Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

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keaggy220
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Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:13 pm

It's about time.

NYT: Pastors try to pick a tax fight with IRS - politics - The New York Times - msnbc.com

This weekend, hundreds of pastors, including some of the nation’s evangelical leaders, will climb into their pulpits to preach about American politics, flouting a decades-old law that prohibits tax-exempt churches and other charities from campaigning on election issues.

The sermons, on what is called Pulpit Freedom Sunday, essentially represent a form of biblical bait, an effort by some churches to goad the Internal Revenue Service into court battles over the divide between religion and politics.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a nonprofit legal defense group whose founders include James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, sponsors the annual event, which started with 33 pastors in 2008. This year, Glenn Beck has been promoting it, calling for 1,000 religious leaders to sign on and generating additional interest at the beginning of a presidential election cycle.

“There should be no government intrusion in the pulpit,” said the Rev. James Garlow, senior pastor at Skyline Church in La Mesa, Calif., who led preachers in the battle to pass California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. “The freedom of speech and the freedom of religion promised under the First Amendment means pastors have full authority to say what they want to say.”

Mr. Garlow said he planned to inveigh against same-sex marriage, abortion and other touchstone issues that social conservatives oppose, and some ministers may be ready to encourage parishioners to vote only for those candidates who adhere to the same views or values.

“I tell them that as followers of Christ, you wouldn’t vote for someone who was against what God said in his word,” Mr. Garlow said. “I will, in effect, oppose several candidates and — de facto — endorse others.”

Two Republican candidates in particular, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, would presumably benefit from some pulpit politics on Sunday, since they have been courting Christian conservatives this year.

Participating ministers plan to send tapes of their sermons to the I.R.S., effectively providing the agency with evidence it could use to take them to court.

But if history is any indication, the I.R.S. may continue to steer clear of the taunts.

“It’s frustrating,” said Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel at Alliance Defense. “The law is on the books but they don’t enforce it, leaving churches in limbo.”

Supporters of the law are equally vexed by the tax agency’s perceived inaction. “We have grave concerns over the current inability of the I.R.S. to enforce the federal tax laws applicable to churches,” a group of 13 ministers in Ohio wrote in a letter to the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, in July.

Marcus Owens, the lawyer representing the Ohio ministers, warned that the I.R.S.’s failure to pursue churches for politicking violations would encourage more donations to support their efforts, taking further advantage of the new leeway given to advocacy groups under the Supreme Court’s decision last year in the Citizens United case.

Lois G. Lerner, director of the agency’s Exempt Organizations Division, said in an e-mail that “education has been and remains the first goal of the I.R.S.’s program on political activity by tax-exempt organizations.” The agency has posted “guidance” on what churches can and cannot do on its Web site.

The agency says it has continued to do audits of some churches, but those are not disclosed. Mr. Stanley, Mr. Owens and other lawyers say they are virtually certain it has no continuing audits of church political activity, an issue that has been a source of contention in recent elections.

The alliance and many other advocates regard a 1954 law prohibiting churches and their leaders from engaging in political campaigning as a violation of the First Amendment and wish to see the issue played out in court. The organization points to the rich tradition of political activism by churches in some of the nation’s most controversial battles, including the pre-Revolutionary war opposition to taxation by the British, slavery and child labor.

The legislation, sponsored by Lyndon Baines Johnson, then a senator, muzzled all charities in regards to partisan politics, and its impact on churches may have been an unintended consequence. At the time, he was locked in a battle with two nonprofit groups that were loudly calling him a closet communist.

Thirty years later, a group of senators led by Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, passed legislation to try to rein in the agency a bit in doing some audits. While audits of churches continued over the years, they appeared to have slowed down considerably after a judge rebuffed the agency’s actions in a case involving the Living Word Christian Center and a supposed endorsement of Ms. Bachmann in 2007. The I.R.S. had eliminated positions through a reorganization, and therefore, according to the judge, had not followed the law when determining who could authorize such audits.

Vote: Should churches be allowed to campaign?
Sarah Hall Ingram, the I.R.S. commissioner responsible for the division that oversees nonprofit groups, said the agency was still investigating such cases. “We have churches under audit,” Ms. Hall Ingram said. “Maybe they just aren’t the clients of the people you’re talking to.”

None of the churches involved in previous pulpit Sunday events have received anything beyond a form letter from the I.R.S. thanking them for the tapes, Mr. Stanley said. “They haven’t done anything to clarify what the law is and what pastors can and can’t say,“ he said.

Mr. Owens, the lawyer representing the Ohio churches, said that Ms. Lerner had told a meeting of state charity regulators in late 2009 that the agency was no longer doing such audits. “I have not heard of a single church audit since then,” Mr. Owens said.

He said the agency could have churches under audit for civil fraud or criminal investigation. “I know of at least one of those,” he said.

Ms. Lerner said she could not recall what she had said at the meeting. Grant Williams, an I.R.S. spokesman, declined to describe the type of church audits the agency was doing or their number.

Last year, the I.R.S. also quietly ceased its Political Activities Compliance Initiative, under which it issued reports in 2004 and 2006 detailing its findings of illegal political campaigning by charities, including churches.

Paul Streckfus, a former I.R.S. official who publishes a newsletter about legal and tax developments in the tax-exempt world, said the reports had served as an alert. “They also gave us some idea of how big the problem of noncompliance actually was, and that the I.R.S. was actually doing something about it,” Mr. Streckfus said.

Mr. Garlow said he planned to outline where the candidates stood on various issues and then discuss what the Bible said about those issues, calling on church members to stand by their religious principles.

“The Bible says render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s,” he said. “But Caesar is demanding more and more of what was once considered God’s matter, and pastors have been bullied and intimidated enough.”

