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Antiwar Sermon Could Cost Church Its Tax-Exempt Status

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posted on Sep, 23 2006 @ 10:15 PM

Originally posted by iori_komei
So how exactly did the IRS find out about it,

That's a good question, I would think it would have had to of been one of the congregation or a visitor that alerted the authorities.

It really doesn't matter in my opinion which side the sermon favored, even though I do believe it favored one side over the other, it is the fact that this sort of sermon shouldn't be allowed. I feel the church should teach their followers the beliefs of their chosen faith and let the individual make their own decisions when it comes to politics.

All you have to do is look around the world at other countries where a religion has control in politics and laws to see how the two (politics and religion) don't mix well together.

After a while it gets to be one religion against the other to try to be the dominate power in the government. Our forefathers saw this way back when they started this country and this is why they wanted the two to not be entwined together.

Our country allows freedom of religion, but none of the religions have the power to make the government do as it wishes. If you allow religions to start campaigning for candidates, sooner or later one religion, probably the most popular religion in the country, will have enough representatives in the government to get bills or laws passed at their will according to THEIR beliefs.

This is why I believe government and religion should remain totally separate.

posted on Sep, 23 2006 @ 11:56 PM

Originally posted by seagull
Who decides what constitutes "substantial" and "participation" is? It seems to me that a free society, such as ours is, should put any sort of limit on political speech. I have real problems with trying to shut down speech of any sort. Churches have been and still are, I hope, the conscience of our country, and a catalyst for change. Anything that hinders this is morally reprehensible.

No one wants to hinder the ability of a church to speak to the conscience of the people. They can speak all they want about the rights and wrongs of abortion, gay marriage and the like. But they are specifically prohibited from endorsing any specific politician or party ... including contributing to campaingns.

Why are they prohibited? Because they are a "non-profit" organization and as such are afforded many tax benefits by the government. If they wish to contribute to PAC's and cadidates and to name candidates they support they have the ability. Simply give up their non-profit status and start paying taxes like any other company in our country is required to do.

I have no problem with the IRS enforcing the non-profit laws ... these are not new laws,are well known when one is incorporating a non-profit and they should have to play within these laws.

posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 12:13 AM
- Tap the phone lines going into and out of the church
- forbid these people from meeting in a public forum
- search the preachers home
- make him accept a national ID card with a tracking chip in it, manufactured by a foriegn corporation
- and then torture him until he tells the truth.

Peace is for pussies

Give us blood.

[edit on 24-9-2006 by In nothing we trust]

posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 08:01 AM
The christian coalition publishes a book every year I believe, giving a summary of every candidate running for office, pointing out where they jive with christian beliefs and where they don't. They probably played a big role in getting the current caste of clowns in office.

But this little church wasn't beating to their drum....ya know, believe as the christian coalition does and all will be fine, heck you can even hold summer camps where you can train the next generation of God's army!! but, woa to the little church that's faith and doctrines don't jive....they'll get slammed!!

combining church and state will do a great amount of harm to the free expression of that faith and belief within the churches...they will all have to beat to the same drum.

posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 08:12 AM
I happen to agree with the conclusion that this preacher's comments went over the line. There is indeed, as another poster stated, a way in which the Biblical messages on certain issues can be taught (which is what the church is for) without bringing in the politics surrounding the issue (which is absolutely not what the church is for). AND, apparently some of the members of this church felt the same way, because some one who heard that sermon had to have informed the IRS.

But here's my big question on this issue - what group is behind the scare-mongering propaganda surrounding this story being spread? About 2 months ago my elderly mother received an entire packet of information replete with form letters, and protest slips to be passed out to friends and family, and a multi-page pamphlet about how the ACLU (and it was ALL centered against the ACLU) was targetting churches and trying to get them shut down or silenced because they were speaking out about moral issues in U.S. politics. It gave several examples (including this one as the "premiere" example), and all of them were worded vaguely to where you couldn't tell what the exact words of the preacher were. Both myself and my older sister pointed this out to my mother, who, after reading the mess of information was just up in arms over how Christian churches were under attack!

I think the really important question is who the hell is scary the crap out of the elderly Christian folks in America and trying to get them up in arms against the ACLU? (By the way, I don't care all that much for the ACLU myself, but I have specific reasons for that - not trumped up fallacies made to make me react as some hidden group wants me to.) I believe whatever group this is is targetting the elderly since I have not heard of any young Christian people getting this packet in the mail.

[edit on 9-24-2006 by Valhall]

posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 01:18 PM
I am not a big fan of churches meddling in politics but there is a huge difference taking a moral stance for or against something, in this case opposition to the war and all but endorsing a party or a candidate for office. There have been many right wing pastors of conservative churches who have done exactly that and have remained unmolested.

Certain spiritual premises by neccessity invoke a social and/or political stance.

