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1,500 Pastors Defy IRS Ban on Preaching Politics

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posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:01 AM
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a reply to: beezzer




I don't see the churches in your OP that would espouse progressive or leftist political ideologies.


This isn't about "ideologies". It's about endorsing a candidate or a party from the pulpit. Preachers can preach for or against certain behaviors or ideologies all day long.




posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:01 AM
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originally posted by: MGaddafi
a reply to: sacgamer25

“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


Separation of church and state means that the government recognizes the written law of the land, not adhering to any so called Devine law that is taught by religion. It does not silence religion.

In the OT the Levites were the priests, doctors, lawyers and politicians, protecting a Devine law. The law is a written part of religion.

If the law is part of religion how can you tell a pastor to not talk about the law during his sermon? Isn't the pastors job to inform his congregation on what God's laws are? Should he not warn them when he believes man's laws are not honoring God's laws?

Religion is law, but you expect pastors to ignore when man's laws contradict his faith. He has an obligation to his congregation to talk about politics, the law, and anything else that is relevant in the world today.

No one has to agree with the Pastors political ideology, but to say he can't talk politics in his church, to his congregation that follows him as if he speaks for God, is actually infringing on the Pastors and the congregations right to free speech.

This law is stupid and the Pastors are absolutely correct to talk about politics. The whole tax issue is ridiculous to me.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:02 AM
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originally posted by: xuenchen
For the sake of clarity, what does the actual IRS rules say about "talking" political issues vs "endorsing" with ads and money and in print?

Or do they not draw any lines?



here's the link:

IRS Guidelines


Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to all campaigns including campaigns at the federal, state and local level. Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Those section 501(c)(3) organizations that are private foundations are subject to additional restrictions that are not described in this fact sheet.


Seems pretty clear.

ETA To add about specific individuals in leadership positions:


The political campaign intervention prohibition is not intended to restrict free expression on political matters by leaders of organizations speaking for themselves, as individuals. Nor are leaders prohibited from speaking about important issues of public policy. However, for their organizations to remain tax exempt under section 501(c)(3), leaders cannot make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official functions of the organization. To avoid potential attribution of their comments outside of organization functions and publications, organization leaders who speak or write in their individual capacity are encouraged to clearly indicate that their comments are personal and not intended to represent the views of the organization.


~Tenth


edit on 10/15/2014 by tothetenthpower because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:06 AM
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a reply to: windword



It was an intentional violation of the law forbidding churches to engage in certain political speech meant to force U.S. courts to confront the issue.


Sometimes people aren't too smart. I wonder what they'll do if the Supreme Court decides religious tax exemptions preclude political action from the churches. Sometime it's better to leave a sleeping bear to sleep.

My personal feelings are if they want a tax exemption based on their church and activities they need to remain in the realm of church not politics. What next? Some big church wants to start an auto factory and build Jesus cars but don't wish to be taxed on that either?



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:09 AM
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a reply to: tothetenthpower

So all the Pastor has to do is say "in my opinion" prior to the sermon and it's covered?

Kind of like when I said "no disrespect intended" before I spoke to my NCO's back when I was a pup


________________________________________________________

Where is the line of endorsement and/or condemnation?

Can they speak about the values of the church and inform the congregation about who fits into those values?

Does the pastor have to endorse a candidate and attempt to coerce his flock to vote a certain way?

Is simply providing facts to the congregation grounds for loss of tax exempt status?



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:11 AM
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a reply to: 200Plus


So all the Pastor has to do is say "in my opinion" prior to the sermon and it's covered?


Not quite.

He can do that in a private setting, but if he's leading any kind of organized event, like a church sermon, then he is barred from doing that.

He can talk to individuals about it, or in his personal dwellings, but any activity that's considered an 'even' is violating the IRS policy.

~Tenth



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:14 AM
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a reply to: tothetenthpower

Ah, I was reading too fast while doing homework. I see where I messed that up.

Thanks!



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:16 AM
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They still have freedom of speach 501c does not apply.a reply to: windword



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:17 AM
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originally posted by: Chronogoblin
a reply to: Krazysh0t

Again about the money. Is that all you people care about? It really is impossible to serve two masters...


So is it ok to take away their tax exempt status then? I don't serve any master. Master implies slavery.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:20 AM
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a reply to: windword

Politics are in every day life, it is everywhere and cannot be avoided, even if you tried really hard, politics in one form or another will always be part of our existence.

Since religion is political in its own right at least in a sense, religious politics together with the politics of other areas of Human existence, including party politics, are perfectly justifiable topics for sermons, as they are a major part of and can have a major impact on peoples lives, both positively and negatively.

The reason they want to ban political sermons in church is obvious...the party politicians know they have been and are doing a terrible job, harming society and individuals alike and do not wish for the highly influential clergy to wake their church's up to this fact.

Which is even more reason to discuss these political subjects fully and openly.

If the party politicians are afraid of congregations realising the truth of what they do in the people's names, perhaps a better option would be to clean up their bloody acts instead of trying to gag people who will be listened to and trusted.


edit on 15-10-2014 by MysterX because: typo



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:20 AM
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a reply to: Michaelfunction

Sure they do! Everyone has freedom of speech. There are, however, consequences. In this case, it's the loss of Tax Exempt Status. In the case of a product spokesperson, for example, it may mean termination of a contract and a penalty fine.

People lose constitutional rights under employment terms and conditions all the time! As do preachers, priests, bishops etc.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:22 AM
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originally posted by: Michaelfunction
They still have freedom of speach 501c does not apply.a reply to: windword



They don't have freedom of speech when dealing with their congregation as a whole.

They can gain that if they'd like, so long as they are willing to pay taxes.