This article, "The Political Pulpit," first appeared in The New York Times.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44741162/ns ... oe5XetBD_M
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

jbuck919
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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:41 pm

Many Catholic bishops have long been telling their flock to vote only for candidates who are solidly against abortion rights. Aside from the fact that the Catholic Church is treated by both the government and the press with a unique deference, this preaching does not affect the large numbers, probably the majority, of Catholics who pay no attention to their preachers in such matters. As for non-cafeteria Catholics as well as the Christian right, overt political preaching makes no differences because it is a matter of preaching to the choir anyway. I would even go so far as to say that it is a symptom of the unbelievable egotism of which Protestant clergymen are capable that they think being more overtly political will convince a single voter who is not already a true believer.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

keaggy220
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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:59 pm

jbuck919 wrote:Many Catholic bishops have long been telling their flock to vote only for candidates who are solidly against abortion rights. Aside from the fact that the Catholic Church is treated by both the government and the press with a unique deference, this preaching does not affect the large numbers, probably the majority, of Catholics who pay no attention to their preachers in such matters. As for non-cafeteria Catholics as well as the Christian right, overt political preaching makes no differences because it is a matter of preaching to the choir anyway. I would even go so far as to say that it is a symptom of the unbelievable egotism of which Protestant clergymen are capable that they think being more overtly political will convince a single voter who is not already a true believer.
I don't think it's a matter of convincing anybody of anything as much as it's a matter of overturning tyranny.
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:15 pm

keaggy220 wrote:I don't think it's a matter of convincing anybody of anything as much as it's a matter of overturning tyranny.
Come off it. They're not really challenging a law that is rightly not enforced within a gray area. They are pushing the situation so that they can eventually do any political thing they please without either regulation or risk of losing tax-exempt status. They are right up there with people who hold an autonomous religious service in their house and claim it is a church so as not to have to pay property tax (something you cannot get away with, by the way), but on a much larger scale with more pernicious implications.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

keaggy220
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:42 pm
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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:28 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:I don't think it's a matter of convincing anybody of anything as much as it's a matter of overturning tyranny.
Come off it. They're not really challenging a law that is rightly not enforced within a gray area. They are pushing the situation so that they can eventually do any political thing they please without either regulation or risk of losing tax-exempt status. They are right up there with people who hold an autonomous religious service in their house and claim it is a church so as not to have to pay property tax (something you cannot get away with, by the way), but on a much larger scale with more pernicious implications.
Now I don't know how many churches you've been to or how many pastors you've sat under, but I've been going pretty regularly (meaning every week) all my life and I've had 4 pastors during my adult life... And they've all said pretty much said the same thing around election time which is something along the lines of "I'm not allowed to say anything about a particular candidate, but I would encourage everyone to pray and vote." It's ridiculous and it should end.
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:41 pm

keaggy220 wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:I don't think it's a matter of convincing anybody of anything as much as it's a matter of overturning tyranny.
Come off it. They're not really challenging a law that is rightly not enforced within a gray area. They are pushing the situation so that they can eventually do any political thing they please without either regulation or risk of losing tax-exempt status. They are right up there with people who hold an autonomous religious service in their house and claim it is a church so as not to have to pay property tax (something you cannot get away with, by the way), but on a much larger scale with more pernicious implications.
Now I don't know how many churches you've been to or how many pastors you've sat under, but I've been going pretty regularly (meaning every week) all my life and I've had 4 pastors during my adult life... And they've all said pretty much said the same thing around election time which is something along the lines of "I'm not allowed to say anything about a particular candidate, but I would encourage everyone to pray and vote." It's ridiculous and it should end.
As a church organist from before you were born, I assure you that my experience is more than a match for yours. Every pastor I have known--educated and broad-minded, every one--has said the same thing, and with justifiable pride in so deftly reconciling civic with clerical duty. I cannot imagine why you would consider such equanimity a matter of government coercion rather than voluntary restraint appropriate to a nation that observes the imperative of separating the realms of God and Caesar.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

lennygoran
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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by lennygoran » Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:53 am

>Now I don't know how many churches you've been to or how many pastors you've sat under, but I've been going pretty regularly (meaning every week) all my life and I've had 4 pastors during my adult life... <

Very few--like I said last year we had our first visit to the Washington Cathredral for an inspirational ceremony on a Sunday morning--I've been to some weddings and funerals.

I'm trying to get a grasp on the exemptions and have looked at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/501%28c%29_organization

and

http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable ... 95,00.html

There seem to be 28 501(c) organizations or simply "a 501(c)"--they are American tax-exempt, nonprofit corporations or associations. Section 501(c) of the United States Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 501(c)).

What's wrong with letting them all do whatever they want on political matters but removing their tax exemptions? You would agree that if the churches are allowed to engage in political matters the other 501 [c] organizations should have that right too? So how about removcing all their exemptions and taxing everyone the same way? Regards, Len :?

keaggy220
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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:34 am

jbuck919 wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:I don't think it's a matter of convincing anybody of anything as much as it's a matter of overturning tyranny.
Come off it. They're not really challenging a law that is rightly not enforced within a gray area. They are pushing the situation so that they can eventually do any political thing they please without either regulation or risk of losing tax-exempt status. They are right up there with people who hold an autonomous religious service in their house and claim it is a church so as not to have to pay property tax (something you cannot get away with, by the way), but on a much larger scale with more pernicious implications.
Now I don't know how many churches you've been to or how many pastors you've sat under, but I've been going pretty regularly (meaning every week) all my life and I've had 4 pastors during my adult life... And they've all said pretty much said the same thing around election time which is something along the lines of "I'm not allowed to say anything about a particular candidate, but I would encourage everyone to pray and vote." It's ridiculous and it should end.
I cannot imagine why you would consider such equanimity a matter of government coercion rather than voluntary restraint appropriate to a nation that observes the imperative of separating the realms of God and Caesar.
It's not voluntary restraint, it's the law - and a bad one. The very imperative you cite is being broken.
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

keaggy220
Posts: 4721
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:42 pm
Location: Washington DC Area

Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:35 am

lennygoran wrote:>Now I don't know how many churches you've been to or how many pastors you've sat under, but I've been going pretty regularly (meaning every week) all my life and I've had 4 pastors during my adult life... <

Very few--like I said last year we had our first visit to the Washington Cathredral for an inspirational ceremony on a Sunday morning--I've been to some weddings and funerals.

I'm trying to get a grasp on the exemptions and have looked at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/501%28c%29_organization

and

http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable ... 95,00.html

There seem to be 28 501(c) organizations or simply "a 501(c)"--they are American tax-exempt, nonprofit corporations or associations. Section 501(c) of the United States Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 501(c)).