Remember the churches were front and foremost in the abolition movement, women sufferage and civil rights based on the notion that we are all equal before God. They are also in the vanguard of the anti-abortion movement, which I disagree with being a profoundly personal and private decision. Be that as it may their involvement in abolition, sufferage and civil rights all moved society forward in positive ways and each and every one of those things are in essence deeply political in nature.

The issue is not whether churches should take a political stance, the real issue is whether non-involvement in politics should be enforced unilaterally or selectively. The IRS going after liberal churches for being opposed to the war is enforcing it selectively.

Now if they went after the Pat Robertson's as well..... now that would be enforcing it unilaterally, which is how it should be, or not at all.

posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 01:45 PM
this isn't an example of church leaders meddling in political affairs??

WASHINGTON - The Rev. Jerry Falwell says a White House run by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton would energize his base of religious conservatives even more than if the devil were the Democratic nominee.

"I certainly hope that Hillary is the candidate," Falwell told a private prayer breakfast. "Because nothing will energize my (constituency) like Hillary Clinton."

"If Lucifer ran, he wouldn't," Falwell added, drawing a roomful of laughs and cheers.

The remarks came during a 40-minute address Friday morning at the "Values Voter Summit," sponsored by the country's leading conservatives and featuring several Republicans who are considering running for president in 2008.

some more information about 'Values Voter Summit':

I'm sorry, but there seems to be alot of right wing christian leaders openly playing in our government policies, and at least of few of them are enjoying some kind of tax-free status....
so, what's the difference between these groups actions and this little church, outside of that these groups have much more power and a louder microphone to spread their messages across the country? Does Falwell enjoy tax-free status, comparing a candidate worse than satan doesn't qualify for it to be pulled?

another interesting tidbit...

[edit on 24-9-2006 by dawnstar]

posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 02:51 PM

Originally posted by seagull
The fact that freedom of speech is at issue here, not to mention certain church-state issues.

From what I understand of the way this law works, the only time church "employees" aren't allowed to campaign for candidates or speak about politics is at the pulpit giving a sermon to their congregation.

In private they can talk about their political ideas and what candidates they preffer.

posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 03:37 PM
This is not an issue I really want to weigh in on, but I asked some (fundalmentalist Christian) people whether or not churches should loose their tax exempt status, and they said "the Bible says 'give to Ceaser what is Ceaser's'", so they would be willing to. True the stats are biased, but they have the most power currently.

IMO the fundamentalist crowd is so Bible-whipped they don't understand that churches are supported on charity, money that already has been taxed. To them Bush et al is appointed by God and thus carries the authority, so I see no separation. Another case pro the point.

Now I will stop weighing.

posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 03:56 PM
I don't know the example I just presented was a "a private prayer breakfast".....thought when two or more were gathered together in his name and all that jazzz... a prayer breakfast, to me would qualify as a religious event wouldn't' it?? anywho, guess it would depend on where the money came from to hold this prayer breakfast...did it come from donations from people who thought it would be used to further the work of the church, or did they think it would be used for political purposes. don't know...but, would handing out voter registration kits in churches qualify? because focus on the family is involved in that one.

posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 05:06 PM

Originally posted by Matyas
IMO the fundamentalist crowd is so Bible-whipped they don't understand that churches are supported on charity, money that already has been taxed.

Not exactly, charitable contributions are tax deductible, therefore, that "charity" is not taxed. However, if the churches lose there tax exempt status, contributions to them would not be tax deductible for the contributor either. OUCH!

[edit on 9/24/2006 by Relentless]

posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 02:07 PM

Originally posted by Keyhole
Here is a summary of the political restrictions on churches they must abide by to maintain their tax exemption.

First Amendment Center

Restrictions on religious groups

In order to maintain tax-exempt status, churches, like other 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, must forgo certain activities. Specifically, 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from engaging in excessive political lobbying and any political campaigning. According to the IRS, Sec. 501(c) of the IRS Code requires that a tax-exempt religious organization “may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate at all in campaign activity for or against political candidates.”

Who defines "excessive poltical lobbying"? What is "a substantial part of it's activities"? I have read the sermon, and I cannot see that two quotes believed to be negatives aimed at the Shrub in anyway can be seen as excessive or substantial.
This IS the only sermon that the IRS has a problem with, correct? There are no more, are there?
If not, than it seems that because the pastor even BRIEFLY spoke out against the PTB, they let slip their dogs on him.
This is the kind of intimidation tactics I have seen to be typical of this regime... ummm... adminitration.
Because I do not agree with the Prez, and his war, I am anti-American, I am unpatriotic. And yes, you can bet that should the pastor have spoken thusly about Kerry, there would have been no reprisal.
Above all, we must be free to question and critisize our government, in any form. We must be free to make others question, we must be able to take in all information, from all sides, and make our decisions based on what we believe to be right.

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