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Activist churches bait IRS, but agency won't bite so far

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posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 07:57 PM
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Activist churches bait IRS, but agency won't bite so far



Pastor Jim Garlow will stand before congregants at his 2,000-seat Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, California, on Sunday, October 7, just weeks before the U.S. presidential and congressional elections, and urge his flock to vote for or against particular candidates.

He knows such pulpit pleading could endanger his church's tax-exempt status by violating IRS rules for a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. A charity can take a position on policy issues but cannot act "on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office." To cross that line puts the $7 million mega-church's tax break at risk.

Even so, Garlow not only intends to break the rules, he also plans to spend the next four months recruiting other pastors to do the same as part of Pulpit Freedom Sunday. On that day each year since 2008, ministers intentionally try to provoke the IRS. Some even send DVD recordings of their sermons to the agency.

Last year, 539 pastors participated. This year organizers expect far more. Participants want to force the matter to court as a freedom of speech and religion issue.

"I believe we're on the early stages of the next great awakening," Garlow told his congregation last year. "We're going to see it just sweep across this nation."



It's time for the IRS to say enough is enough and strip these churches that participate in this of their tax free status. If they want to get involved in politics then they need to pay taxes just like everyone else.




posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 08:01 PM
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reply to post by buster2010
 


Why is it ok for other non-profits( that are not churches) to be able to endorse a candidate? Wouldn't imposing a tax on these churches be a bit biased?



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 08:06 PM
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Originally posted by micmerci
reply to post by buster2010
 


Why is it ok for other non-profits( that are not churches) to be able to endorse a candidate? Wouldn't imposing a tax on these churches be a bit biased?


Who said it was ok for them to do it? The law says they are not allowed to endorse a candidate and like the church they should lose their tax free status as well.



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 08:12 PM
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Originally posted by micmerci
reply to post by buster2010
 


Why is it ok for other non-profits( that are not churches) to be able to endorse a candidate? Wouldn't imposing a tax on these churches be a bit biased?


I believe you have it the wrong way 'round. The original purpose was to keep any and all 501(c)3 non-profits from supporting or opposing political candidates--except for churches. Churches were, as I recall, originally meant to be exempt. I'd have to look it up.

Anyway, somewhere along the way I guess someone made a policy decision and included churches.

As I say, I'd have to look it up. But that's kinda the long and short of it....



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 08:13 PM
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reply to post by buster2010
 


The IRS says it's ok for them to do it. Seems the IRS just doesn't want RELIGIOUS non-profits to do it. A bit one-sided if you ask me.

From the IRS website

The type of tax exemption determines whether an organization may endorse candidates for public office. For example, a section 501(c)(3) organization may not publish or distribute printed statements or make oral statements on behalf of, or in opposition to, a candidate for public office. Consequently, a written or oral endorsement of a candidate is strictly forbidden. The rating of candidates, even on a nonpartisan basis, is also prohibited. On the other hand, a section 501(c)(4), (5), or (6) organization may engage in political campaigns, provided that such activities are not the organization's primary activity.

In addition, section 501(c) organizations that make expenditures for political activity may be subject to tax under section 527(f). For more information, please see Election Year Issues.



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 08:19 PM
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Just for clarification, 501c4,5,6 are civic organizations, labor, agriculture, and business improvement non=profits. It is fine for them to endorse, just a no-no for religious non profits.
edit on 21-6-2012 by micmerci because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 08:24 PM
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It's racist.

It's OK with the IRS for a "black church" to stump for a (Democrat) candidate. Heck, Bill Clinton "campaigned" for Hilary from an AME pulpit in the 2008 election.

It is only morally wrong if conservative churches and synagogues do it.



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 08:30 PM
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Originally posted by Ex_CT2

Originally posted by micmerci
reply to post by buster2010
 


Why is it ok for other non-profits( that are not churches) to be able to endorse a candidate? Wouldn't imposing a tax on these churches be a bit biased?


I believe you have it the wrong way 'round. The original purpose was to keep any and all 501(c)3 non-profits from supporting or opposing political candidates--except for churches. Churches were, as I recall, originally meant to be exempt. I'd have to look it up.

Anyway, somewhere along the way I guess someone made a policy decision and included churches.

As I say, I'd have to look it up. But that's kinda the long and short of it....


The law says any non profit organization.



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 08:32 PM
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Originally posted by tovenar

It's racist.

It's OK with the IRS for a "black church" to stump for a (Democrat) candidate. Heck, Bill Clinton "campaigned" for Hilary from an AME pulpit in the 2008 election.

It is only morally wrong if conservative churches and synagogues do it.


When did Bill Clinton become a minister? And isn't calling a church a "black church" in itself racist?