What's wrong with letting them all do whatever they want on political matters but removing their tax exemptions? You would agree that if the churches are allowed to engage in political matters the other 501 [c] organizations should have that right too? So how about removcing all their exemptions and taxing everyone the same way? Regards, Len :?
I don't want a government bargaining rights in exchange for money. Bad idea - bad precedent .
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:38 am

keaggy220 wrote:It's not voluntary restraint, it's the law - and a bad one.
It would reassure me that you are not making an assumption if you can tell me that any one of those four pastors ever told you in private that he would campaign in a partisan way from the pulpit if he thought he could get away with it. Of course, it is also possible and even likely that you attend a more conservative denomination or independent church where the minister might very well start politicking the next day if the IRS threat were lifted. I don't much see the point, because again, in that kind of church he would be preaching to the already convinced.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

lennygoran
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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by lennygoran » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:05 am

>I don't want a government bargaining rights in exchange for money. Bad idea - bad precedent <

I don't understand the law fully but it seems there should be times when government can't allow doctraines to be preached--that is where the government pays the bills. For example I'm Jewish and a teacher--I go before a class of Blacks in Brooklyn's Ocean Hill section as an English teacher and start teaching them Talmudic rules instead of the regular curriculum. BTW I was such a teacher for 2 years back in the 1960's.

I would like to know the extent of the exemptions your organization and the others are getting.
Look at this list--should they all get an exemption--what's wrong with none of them getting an exemption?

According to the IRS Publication 557, in the Organization Reference Chart section, the following is an exact list of 501(c) organization types and their corresponding descriptions.[1]

* 501(c)(1) — Corporations Organized Under Act of Congress (including Federal Credit Unions)
* 501(c)(2) — Title Holding Corporation for Exempt Organization
* 501(c)(3) — Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, to Foster National or International Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations
* 501(c)(4) — Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local Associations of Employees
* 501(c)(5) — Labor, Agricultural, and Horticultural Organizations
* 501(c)(6) — Business Leagues, Chambers of Commerce, Real Estate Boards, etc.
* 501(c)(7) — Social and Recreational Clubs
* 501(c)(8) — Fraternal Beneficiary Societies and Associations
* 501(c)(9) — Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Associations
* 501(c)(10) — Domestic Fraternal Societies and Associations
* 501(c)(11) — Teachers' Retirement Fund Associations
* 501(c)(12) — Benevolent Life Insurance Associations, Mutual Ditch or Irrigation Companies, Mutual or Cooperative Telephone Companies, etc.
* 501(c)(13) — Cemetery Companies
* 501(c)(14) — State-Chartered Credit Unions, Mutual Reserve Funds
* 501(c)(15) — Mutual Insurance Companies or Associations
* 501(c)(16) — Cooperative Organizations to Finance Crop Operations
* 501(c)(17) — Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Trusts
* 501(c)(18) — Employee Funded Pension Trust (created before June 25, 1959)
* 501(c)(19) — Post or Organization of Past or Present Members of the Armed Forces
* 501(c)(21) — Black lung Benefit Trusts
* 501(c)(22) — Withdrawal Liability Payment Fund
* 501(c)(23) — Veterans Organization (created before 1880)
* 501(c)(25) — Title Holding Corporations or Trusts with Multiple Parents
* 501(c)(26) — State-Sponsored Organization Providing Health Coverage for High-Risk Individuals
* 501(c)(27) — State-Sponsored Workers' Compensation Reinsurance Organization
* 501(c)(28) — National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust
Regards, Len

keaggy220
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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:22 am

jbuck919 wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:It's not voluntary restraint, it's the law - and a bad one.
It would reassure me that you are not making an assumption if you can tell me that any one of those four pastors ever told you in private that he would campaign in a partisan way from the pulpit if he thought he could get away with it. Of course, it is also possible and even likely that you attend a more conservative denomination or independent church where the minister might very well start politicking the next day if the IRS threat were lifted. I don't much see the point, because again, in that kind of church he would be preaching to the already convinced.
The already convinced? Your prejudice is transparent. For 10 years I attended an incredibly dynamic church that grew from 700 people to around 3,000. The pastor was amazing, but had to retire due to MS. Because the church was growing so fast, there were many people attending the church who were new believers with little or no knowledge of Scripture. There were many liberals who attended because they loved the activities we had for their kids. There is huge diversity in northern Virginia.

I now go to church that started in a basement a little over a year ago with 12 people - that included me, my wife and our two kids. The church is now over 100 and we meet in a school in one of the most upscale and sophisticated neighborhoods in Northern VA. The pastor each week asks if anyone would like to accept Christ as their Savior and there always at least two adults and at times 5 or more who answer that call. Again, many new believers who don't fit this monolithic mindset.

By the way, to crush another prejudice, we have 4 pastors (our senior pastor, kid's pastor, music pastor and the pastor handling all logistics - all with vast experience as full-time pastors at churches of 1000+ congregations) at our church and none of them take a salary, they all left their comfortable positions at great churches to start something new and they now have full-time jobs outside of church for the first time in their lives.

I will not attend a church unless the leadership is forcefully against abortion. Obviously, there are many other issues along with abortion, but this is an example...

I can certainly see a sermon around election time centered around the value of innocent life - followed-up by an informative session of the candidates position on abortion. I could also see issues like the lottery (want to help the poor? Get rid of the lottery), drugs, sex education, etc...
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

keaggy220
Posts: 4721
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:42 pm
Location: Washington DC Area

Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:28 am

lennygoran wrote:>I don't want a government bargaining rights in exchange for money. Bad idea - bad precedent <

I don't understand the law fully but it seems there should be times when government can't allow doctraines to be preached--that is where the government pays the bills. For example I'm Jewish and a teacher--I go before a class of Blacks in Brooklyn's Ocean Hill section as an English teacher and start teaching them Talmudic rules instead of the regular curriculum. BTW I was such a teacher for 2 years back in the 1960's.

I would like to know the extent of the exemptions your organization and the others are getting.
Look at this list--should they all get an exemption--what's wrong with none of them getting an exemption?

