May 4, 2017 at 5:37 pm #51817
I just need a place to spout off, without this going in any of the other topic titles – it could very quickly take over one of those other topics. Yet I strongly believe it has relevance to preparedness for SHTF.
I’m all for the government leaving their hands off churches, overall. But I actually support the idea that it is inappropriate for statements to be made over the pulpit that support specific candidates. Yes, yes, I know it’s done all the time in some churches. But it’s dangerous. It goes to the very (appropriately) important tax treatment of recognized religious groups. Without going into a side discussion of why, at least here and now, I believe it’s essential for religious groups (i.e. organized churches) to be tax exempt.
Going to the next step of the issue then, non-partisanship by churches has also protected them FROM being subject to income tax, particularly. The moment a pastor/rabbi/priest/imam gets up and says “Vote against So-and-so,” or “Vote FOR Whats-his-name,” that COULD put their tax status in jeopardy – and probably rightfully so. God doesn’t tell the black churches to vote for pro-abortion Democrats, while He tells Catholic priests, Evangelical pastors, or Mormon bishops to vote for pro-life Republicans. And it would therefore be inappropriate for a Sunday sermon to be preached in which a specific candidate (or party) is endorsed – that’s clearly political, and should remain off limits. A sermon about homosexuality, the definition of what constitutes a marriage, alcohol and other substances, COULD be a legitimate sermon, based on a group’s religious understanding of their scripture, and therefore that’s not of itself political.
Trump’s executive order now clearly invites political speech over the pulpit, which the ACLU has already come out today saying they will challenge. With the massive wipe-out of tax deductible items in the proposed new tax law (basically everything EXCEPT home mortgage interest and charitable contributions), it will now be an EASY target to not only go after the churches themselves, but even the tax deduction for individuals and families. Poof! They now have easy “justification” for making the charitable contribution deduction go away, and churches will be even under more financial pressure due to lower donation revenue AND their own tax burdens. I therefore see Trump’s EO as an attack on religious liberty, rather than an enhancement.
I don’t know what idiot(s) advised hm on this, or even whether this was carefully thought through for exactly the above reasons. All I know is, this is likely to cause even more social animosity and deterioration, adding yet another “straw” to the pile before the “last straw” finally causes a cascading socio-political-financial avalanche we simply designate as SHTF. And I believe the acronym could not be more accurate for what surely is to come.May 6, 2017 at 10:19 am #51823
What I suspect will happen is some churches will go too far and the public backlash will be equally furious. This move could put the tax exempt status of churches at risk as soon as the next leftists occupies the White House.May 6, 2017 at 11:32 am #51824
Overall its a fine line , open to interpretation constitutionally . One side says that they should have their first amendment rights to express their views about a political candidate . The other side says that it violates separation of church and state , to try to influence how a person should vote . Both have valid arguments on the issue . I personally dont think they should attempt to use the pulpit for politics , or if they do , then they wave the benefits of ” neutrality ” ( tax exemptions , etc . ) . Make it their choice , speak your mind if you wish , and take the consequences of doing so , just like the man on the street , or stick to the religious topics of their faith , and retain the benefits of neutrality .May 6, 2017 at 9:34 pm #51828
MountainBiker, my thoughts exactly.
Tolik, it’s not a law – it’s an executive order. And that’s at least part of the problem. The President does not have the legal (constitutional) right to tell a private citizen what s/he can/can’t do. He can only order Executive Branch offices to do or not to do specific things. He’s effectively put the IRS on notice to leave churches alone, even when they are supporting a supposedly conservative candidate (the liberal candidates have been fair game for endorsement over the pulpit for a long time, on the other hand). Many evangelical and other conservative Christian churches, especially, are going to take this and run with it as if it IS a constitutionally protected law (it is not). And when the winds shift in 2018, or particularly 2020, and it becomes even more difficult to be anything except liberal (or further left), they will have a few years under their belts of saying what they wanted, because The Donald has said it’s OK. (I will not be surprised if Trump is a one-term president, replaced by an even more liberal Democrat, such as Warren.)
Many years ago, J.J. Johnson – a few of you know exactly who he is/was(?) – wrote a fictional story about the scenario in which one small church decided they were fed up with the government restrictions placed on them, and they said, “NO MORE!” It was set in Ohio. Tensions kept rising, media became very involved in the story, and it finally erupted with extreme violence by federal, state, and local LE agencies. There were deaths in the church as a result of gun fire (snipers), and in the end, the civilians prevailed – but not before a horrible price was paid. JJ’s story may well be on the verge of finally coming to a reality near any one of us in the U.S. Sadly, I had a full copy of it, but it got corrupted in a data move apparently, and I’ve lost the portion immediately after the violence began. But I still remember how it ended before the data became corrupted. It seemed somewhat plausible at the time, and now it seems potentially downright prophetic. I’ve searched all over for an intact copy of the story (“Cracking the Liberty Bell”), but two people that worked directly with JJ at the time (Mama Sierra and Henrietta for those that know) no longer have copies, and no one else that I’ve been able to find has a copy. And even the two that I thought might know where he is (assuming he’s still alive), do not. I only wish I could post his story here, now, for everyone else’s benefit. Alas … I don’t have it all anymore.May 8, 2017 at 11:50 pm #51834
People in church organizations have every right to free speech without infringement. The current IRS restrictions were invented to limit free speech in one of LBJ’s elections. Many other groups have tax exempt status and engage in political advocacy. It’s about time that mortality and ethics returned to government in stead of the amoral one we have now.May 9, 2017 at 3:29 am #51835
Yes, about time. Good luck with that!
Cry, "Treason!"May 9, 2017 at 11:27 am #51836
Yes, good luck will be needed after 50 years of oppression. Look where it has taken the nation. Maybe it’s mission impossible to correct, however hitting the flush handle isn’t palatable.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.