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 08:33 PM
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reply to post by buster2010
 


No it does not say any non-profit. Refer to my reply above which is directly from the IRS website. This is the main beef of these pastors, that it is unfairly biased against religious non-profits. If the law said all non-profits it would be a non issue.



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 08:36 PM
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reply to post by buster2010
 


Actually the law says any 501(c)(3). What I'm saying is that it wasn't aimed at churches per se churches. They just got caught up in Lyndon Johnson's fervor to crush his enemies. Here--I found what I was looking for:


"In an effort to combat McCarthyism and anti-communist organizations that he believed threatened his re-election in 1954, Lyndon Johnson introduced a tax-reform amendment preventing all Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Though Johnson was mostly concerned about right-wing political groups such as Facts Forum and the Committee for Consitutional Government, he worded his amendment so it would apply to all Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt groups. Thus, the electioneering ban applies to churches because they share the same tax-exempt status as the political groups Johnson was really after--not because of anything having to do with religion or churches per se."


Source

edit on 6/21/2012 by Ex_CT2 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 08:46 PM
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Originally posted by micmerci
Just for clarification, 501c4,5,6 are civic organizations, labor, agriculture, and business improvement non=profits. It is fine for them to endorse, just a no-no for religious non profits.
edit on 21-6-2012 by micmerci because: (no reason given)


Thanks micmerci. I just wanted to quote you so I don't have to repeat you. Everyone please keep in mind that churches are organized under 501(c)(3)--but many other non-profits are organized under 501(c) (4), (5), and (6). The original intent was not to silence churches. I repeat: The original intent was not to silence churches.

Now, if the government and the IRS had any sense, they'd address this problem directly. However, since they don't--well, it is what it is....



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 08:47 PM
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Originally posted by buster2010

Originally posted by tovenar

It's racist.

It's OK with the IRS for a "black church" to stump for a (Democrat) candidate. Heck, Bill Clinton "campaigned" for Hilary from an AME pulpit in the 2008 election.

It is only morally wrong if conservative churches and synagogues do it.


When did Bill Clinton become a minister? And isn't calling a church a "black church" in itself racist?


You're right. I should have called it the "African Methodist Episcopal Church."

Forgive me.


What difference does it make whether Clinton is a minister? Do only ministers have not 1st amendment rights when it comes to the pulpit? What about Pentacostals and Quakers, who don't have ordained clergy, can they endorse candidates?????
edit on 21-6-2012 by tovenar because: he's taking precautions against pickers of nit.



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 09:10 PM
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Originally posted by tovenar

Originally posted by buster2010

Originally posted by tovenar

It's racist.

It's OK with the IRS for a "black church" to stump for a (Democrat) candidate. Heck, Bill Clinton "campaigned" for Hilary from an AME pulpit in the 2008 election.

It is only morally wrong if conservative churches and synagogues do it.


When did Bill Clinton become a minister? And isn't calling a church a "black church" in itself racist?


You're right. I should have called it the "African Methodist Episcopal Church."

Forgive me.


What difference does it make whether Clinton is a minister? Do only ministers have not 1st amendment rights when it comes to the pulpit? What about Pentacostals and Quakers, who don't have ordained clergy, can they endorse candidates?????
edit on 21-6-2012 by tovenar because: he's taking precautions against pickers of nit.


Clinton not being a minister means quite a bit. He is not representing that church. When a minister is talking during a service he is speaking for that church not himself.
edit on 21-6-2012 by buster2010 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 09:20 PM
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Allowing a candidate to speak would be making a statement and would be a violation of the above quoted code.
It all depends on the discernment of the irs.



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 09:33 PM
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Originally posted by buster2010
Clinton not being a minister means quite a bit. He is not representing that church. When a minister is talking during a service he is speaking for that church not himself.
edit on 21-6-2012 by buster2010 because: (no reason given)


The church is being a forum for ideas, whether one of their own, or a professional pollutician.

So, the church as an institution is supposed to practice 'prior restraint' with what it's own leader might say; but inviting a guest speaker absolves it of any controversy?

The different cannot be about whether the minister does the talking. There are over a thousand different denominations in America, and each of them with different definitions of what it means to be a minister. Some of them don't even have ministers (i.e., non-christian religious institutions), and some Christian ones don't actually ordain their members.

So unless the IRS wants to come up with a set of definitions of what constitutes a "legal minister" for 1st amendment purposes....

I think if you read up on that Christian movement, you will read that ministers of one particular viewpoint claim that they are not allowed to endorse candidates, while other religious organizations do so. (Buddhist Temple in California that collected campaign funds for Clinton in 1996)

Of course, Attorney General Eric Holder met recently with a group of black ministers to explain the "limits of the law" to them so that they wouldn't be afraid to "do everything we can" to get out the vote, using the pulpit.

No need to meet with non-African American clergy, though.



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