According to the IRS Publication 557, in the Organization Reference Chart section, the following is an exact list of 501(c) organization types and their corresponding descriptions.[1]

* 501(c)(1) — Corporations Organized Under Act of Congress (including Federal Credit Unions)
* 501(c)(2) — Title Holding Corporation for Exempt Organization
* 501(c)(3) — Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, to Foster National or International Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations
* 501(c)(4) — Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local Associations of Employees
* 501(c)(5) — Labor, Agricultural, and Horticultural Organizations
* 501(c)(6) — Business Leagues, Chambers of Commerce, Real Estate Boards, etc.
* 501(c)(7) — Social and Recreational Clubs
* 501(c)(8) — Fraternal Beneficiary Societies and Associations
* 501(c)(9) — Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Associations
* 501(c)(10) — Domestic Fraternal Societies and Associations
* 501(c)(11) — Teachers' Retirement Fund Associations
* 501(c)(12) — Benevolent Life Insurance Associations, Mutual Ditch or Irrigation Companies, Mutual or Cooperative Telephone Companies, etc.
* 501(c)(13) — Cemetery Companies
* 501(c)(14) — State-Chartered Credit Unions, Mutual Reserve Funds
* 501(c)(15) — Mutual Insurance Companies or Associations
* 501(c)(16) — Cooperative Organizations to Finance Crop Operations
* 501(c)(17) — Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Trusts
* 501(c)(18) — Employee Funded Pension Trust (created before June 25, 1959)
* 501(c)(19) — Post or Organization of Past or Present Members of the Armed Forces
* 501(c)(21) — Black lung Benefit Trusts
* 501(c)(22) — Withdrawal Liability Payment Fund
* 501(c)(23) — Veterans Organization (created before 1880)
* 501(c)(25) — Title Holding Corporations or Trusts with Multiple Parents
* 501(c)(26) — State-Sponsored Organization Providing Health Coverage for High-Risk Individuals
* 501(c)(27) — State-Sponsored Workers' Compensation Reinsurance Organization
* 501(c)(28) — National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust
Regards, Len
I'm just not obsessed with this exemption thing like you are so I don't spend energy on it. The example you gave is flawed because you would be acting in deception.

It would be interesting to find out if any of the exceptions you listed include restrictions of Constitutional rights though...

Did you teach English or Talmudic rules in the 1960's?
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

lennygoran
Posts: 15047
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by lennygoran » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:44 am

>I'm just not obsessed with this exemption thing like you are so I don't spend energy on it.<

I can't understand why you don't want to make sure money is not just thrown away on these exemptions--couldn't this save us money--maybe even balance the budget! :)

> The example you gave is flawed because you would be acting in deception.<

No I'm not talking deception here--why would it be wrong to teach the Talmud in a Brooklyn Public Jr. High School--maybe for the same reason that tax exempt churches should stay out of these political matters. What I would say is that once government money comes in to play you have to play by the rules. If you were not getting this exemption--how much it's saving you in money nor how much it's costing the taxpayer I have no idea --then your pastor could teach or say whatever he wants on the political front.

>It would be interesting to find out if any of the exceptions you listed include restrictions of Constitutional rights though...<

This is where I'm confused--I was hoping you would know more.

>Did you teach English or Talmudic rules in the 1960's?<

Definitely English--my knowledge of the Talmud is very very very limited--remember too that I'm an agnostic--I don't go to synagogue except when some of my friends or family who are Jewish are getting married or having a bar mitzvah or at a funeral--then I just sit or stand there quietly and listen. I learn various items on the religion when I attend the Rosh Hashanah and Passover get togethers--new interesting tidbits always seem to come up. Regards, Len

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:47 am

keaggy220 wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:It's not voluntary restraint, it's the law - and a bad one.
It would reassure me that you are not making an assumption if you can tell me that any one of those four pastors ever told you in private that he would campaign in a partisan way from the pulpit if he thought he could get away with it. Of course, it is also possible and even likely that you attend a more conservative denomination or independent church where the minister might very well start politicking the next day if the IRS threat were lifted. I don't much see the point, because again, in that kind of church he would be preaching to the already convinced.
The already convinced? Your prejudice is transparent. For 10 years I attended an incredibly dynamic church that grew from 700 people to around 3,000. The pastor was amazing, but had to retire due to MS. Because the church was growing so fast, there were many people attending the church who were new believers with little or no knowledge of Scripture. There were many liberals who attended because they loved the activities we had for their kids. There is huge diversity in northern Virginia.

I now go to church that started in a basement a little over a year ago with 12 people - that included me, my wife and our two kids. The church is now over 100 and we meet in a school in one of the most upscale and sophisticated neighborhoods in Northern VA. The pastor each week asks if anyone would like to accept Christ as their Savior and there always at least two adults and at times 5 or more who answer that call. Again, many new believers who don't fit this monolithic mindset.

By the way, to crush another prejudice, we have 4 pastors (our senior pastor, kid's pastor, music pastor and the pastor handling all logistics - all with vast experience as full-time pastors at churches of 1000+ congregations) at our church and none of them take a salary, they all left their comfortable positions at great churches to start something new and they now have full-time jobs outside of church for the first time in their lives.

I will not attend a church unless the leadership is forcefully against abortion. Obviously, there are many other issues along with abortion, but this is an example...

I can certainly see a sermon around election time centered around the value of innocent life - followed-up by an informative session of the candidates position on abortion. I could also see issues like the lottery (want to help the poor? Get rid of the lottery), drugs, sex education, etc...
Thanks for clearing that up (seriously). Now the point I am missing is how the activities you stated in your last paragraph are impeded by any government policy. Advocating for a religious-based moral position in those areas is normal for churches and hardly interfered with. In fact, it drives me nuts that they want some of their purely doctrinal beliefs translated into secular law, but that doesn't mean I want to muzzle them. As I already pointed out, churches (notably the Roman Catholic Church) regularly urge their congregants to vote for what they call pro-life candidates. What is not OK under current law is announcing that the church is specifically endorsing so-and-so for office and maybe even collecting campaign contributions, and then expecting to remain tax-exempt. That is not interfering with freedom of religion any more than preventing churches from manufacturing and selling widgets and taking their profits untaxed.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by living_stradivarius » Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:10 am

Yeah why don't get tax exemptions for political speech like churches do? hmmm?
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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:31 am

lennygoran wrote:>I'm just not obsessed with this exemption thing like you are so I don't spend energy on it.<

I can't understand why you don't want to make sure money is not just thrown away on these exemptions--couldn't this save us money--maybe even balance the budget! :)

> The example you gave is flawed because you would be acting in deception.<

No I'm not talking deception here--why would it be wrong to teach the Talmud in a Brooklyn Public Jr. High School--maybe for the same reason that tax exempt churches should stay out of these political matters. What I would say is that once government money comes in to play you have to play by the rules. If you were not getting this exemption--how much it's saving you in money nor how much it's costing the taxpayer I have no idea --then your pastor could teach or say whatever he wants on the political front.

>It would be interesting to find out if any of the exceptions you listed include restrictions of Constitutional rights though...<

This is where I'm confused--I was hoping you would know more.

