Add in the universities and municipal buildings, and the corporations that get PILOT agreements and a significant amount of property is exempt from taxes. So the taxpayers pick up the bill for the streets, sidewalks, street lights, police, fire, schools, etc.

    ======================
    Bron 1, September 24, 2012 at 9:29 am

    frankly:

    show me I am wrong, I will admit to it if I am. On the whole unions are all about lobbying and donating to one party, the democratic party. They lobby for progressive/left programs almost exclusively.
    ———————–
    Apples and oranges.

    The primary purpose of churches is about worshiping God. I have no problem with churches talking about issues of the day, but in a non-partisan way and certainly not to endorse one candidate or another.

    The primary purpose of unions is to lobby for the good of working people, whether it is in collective bargaining for their work place or any legislation for work related issues. Progressive programs tend to treat workers more fairly and the Democratic Party currently voices them more clearly. If the Republican Party wants union support is just has to have a platform, and an occasional action, that is more worker friendly.

  42. As I read the comments it seems that there are multiple categories of taxes and the comments don’t differentiate. There are income taxes and property taxes for the churches, and tax exemptions for donations of members. Right now the churches have a pass on ALL of these categories. I’m not sure that it should stay that way.

  43. If the church does not have the 501(c)3 they can and have every right to tell them who to vote for. It’s free speech, as well as separation of church and state.

    They shouldn’t be allowed to interfere anyway because of separation of church and state. But if the church gets a 501(c)3 then that ties them in with the gov’t and they have to obey. That’s why they shouldn’t get one.

  44. Hubert,

    “They shouldn’t be allowed to interfere anyway because of separation of church and state. But if the church gets a 501(c)3 then that ties them in with the gov’t and they have to obey. That’s why they shouldn’t get one.”

    Right. Then they can taxes and their donors don’t get to deduct contributions.

  45. The provision that allows a church to provide a deduction for donations is in 501(c)(3). Religious congregations are defaulted under that provision and must comply with the rules or their donors will not be allow to deduct their donations when figuring their income tax. Religious congregations do not have to apply to be 501(c)(3). If they do not want to be governed by 501(c)(3), they can notify the IRS and then notify donors that their donations are no longer tax deductible.

  46. lottakatz 1, September 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    There ya’ go Matt, keep’n it classy.
    ============================
    It’s a statement. The IRS really doesn’t amount to anything. It’s all on auto pilot.

  47. Ralph Cooper 1, September 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    The issue is not whether the church has to pay taxes. The issue with the IRS is whether contributions to the church are tax deductible to the donors. If the IRS rules against the church, the donors lose the ability to deduct their donations on Sched A of the form 1040. For those in the 35% tax bracket, that means that the previous $1,000 donation that only cost $650 now will cost $1,000!!! And certain other trust and post-death contribution schemes will no longer be tax advantaged either.
    ==========================================
    OOps.

  48. Malisha 1, September 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    It’s not that deep. An organization that gets together for the purpose of worshipping god, who is not an elected deity, can be tax exempt. An organization that gets together for some political purpose or that, once it has already gotten together, turns its attention from god to some elected official instead, is doing political, not religious, work. Must pay tax.
    ===================================================
    Got that right.

  49. Frankly 1, September 24, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Bron – were you born this stupid or did you suffer severe head trauma? Reading your posts on this thread I can’t decide if you really are completely from another planet or are hoping to convince really stupid people you are right. Those arguments are so silly I am stunned that people would bother to respond.
    =========================

    http://www.change.org/petitions/irs-should-toughen-rules-on-church-lobbying

    http://www.pogo.org/investigations/government-corruption/

  50. Qudos to these pastors!!!!!

    There should be thousands (no, hundreds of thousands) more like them!

    Genuine Christian Bible believing pastors should preach what God tells them to preach.

    (And if you are assuming God is not interested in politics, then sorry, you’ve got the wrong god.)

    That’s what genuine prophets and apostles did in the bible, and the consequences were often not nice for them (murder, imprisonment, etc.etc.) – but they said what had to be said anyway!!!!

    Whatever the govt. and IRS response……that’s the govt.’s business……….but pastors should do what God has called them to do regardless.

  51. Re Thurlow:

    Then they should contact the IRS and give up their status as a 501(c)(3) and the tax deductions for their donors. They need to get real and honest. If they want to speak about politics, given up the deductions, up front.

  52. R. Thurlow 1, September 30, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Whatever the govt. and IRS response……that’s the govt.’s business……….but pastors should do what God has called them to do regardless.
    =========
    Who is God? That is a figment of your imagination. God is what you think God is.

  53. Ralph Cooper 1, September 30, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Re Thurlow:

    Then they should contact the IRS and give up their status as a 501(c)(3) and the tax deductions for their donors. They need to get real and honest. If they want to speak about politics, given up the deductions, up front.
    =======================================================
    Tell that to the politicians. Why do you think the tax code is mostly a pile of useless nonsense? Would you like some free stamps?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Rostenkowski

  54. bettykath1, September 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    “I prefer the churches preach God stuff and leave politics alone. If they insist on doing politics, they need to be taxed b/c they are no longer “just” churches.”

    Churches getting a 501 only allow the gov’t to meddle in the church’s buesiness. I say they shouldn’t get a 501, and they are fully allowed to talk about the candidates running for office. What happened to separation of church and state anyway? Its original intention was to keep the gov’t from running the church.

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