1000 Pastors Telling Captive Audience How To Vote

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A hot keyword search in Google today is “skyline wesleyan church”, which displays results that include a post in our blog that Ken wrote back in June. The post includes a quote from the controversial pastor of the Skyline mega-church and his anti-gay marriage stance.

However, today’s search is regarding a new story in which a group of 1000 pastors plans to defy IRS regulations prohibiting tax-exempt churches from involvement in political campaigns by telling their parishioners who to vote for in sermons that will take place on October 7th. They’ll surely use the semantic argument that they’re just “endorsing” candidates and parishioners are free to vote for whomever they chose, but endorsing a political candidate is still illegal for non-profits. Their legal counsel is using the same sideways argument used after the Issa panel debacle that made Sandra Fluke a household name: “religious freedom”.

The purpose is to make sure that the pastor — and not the IRS — decides what is said from the pulpit.”

Fact-is, no one in the IRS is deciding what is said from the pulpit of their churches. The federal tax code is law written by Congress and the IRS must enforce the law. Churches receive special tax relief (which in my opinion, should have been revoked after the first child was raped) while the rest of us must pay our full share of taxes. In exchange for this special, tax-free status granted by Congress, religious leaders must stay out of politics. Its fair and it only makes sense; why should the left half of the country have to pay these churches in the form of tax breaks if they are going to campaign for candidates on the right? If that’s the case, then the left deserves an equal right to tax-exempt status for organizations that will campaign for candidates on the left. How would these conservative pastors feel about tax-exempt status for labor unions? What about activists for minority rights? LGBT rights?

These 1000 pastors can either play by the rules that apply to all non-profit charities and churches or they are free to give-up their tax-exempt status and preach politics and endorse candidates until the end of time.

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  • Billy Bob

    It is interesting that there is a great outcry when the fear is pastors will endorse a Republican candidate, but no such outcry when it is pastors endorsing or even allowing Democrat candidates to speak from their pulpits.  It is interesting that only (c) (3) exempt organizations are singled out to have their voices silenced.

  • What is interesting is your straw man argument. These pastors have provided proof of their intention to endorse Republican candidates with a letter they sent to the IRS telling them they will do it. Where is your proof of pastors who endorse or allow Democratic candidates to speak from church pulpits? There is none because you made it up in a weak attempt to create a false equivalence. And that is the definition of a “straw man” argument.

    Fyi: Its not “interesting” in the least that these non-profit organizations are being “silenced” when it comes to political campaigns. These organizations knew that when they were initially created and informed of the laws pertaining to certain non-profits. What is very interesting is that they had nothing to say about the law’s restrictions during past few Republican administrations but now, suddenly, they are outraged.