>Did you teach English or Talmudic rules in the 1960's?<

Definitely English--my knowledge of the Talmud is very very very limited--remember too that I'm an agnostic--I don't go to synagogue except when some of my friends or family who are Jewish are getting married or having a bar mitzvah or at a funeral--then I just sit or stand there quietly and listen. I learn various items on the religion when I attend the Rosh Hashanah and Passover get togethers--new interesting tidbits always seem to come up. Regards, Len
I understood you to say that you would be going into class as an English teach but instead teaching Talmudic rules.
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:33 am

jbuck919 wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:It's not voluntary restraint, it's the law - and a bad one.
It would reassure me that you are not making an assumption if you can tell me that any one of those four pastors ever told you in private that he would campaign in a partisan way from the pulpit if he thought he could get away with it. Of course, it is also possible and even likely that you attend a more conservative denomination or independent church where the minister might very well start politicking the next day if the IRS threat were lifted. I don't much see the point, because again, in that kind of church he would be preaching to the already convinced.
The already convinced? Your prejudice is transparent. For 10 years I attended an incredibly dynamic church that grew from 700 people to around 3,000. The pastor was amazing, but had to retire due to MS. Because the church was growing so fast, there were many people attending the church who were new believers with little or no knowledge of Scripture. There were many liberals who attended because they loved the activities we had for their kids. There is huge diversity in northern Virginia.

I now go to church that started in a basement a little over a year ago with 12 people - that included me, my wife and our two kids. The church is now over 100 and we meet in a school in one of the most upscale and sophisticated neighborhoods in Northern VA. The pastor each week asks if anyone would like to accept Christ as their Savior and there always at least two adults and at times 5 or more who answer that call. Again, many new believers who don't fit this monolithic mindset.

By the way, to crush another prejudice, we have 4 pastors (our senior pastor, kid's pastor, music pastor and the pastor handling all logistics - all with vast experience as full-time pastors at churches of 1000+ congregations) at our church and none of them take a salary, they all left their comfortable positions at great churches to start something new and they now have full-time jobs outside of church for the first time in their lives.

I will not attend a church unless the leadership is forcefully against abortion. Obviously, there are many other issues along with abortion, but this is an example...

I can certainly see a sermon around election time centered around the value of innocent life - followed-up by an informative session of the candidates position on abortion. I could also see issues like the lottery (want to help the poor? Get rid of the lottery), drugs, sex education, etc...
Thanks for clearing that up (seriously). Now the point I am missing is how the activities you stated in your last paragraph are impeded by any government policy. Advocating for a religious-based moral position in those areas is normal for churches and hardly interfered with. In fact, it drives me nuts that they want some of their purely doctrinal beliefs translated into secular law, but that doesn't mean I want to muzzle them. As I already pointed out, churches (notably the Roman Catholic Church) regularly urge their congregants to vote for what they call pro-life candidates. What is not OK under current law is announcing that the church is specifically endorsing so-and-so for office and maybe even collecting campaign contributions, and then expecting to remain tax-exempt. That is not interfering with freedom of religion any more than preventing churches from manufacturing and selling widgets and taking their profits untaxed.
My experience is that pastors will definitely speak out about such things as abortion, but they have never endorsed, or even come close to endorsing a candidate.
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:36 am

living_stradivarius wrote:Yeah why don't get tax exemptions for political speech like churches do? hmmm?
So you're okay with trading tax exemptions for restrictions on Constitutional rights?
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by lennygoran » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:47 am

>I understood you to say that you would be going into class as an English teach but instead teaching Talmudic rules.<

Maybe I didn't express myself well--no I would never go into a public school and teach the Talmud or the Koran when I'm supposed to be teaching English--did you forget I want to keep religion away from the government. In the same way you shouldn't take advantage of our government by going after an unfair tax exemption. Regards, Len :(

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:52 am

lennygoran wrote:>I understood you to say that you would be going into class as an English teach but instead teaching Talmudic rules.<

Maybe I didn't express myself well--no I would never go into a public school and teach the Talmud or the Koran when I'm supposed to be teaching English--did you forget I want to keep religion away from the government. In the same way you shouldn't take advantage of our government by going after an unfair tax exemption. Regards, Len :(
Who's going after unfair tax exemptions. Now I'm confused again... :(
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by living_stradivarius » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:50 am

keaggy220 wrote:
living_stradivarius wrote:Yeah why don't get tax exemptions for political speech like churches do? hmmm?
So you're okay with trading tax exemptions for restrictions on Constitutional rights?
If churches get'em, why can't I get'em? :)
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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:27 pm

keaggy220 wrote:My experience is that pastors will definitely speak out about such things as abortion, but they have never endorsed, or even come close to endorsing a candidate.
Right, and this movement is trying to get that changed, and it is wrong. (Also, yesterday was the day and I don't see any coverage of this from a Google search.)

From the Iowa Independent, September 30:

Clergy warned about ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’
National group says Sunday event is attempt to politicize churches

A national group that advocates for the separation of church and state is urging members of the evangelical clergy to reject the Alliance Defense Fund’s “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” on Oct. 2.

“This is an appalling attempt by the Religious Right to turn houses of worship into house of partisan politics,” said Rev. Berry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. “Americans attend church for spiritual guidance, not to get a list of candidates to vote for on election day.”

The Alliance Defense Fund, a religiously motivated legal group which considers itself as a counter to the American Civil Liberties Union, is encouraging pastors throughout the nation to “freely speak to their congregations on political matters from a biblical perspective.” This year’s event is an extension and continuation of the group’s 2008 “Pulpit Initiative,” which challenged the Internal Revenue Service restrictions on pastors speaking about political candidates under threat of IRS investigation.

Lynn contends that the ADF is encouraging pastors to break the law by endorsing or opposing certain political candidates as a part of religious ceremony.

“I know the Religious Right would like to forge fundamentalist churches into a partisan political machine,” Lynn said, “but the law doesn’t allow it, and the American people don’t want it.”

The group points to a recent study finding that 73 percent of Americans agree religious leaders should not intervene in elections, and they have pledged to report offending religious institutions to the IRS, the government agency that is charged with investigating and enforcing tax law provisions.

“Church electioneering is illegal, and the people don’t support it,” Lynn added. “It’s time for the Religious Right to stop trying to drag churches into backroom politics.”

