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The Rev. H. Wayne Williams, pastor of Liberty Baptist Tabernacle in Rapid City, last month endorsed GOP state Sen. Gordon Howie in the South Dakota governor's race, in defiance of the Internal Revenue Service and a federal court ruling and in hopes of producing a landmark constitutional test case.
At issue is an IRS regulation called the Johnson Amendment, enacted in 1954, that says that 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the section of the tax code under which most churches file, cannot endorse a specific political candidate and retain its nonprofit classification.
Originally posted by Wayne60
Perhaps I looked over this, but is the Pastor endorsing the political candidate as a church official? Or is his endorsement personal? Not sure that it makes any difference. I'm just trying to get everything in my mind.
If they don't want to follow the few rules applied to their status, let them pay taxes, like the rest of us.
The mere fact that a church must choose between enjoying the benefit of being tax-exempt due to their non-profit status and abdicate their ability to redress the government via support of a candidate; or not be recognized as a church and the protections that come with it just to be able to exercise their First Amendment rights.
Originally posted by ownbestenemy
It serves to question then; why it the Church’s First Amendment rights are able to be abridged under the guise of the 501c code?
Why is it that because they are a non-profit must they not be able to redress the Government via support of a candidate? The People of that particular church are in free association. Via that association, they should be able to advocate their support of a candidate regardless of their exempt status.
I do agree though, that if the Pastor is to make a stand and challenge, drop the exempt status as a non-profit, then present the case as such: Why must a church choose between enjoying their First Amendment rights in regards to freedom of association and redress or tax exempt and relinquish their rights because of that status?