Which is completely appropriate.

Just like there is no 'freedom of speech' on ATS, because it's a private venue with rules and regulations set by the owners and staff.

~Tenth
edit on 10/15/2014 by tothetenthpower because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:22 AM
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originally posted by: MysterX
a reply to: windword
The reason they want to ban political sermons in church is obvious...the party politicians know they have been and are doing a terrible job, harming society and individuals alike and do not wish for the highly influential clergy to wake their church's up to this fact.


Want to ban political sermons in church? They are ALREADY banned. That is the stipulation of their tax exempt status.


Which is even more reason to discuss these political subjects fully and openly.


Fine, then they need to pay taxes.


If the party politicians are afraid of congregations realising the truth of what they do in the people's names, perhaps a better option would be to clean up their bloody acts instead of trying to gag people who will be listened to and trusted.


Or the churches could just pay taxes and then would be able to talk all the politics they want.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:30 AM
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Anyone concerned what would happen if they changed this law in America?

I was always under the impression that religion has been heavily involved in politics in the USA such as prop 8 etc ... Plus I've heard many pastors talking about uniting church power and how much power Christian demographics could have if they exerted themselves in unity.

Is there something I'm misunderstanding about America in general? Because I've seen these things said before, and I thought for the most part it was overlooked for whatever reason. I was aware of the law, just didn't think it was generally enforced on a wide scale. Or maybe just everyone followed it?

I don't go into American churches on a regular basis so maybe some American Christian folks can let us know.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:31 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Personally, if i were a pastor (which would be a bloody miracle in itself as i'm a confirmed agnostic) i would NEVER be held to ransom over tax status.

If i believed a subject, any subject, was important to pass along to my congregation, i would be paying tax instead of keeping my mouth shut.

But that's me.

Surely, some of the church's revenue ought to be subject to tax anyway?

Don't know how it works in the States, but if ALL of the revenue was destined to be distributed to charities, the poor and needy, the unfortunate and sick and so on, that will be, or very much ought to be tax exempt...monies not destined for these charitable causes, IMO, similarly ought to be subject to tax.

I would say what i wanted, and pay the tax unless i could prove the bulk of the money was for charity of course.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:33 AM
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a reply to: Pinke

It's not that they can't talk about whatever they want, they just can't actively campaign, for or against any specific political issue/candidate or event.

And I'm not so sure about actively enforcing, I doubt members of one's own congregation would turn them into the IRS for doing so.

I've never heard of any church loosing their status over something like this either.

~Tenth



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:43 AM
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Remove the Tax Exempt Status anyway. All religious organization should pay taxes if they make money. Maybe it would remove some of the religious businesses and create true spiritual organizations that are not working for the Mammon.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:48 AM
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a reply to: tothetenthpower

Hi Tenth, Thanks for your input.




And I'm not so sure about actively enforcing, I doubt members of one's own congregation would turn them into the IRS for doing so.


The Alliance Defending Freedom Org has this to say on the consequences of defying the law.


Q What are the risks of violating the IRS restrictions on pastor
speech?

A The risks involved in violating the IRS restrictions on pastor speech from the pulpit will vary depending on the specific situation. Generally, the IRS can impose one of two penalties on churches. First, the IRS could levy an “excise” tax against the church. This is a tax imposed directly on the activity that violates the IRS restriction. An excise tax, though, would be difficult for the IRS to calculate and would probably not be very great in amount if applied to a pastor’s sermon (e.g. the amount of electricity for the time of the activity, assuming no direct funds were expended). Secondly, the IRS
could threaten to revoke a church’s tax section 501 (C) (3) tax exemption for a period of time.

Under the tax code, churches are automatically tax exempt, unless they are found to have violated section 501(c)(3). Alliance Defending Freedom believes that a church may only lose its tax exempt status for a very short time period, and even if a church’s tax exempt 501 (c) (3) letter is revoked, a church may once again be automatically considered tax exempt under the tax code if it agrees to abide by section 501(c)(3).

Q Would a temporary loss of tax exempt status have a significant impact on our church?

A Most likely, a temporary loss of tax exempt status would have very little impact on the church. Only “income” can be taxed by the IRS, but all donations to the church are “gifts,” which are not considered income under the tax code. Therefore, there may be no tax consequences for the church at all. Only church “income” from other
non-gift-related sources, such as business-related income, is subject to federal income taxation. For most churches this would be a small amount — if any at all.


So, not too much a fine, really.

It seems as though this movement was started, coincidentally, shortly after Obama was first elected.


In 2008, Alliance Defending Freedom conducted the first Pulpit Freedom Sunday on September 28. Starting with 33 pastors from 22 states in 2008, Pulpit Freedom Sunday participation has grown steadily to a high of 1621 participants in 2012.

There could be many reasons why the IRS has not responded to these pastors, including administrative delays, reshuffling of personnel following the 2008 presidential election, or a host of other reasons. The IRS’ response — or lack of response — should not be taken as substantive proof of anything. Alliance Defending Freedom remains committed to achieving the goals of Pulpit Freedom Sunday, no matter how long it takes.


www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org...


edit on 15-10-2014 by windword because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 10:50 AM
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That's fine, they have the right to say what they want. Just revoke their tax free status. This country can't really afford tax free status anyway as long as we intend to fund wars.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 11:00 AM
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a reply to: damwel

Wars are expensive because we give back what is taken (and contracts for rebuilding).

If we kept what we fought for, imagine how many extra tax payers that would be to leach off of.

We cannot afford tax exempt status for anyone; people, organizations, or corporations.

Shift to a consumption tax rather than an income tax system. Everyone would be taxed equally, including these churches that break the current laws.

However, as we all know, being equal isn't fair is it?



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