In 2006, the IRS issued a report stating that it examined 132 non-profits during the 2004 election cycle. The tax agency noted that “fewer than half” of the entities examined were churches and concluded that in many of the case, significant violations of the law had occurred. Written warnings were issued in 55 cases.

In 2008, the IRS took the step of sending letters to officials in the national political parties, reminding them that houses of worship and other tax-exempt entities cannot endorse candidates.

The ADF doesn’t seem to be arguing that such political practices from the pulpit is legal, but that it should be legal. The group views the restrictions placed on church as a part of their tax-exempt status as an undue shackle, which they believe violates the constitutional right of free speech. The group notes that in the almost 60 years since Congress added the provision to the tax code “there has been no reported situation where a church has lost its tax-exempt status or has been directly punished for sermons delivered from the pulpit evaluating candidates for office in light of scripture.”

Appearing recently on Glenn Beck TV, Pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Wesleyan Church, who also serves as chairman of Renewing American Leadership, argued that “any pastor can say whatever he or she wants from the pulpit.”

During the original Pastor Initiative, according to Garlow, 33 pastors knowingly and purposefully violated federal law by issuing and recording political speech from their pulpits, and afterward provided those recordings to the IRS, which did not prosecute. The following year, a total of 84 pastors did the same — also without penalty. And the year after that 100 pastors did the same without penalty.

“This year,” Garlow said, “we expect close to 500 pastors to intentionally in their sermons defy the Johnson Amendment — they can speak whatever they want — and mail it to the IRS and the Alliance Defense Fund will defend [their right to do so].”

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by John F » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:57 pm

The Constitutional separation of church and state doesn't trump the Constitutional protection of freedom of speech, especially political speech, or even bar clergy from direct political action. Pat Robertson, an ordained Baptist minister, entered the Presidential primaries and caucuses in 1988 and won the Washington caucus, though finally he lost decisively to Bush Senior. Similarly, being a Baptist minister didn't prevent Mike Huckabee from becoming Governor of Arkansas and running for the Presidency. Mitt Romney is not only a priest of the Mormon church, a title acquired pro forma by most Mormon males at age 12, but was the bishop of his local church in the 1980s; yet here he is, a leading candidate for the Republican nomination. There's nothing in the Constitution against that. As for whether it's proper or becoming, that's a matter of personal opinion rather than law, and while it makes me uneasy, I can't say it's wrong.
John Francis

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by alarickc » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:56 am

I personally would leave my church if my pastor started giving political speeches, but then again I guess I'm there for spiritual guidance,, not political. I also don't believe that churches should have there tax-exempt status taken away, I know that my denomination at least does large amounts of social work, and if you started taxing us we probably couldn't anymore, were rather strapped for cash as it is.
"Private human life is anything but dull. On the contrary, it is far too interesting. The troublesome thing about it is that it has no real conventions, makes no inner sense. Anything can happen. It is mysterious, unpredictable, unrehearsable. Professional life is not mysterious at all. The whole music world understands music. Any musician can give to another comprehensible rendition of practically any piece. If there is anything either of them don't understand, there are always plenty of people they can consult about it.
Private life, on the other hand, is beset by a thousand insoluble crises, from unrequited love to colds in the head. Nobody, literally nobody, knows how to avoid any of them. Religion itself can only counsel patience and long-suffering. It is like a nightmare of being forced to execute at sight a score much too difficult for one's training on an instrument nobody know's how to tune and before a public that isn't listening anyway." -Virgil Thomson

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by lennygoran » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:20 am

>I can't say it's wrong.<

I feel they can run all they want and the preachers can say anything political they want--just let's take away their property tax exemptions. Regards, Len

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by lennygoran » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:42 am

>were rather strapped for cash as it is.<

But so are our governments, city, state and federal--they should be the ones deciding how to spend the taxable money--those governments were elected by the people regardless of their religious affiliation. Regards, Len

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:23 am

jbuck919 wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:My experience is that pastors will definitely speak out about such things as abortion, but they have never endorsed, or even come close to endorsing a candidate.
Right, and this movement is trying to get that changed, and it is wrong. (Also, yesterday was the day and I don't see any coverage of this from a Google search.)

From the Iowa Independent, September 30:

Clergy warned about ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’
National group says Sunday event is attempt to politicize churches

A national group that advocates for the separation of church and state is urging members of the evangelical clergy to reject the Alliance Defense Fund’s “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” on Oct. 2.

“This is an appalling attempt by the Religious Right to turn houses of worship into house of partisan politics,” said Rev. Berry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. “Americans attend church for spiritual guidance, not to get a list of candidates to vote for on election day.”

The Alliance Defense Fund, a religiously motivated legal group which considers itself as a counter to the American Civil Liberties Union, is encouraging pastors throughout the nation to “freely speak to their congregations on political matters from a biblical perspective.” This year’s event is an extension and continuation of the group’s 2008 “Pulpit Initiative,” which challenged the Internal Revenue Service restrictions on pastors speaking about political candidates under threat of IRS investigation.

Lynn contends that the ADF is encouraging pastors to break the law by endorsing or opposing certain political candidates as a part of religious ceremony.

“I know the Religious Right would like to forge fundamentalist churches into a partisan political machine,” Lynn said, “but the law doesn’t allow it, and the American people don’t want it.”

The group points to a recent study finding that 73 percent of Americans agree religious leaders should not intervene in elections, and they have pledged to report offending religious institutions to the IRS, the government agency that is charged with investigating and enforcing tax law provisions.

“Church electioneering is illegal, and the people don’t support it,” Lynn added. “It’s time for the Religious Right to stop trying to drag churches into backroom politics.”

In 2006, the IRS issued a report stating that it examined 132 non-profits during the 2004 election cycle. The tax agency noted that “fewer than half” of the entities examined were churches and concluded that in many of the case, significant violations of the law had occurred. Written warnings were issued in 55 cases.

In 2008, the IRS took the step of sending letters to officials in the national political parties, reminding them that houses of worship and other tax-exempt entities cannot endorse candidates.

The ADF doesn’t seem to be arguing that such political practices from the pulpit is legal, but that it should be legal. The group views the restrictions placed on church as a part of their tax-exempt status as an undue shackle, which they believe violates the constitutional right of free speech. The group notes that in the almost 60 years since Congress added the provision to the tax code “there has been no reported situation where a church has lost its tax-exempt status or has been directly punished for sermons delivered from the pulpit evaluating candidates for office in light of scripture.”

