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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

West Bend Pastor joins others in defying IRS censorship rules

You go, brother!

Hats off to ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND!

Pastor Luke Emrich of New Life Church in West Bend will be standing firm on September 28th..


"Christian pastors should stop censoring themselves in fear of an "unconstitutional" 1954 provision in the IRS code that has threatened to eliminate their church tax-exempt status if they speak out against positions held by political candidates, urges a leading legal alliance.
The Alliance Defense Fund today announced a new initiative that will challenge the IRS ban on political comment from churches and their pastors.

"Churches have for too long feared the loss of tax exempt status arising from speech in the pulpit addressing candidates for office," the ADF's white paper on the campaign confirmed. "Rather than risk confrontation, pastors have self-censored their speech, ignoring blatant immorality in government and foregoing the opportunities to praise moral government leaders.
"ADF believes that IRS restrictions on religious expression from the pulpit, whenever the IRS characterizes it as 'political,' is unconstitutional. After 50 years of threats and intimidation, churches should confront the IRS directly and reclaim the expressive rights guaranteed to them in the United States Constitution," the group said.

The ADF said its program will "equip, protect, and defend pastors who wish to exercise their First Amendment right to openly discuss the positions of political candidates and other moral and social issues from the pulpit."

The group is encouraging pastors across the U.S. to "deliver a sermon along these lines in their own churches Sept. 28," which is just days before the 2008 presidential election, a debate that has been rife with moral questions."

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=63865

2 comments:

wbender said...

This is an issue I have wondered about - I have heard Pastor say that he can't make political comments, yet that seems to be in violation of Freedom of Speech. There are a lot of tax-exempt organizations - i.e., "community organizers" - are they also banned from taking partisan positions?

The article (I followed the link) does not make sense, as far as Sept. 28th being a few days before the election. Do they mean it should be Oct. 26th?

Anonymous said...

I agree, there are a lot of tax-exempt orgs out there that are not banned from taking partisan positions. Ever since the IRS started an inside investigative committee in 2004 called PACI, the IRS has "fast tracked" complaints SPECIFICALLY dealing with CHURCHES. Even though the FREE SPEECH CLAUSE of the FIRST AMENDMENT ensures FREE SPEECH for all legal citizens, it appears that SINCE 1954 the IRS has taken upon itself to LIMIT such FREE SPEECH as it specifically concerns PASTOR & CHURCHES. It's as if they are saying, "Hey, we will recognize your CURRENT TAX-EXEMPT STATUS only if you give up certain CONSTITUTIONAL FREE SPEECH RIGHTS. They've even included specific CODE WORDS in their rules such as: "conservative, liberal, pro-life, pro-choice, anti-choice, Republican, Democrat, etc." If any PASTOR or CHURCH has EVER used these words, according to the IRS, they have broken the rules and stand in violation and possible revocation. PASTORS should realize, that they have already broken the rules on numerous occasions. As a pastor myself, I personally feel it very important to properly know the facts, and more importantly, to follow the call. The Bible is an extremely "political" book, so to speak. Think of how many kingdoms, kings, rulers, cities, etc. that are addressed by name in the Scriptures. Clearly, God has plenty to advise politicians on. And how will this occur, if PASTORS & CHURCHES willfully sensor themselves? And really, is it SO RADICAL that PASTORS & CHURCHES would address current issues, including the politics and politicians of the day? Why is that unacceptable and so harmful in many eyes today? After all, aren't public servants from the Mayor to the President sworn in on the BIBLE? I guess that's OK, as long as we never OPEN THE BIBLE, right? Bottom-line is, don't be intimidated into a corner of silence and inactivity. Even if some of us are a bit timid like Gideon was, that's cool; God still has a plan and we each are part of it.

September 28th is correct. The "few days" is a typo no doubt.