Appearing recently on Glenn Beck TV, Pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Wesleyan Church, who also serves as chairman of Renewing American Leadership, argued that “any pastor can say whatever he or she wants from the pulpit.”

During the original Pastor Initiative, according to Garlow, 33 pastors knowingly and purposefully violated federal law by issuing and recording political speech from their pulpits, and afterward provided those recordings to the IRS, which did not prosecute. The following year, a total of 84 pastors did the same — also without penalty. And the year after that 100 pastors did the same without penalty.

“This year,” Garlow said, “we expect close to 500 pastors to intentionally in their sermons defy the Johnson Amendment — they can speak whatever they want — and mail it to the IRS and the Alliance Defense Fund will defend [their right to do so].”
What a bunch of poppycock. Barry Lynn makes an asinine assumption that Pastors are going to give up on the Gospel and become obsessed with brainwashing their congregation politically because all of a sudden they've been given unrestricted free speech. Please don't tell me you fall for this stuff. This is a simple matter of liberty. Will there be pockets of abuse? Certainly, but that's part of the price of liberty. But that's not a good reason to restrict liberty.
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

keaggy220
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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:29 am

alarickc wrote:I personally would leave my church if my pastor started giving political speeches, but then again I guess I'm there for spiritual guidance,, not political. I also don't believe that churches should have there tax-exempt status taken away, I know that my denomination at least does large amounts of social work, and if you started taxing us we probably couldn't anymore, were rather strapped for cash as it is.
I agree with you regarding the issue of pastors giving political speeches and I think most people would be turned off. To me it's a matter of liberty.

I haven't given a lot of thought to tax exempt status, but you're right that most churches are an essential part of social outreach in their communities and adding a tax would have a direct negative impact on the poor.
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

keaggy220
Posts: 4721
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:42 pm
Location: Washington DC Area

Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:31 am

John F wrote:The Constitutional separation of church and state doesn't trump the Constitutional protection of freedom of speech, especially political speech, or even bar clergy from direct political action. Pat Robertson, an ordained Baptist minister, entered the Presidential primaries and caucuses in 1988 and won the Washington caucus, though finally he lost decisively to Bush Senior. Similarly, being a Baptist minister didn't prevent Mike Huckabee from becoming Governor of Arkansas and running for the Presidency. Mitt Romney is not only a priest of the Mormon church, a title acquired pro forma by most Mormon males at age 12, but was the bishop of his local church in the 1980s; yet here he is, a leading candidate for the Republican nomination. There's nothing in the Constitution against that. As for whether it's proper or becoming, that's a matter of personal opinion rather than law, and while it makes me uneasy, I can't say it's wrong.
I think the current law is a violation of the separation of church and state - which by the way, to my knowledge, is not found in the Constitution - it's just made up...
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

John F
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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by John F » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:23 am

keaggy220 wrote:
John F wrote:The Constitutional separation of church and state doesn't trump the Constitutional protection of freedom of speech, especially political speech, or even bar clergy from direct political action... There's nothing in the Constitution against that. As for whether it's proper or becoming, that's a matter of personal opinion rather than law, and while it makes me uneasy, I can't say it's wrong.
I think the current law is a violation of the separation of church and state - which by the way, to my knowledge, is not found in the Constitution - it's just made up...
Which "current law" do you mean?

What, exactly, do you believe is "just made up"? The first amendment to the Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." This has consistently been interpreted by the courts to mean that our government will not exert its power over particular religions or churches, but will keep its hands off. That's as separate as church and state can be, isn't it? But the amendment does not mean that religions, churches, and their pastors may not seek to influence government, as it also protects freedom of speech without regard to the speaker's status.
John Francis

keaggy220
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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:47 am

John F wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:
John F wrote:The Constitutional separation of church and state doesn't trump the Constitutional protection of freedom of speech, especially political speech, or even bar clergy from direct political action... There's nothing in the Constitution against that. As for whether it's proper or becoming, that's a matter of personal opinion rather than law, and while it makes me uneasy, I can't say it's wrong.
I think the current law is a violation of the separation of church and state - which by the way, to my knowledge, is not found in the Constitution - it's just made up...
Which "current law" do you mean?

What, exactly, do you believe is "just made up"? The first amendment to the Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." This has consistently been interpreted by the courts to mean that our government will not exert its power over particular religions or churches, but will keep its hands off. That's as separate as church and state can be, isn't it? But the amendment does not mean that religions, churches, and their pastors may not seek to influence government, as it also protects freedom of speech without regard to the speaker's status.
The current law prohibiting Pastors from free speech I believe is the 1954 Johnson Amendment. Also the phrase separation of church and state is not found in the Constitution. The government does not establish religion. These two things are different and often confused. For instance when a Christian newspaper at UVA wanted funding from the University the paper was denied based on this flawed idea of Separation of Church and State. Fortunately the students took the case to the Supreme Court and won the case.

In this case, the 1954 law has exerted power over religion by prohibiting free speech. This is wrong, but again influenced by this flawed idea of church and state...
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by lennygoran » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:52 am

>The government does not establish religion.<

And it shouldn't but it also shouldn't allow special tax treatment for religions--if the forefathers couldn't see that far into the future that was an oversight on their part. Regards, Len

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by keaggy220 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:55 pm

lennygoran wrote:>The government does not establish religion.<

And it shouldn't but it also shouldn't allow special tax treatment for religions--if the forefathers couldn't see that far into the future that was an oversight on their part. Regards, Len
Take it up with the Constitution... We'll call it the LSW amendment... Len Stop Whining :D
"I guess we're all, or most of us, the wards of the nineteenth-century sciences which denied existence of anything it could not reason or explain. The things we couldn't explain went right on but not with our blessing... So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic, because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out."
— John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by RebLem » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:27 pm

I have found an interesting website called www.taxthechurches.org Very interesting, and I found all this there:

WHO CARES?
Taxpayers care. Patriots care. Conscientious religious citizens care. And we're in very good company, too.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

"When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obligated to call for help of the civil power, it's a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."- Benjamin Franklin

In light of which consider: "[W]e have held that intentional governmental advancement of religion is sometimes required by the Free Exercise Clause."
-Supreme Court Jusitice Anton Scalia (dissent), Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987)

JAMES MADISON

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries." -James Madison

So, then, what are we to make of: "The 'wall of separation between church and state' is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned." -Justice William Rehnquist (dissent), Wallace v. Jaffree (1985)

THOMAS JEFFERSON

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State..." -Thomas Jefferson
Letter to the Danbury Bapist Association, January 1, 1802.

JESUS CHRIST

"Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." -Jesus Christ, in Mark 12:13-17; also Matthew 22:15-22 and Luke 20:20-26. http://aibi.gospelcom.net/eternity/eternity135.htm

ELIZABETH CADY STANTON

"If all those magnificent cathedrals with their valuable lands in Boston, Philadelphia and New York were taxed as they should be, the taxes of women who hold property would be proportionately lightened....I cannot see any good reason why wealthy churches and a certain amount of property of the clergy should be exempt from taxation, while every poor widow in the land, struggling to feed, clothe, and educate a family of children, must be taxed on the narrow lot and humble home." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton, womens suffrage campaign, circa 1880.

"For years many a thinking people have had gloomy forebodings as to the result of the immense power of the church in our political affairs.... And the first step in the disestablishment of the church & of all churches is the taxation of church property. The government has no right to tax infidels for everything that takes the name of religion. For every dollar of church property untaxed, all other properties must be taxed one dollar more, and thus the poor man's home bears the burden of maintaining costly edifices from which he & his family are as effectively excluded -- as though a policeman stood to bar their entrance, and in smaller towns all sects are building, building, building, not a little town in the western prairies but has its three & four churches & this immense accumulation of wealth is all exempt from taxation. In the new world as well as the old these rich ecclesiastical corporations are a heavy load on the shoulders of the people, for what wealth escapes, the laboring masses are compelled to meet. If all the church property in this country were taxed, in the same ratio poor widows are to day, we could soon roll off the national debt....The clergy of all sects are universally opposed to free thought & free speech, & if they had the power even in our republic today would crush any man who dared to question the popular religion."-Elizabeth Cady Stanton, womens suffrage campaign, circa 1877.

Women have had the right to vote for less than one hundred years, yet many - particularly young women - do not. Did Ms. Stanton and so many others struggle in vain?*

*For an entertaining and illuminating example see the excellent Iron Jawed Angels from HBO Films

ULYSSES S. GRANT

In 1875, President Ulysses S. Grant's message to Congress included a 900-foot petition containing 35,000 signatures stating, "We demand that churches and other ecclesiastical property shall be no longer exempt from taxation."

"I would also call your attention to the importance of correcting an evil that, if permitted to continue, will probably lead to great trouble in our land....it is the accumulation of vast amounts of untaxed church property....In 1850, the church properties in the U.S. which paid no taxes, municipal or state, amounted to about $83 million. In 1860, the amount had doubled; in 1875, it is about $1 billion. By 1900, without check, it is safe to say this property will reach a sum exceeding $3 billion....so vast a sum, receiving all the protection and benefits of government without bearing its portion of the burdens and expenses of the same, will not be looked upon acquiescently by those who have to pay the taxes....I would suggest the taxation of all property equally, whether church or corporation." -Ulysses S. Grant

Unfortunately Grant's warning went unheeded by Congress. By 1971, the amount of real and personal property owned by U.S. churches had ballooned to approximately $110 billion. In New York City alone, the amount was $750 million in 1969, $1 billion in 1982, and $3 billion in 1989. http://www.gainesvillehumanists.org/chrchtax.htm

http://taxthechurches.org/quotes.html
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

alarickc
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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by alarickc » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:44 am

I propose this: instead of taxing churches themselves in general, why not just tax any money made on things they sell (which they do plenty of). When a church simply collects money from it's members, given in free will for nothing tangible in return, and uses that money for paying pastors, upkeep of buildings, sponsoring missionaries, and doing charity work it doesn't really do anything that's like a business; something that is taxable. Taxing them for these functions would be the State discriminating against them as compared to other organizations such as the Freemasons. Instead, it would be perfectly fair to tax anything churches sell. Nonprofit publishing houses that still sell things are a joke. If money is exchanged for a tangible good or service, then it should be taxed, if not, no tax.
"Private human life is anything but dull. On the contrary, it is far too interesting. The troublesome thing about it is that it has no real conventions, makes no inner sense. Anything can happen. It is mysterious, unpredictable, unrehearsable. Professional life is not mysterious at all. The whole music world understands music. Any musician can give to another comprehensible rendition of practically any piece. If there is anything either of them don't understand, there are always plenty of people they can consult about it.
Private life, on the other hand, is beset by a thousand insoluble crises, from unrequited love to colds in the head. Nobody, literally nobody, knows how to avoid any of them. Religion itself can only counsel patience and long-suffering. It is like a nightmare of being forced to execute at sight a score much too difficult for one's training on an instrument nobody know's how to tune and before a public that isn't listening anyway." -Virgil Thomson

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:33 am

alarickc wrote:I propose this: instead of taxing churches themselves in general, why not just tax any money made on things they sell (which they do plenty of). When a church simply collects money from it's members, given in free will for nothing tangible in return, and uses that money for paying pastors, upkeep of buildings, sponsoring missionaries, and doing charity work it doesn't really do anything that's like a business; something that is taxable. Taxing them for these functions would be the State discriminating against them as compared to other organizations such as the Freemasons. Instead, it would be perfectly fair to tax anything churches sell. Nonprofit publishing houses that still sell things are a joke. If money is exchanged for a tangible good or service, then it should be taxed, if not, no tax.
I don't know what the rule on this is, either de jure or de facto. I do know that this summer the very non-profit Stony Creek Library made several thousand dollars running the concession for summer concerts in the park, and that in March as the treasrurer I must send a check to New York State for the sales tax.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by lennygoran » Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:14 am

>Take it up with the Constitution... We'll call it the LSW amendment... Len Stop Whining <

I'm not waiting for the Constitution--we'll be in Washington this weekend and I'm going directly to their offices! Regards, Len :)

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by lennygoran » Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:22 am

>I propose this: instead of taxing churches themselves in general, why not just tax any money made on things they sell (which they do plenty of). <

But what about the tremendous amount of property they own--I pay property tax--why not them? Regards, Len

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Re: Hundreds of Pastors to challenge IRS on 10/2

Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:48 pm

I propose this: instead of taxing churches themselves in general...
Nobody is taxed "in general" (except when it comes to state minimum franchise taxes for the existence of business entities which are typically very tiny compared to taxes we're familiar with).
They are taxed on the basis of income, capital gains, and property for the most part.
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