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← Pastors Challenge Law, Endorse Candidates From Pulpit

Pastors Challenge Law, Endorse Candidates From Pulpit - Comments

SonOfSLJ's Avatar Comment 1 by SonOfSLJ

Quoth the article:

"The government is trying to censor me and other religious leaders," Booth told ABC News. "I may be taking on the IRS, but the IRS has taken on the Constitution unchallenged since 1954. I feel like the only law that should dictate what I am allowed to say is the First Amendment."

Completely agree with you Pastor Booth, provided that you finally pony up the membership fee for our dorky little USA Club that guarantees your religious institution the rights dictated by the First Amendment. Until then, it's really a question of whether you want to eat your cake or have it.

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 10:29:00 UTC | #186784

JLD Calgary's Avatar Comment 2 by JLD Calgary

How much do you want to bet the IRS doesn't end up doing anything on this? Pretty disappointing.

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 10:30:00 UTC | #186785

tybowen's Avatar Comment 3 by tybowen

Sure they can endorse a candidate from the pulpit, they just have to accept the financial consequences. There is no constitutional basis for tax exempt status (the 16th amendment covers that) so they'll just have to pay taxes like the rest of us. Use that money for science education. We lose some churches and get better education. Win-win!

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 10:33:00 UTC | #186791

Szkeptik's Avatar Comment 4 by Szkeptik

It's obvious they would lose in a federal court. This is not about free speech. They will not be fined or jailed, they will not be penalised in any way. They will simply lose a privilege because they broke the law.

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 10:38:00 UTC | #186796

Epinephrine's Avatar Comment 5 by Epinephrine

I'd like to see them paying taxes too. Any chance of that happening in our lifetimes?

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 10:40:00 UTC | #186798

sidfaiwu's Avatar Comment 6 by sidfaiwu

"The gist of my speech was you can't support Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama because they support abortion and homosexual marriage, and the scripture vehemently opposes both. I didn't say vote for McCain, but I'm planning to,""

But his version of Christianity is okay with massive-scale greed and perpetual war? Where do I sign up for this blood-thirsty congregation. At last, a church that takes the Old Testament seriously. Time to start cracking some skulls and making money on the side!

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 10:47:00 UTC | #186800

FightingFalcon's Avatar Comment 7 by FightingFalcon

In other thread here, I said I was opposed to churches paying taxes if it means that they can't get involved in politics or the government (directly at least).

I'll definitely be watching this case closely. I still prefer to have churches retain tax exempt status if it also means that they can't endorse political candidates or interfere in government.

Of course, if the IRS is on the case we can expect absolutely nothing out of this. What a worthless group...

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 10:51:00 UTC | #186801

Nick6742's Avatar Comment 8 by Nick6742

A far more sinister abuse of this code is the Co$ manipulating the city government in Clearwater, FL to blatantly restrict the civil liberties of the citizens there. The IRS is incompetent and lacks the will to do anything important.

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 11:00:00 UTC | #186809

sophia_mr's Avatar Comment 9 by sophia_mr

Call me an idiot..

I didn't know Lynn was a Rev. -.-

i saw him in a video defending evolution.. he's a good man. XP

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 11:09:00 UTC | #186816

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 10 by prettygoodformonkeys

Pierce Creek Church

"The Bible warns us .... lest God chasten us …"
What the hell are they worried about? When is the last time anyone's seen any thunderbolts coming from that quarter?

I mean, they're marrying gays in the sunshine in California, and yet the Midwest is being 'punished' by 'acts of god'.

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 11:15:00 UTC | #186820

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 11 by Border Collie

If there's anything I loathe more than religious wingnuts, it's the IRS ...

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 11:27:00 UTC | #186832

Edouard Pernod's Avatar Comment 12 by Edouard Pernod

For the 2006 congressional elections, my father (who is left leaning) staged a walkout of his church service when the pastor brought in a guest speaker who was so anti-abortion that they told the congregation it would be a sin to vote for a Democrat. My dad and the members who walked out with him wrote the pastor a letter threatening to contact the IRS if it happened again, and the pastor apologized vehemently the next week and promised not to invite the guest speaker back. Churches have in fact lost tax-exempt status (WHICH THEY SHOULD NEVER HAVE IN THE FIRST PLACE!) for endorsing or condemning political candidates in the past, and it has been happening with increasing frequency, so I'd love to see these pastors be asinine and use the pulpit for politics and watch them lose their tax exempt status.

These churches are pretty corrupt with how they end up showing their "charitable non-profit" status anyway. They'll repave the parking lot twice a year and buy hundreds of youth group T-shirts and spend money on "retreats" which are just fancy church vacations to condos to "commune with nature as God made it", so that way it looks like the church isn't making a profit.

I'm all in favor of real non-profit organizations not paying taxes, religious or not, but just because something is religious does not mean it should be non-profit. The Church of Scientology is extraordinarily wealthy, owning a tremendous amount of top dollar real estate, and tax exempt thanks to the IRS granting them that status in 1993. Being a "religion" should not grant anyone any special tax-exempt privileges. If they can't prove that they do real material charity work (no "saving souls" is not charity), then fuck them, they should pay taxes on their income just like everyone else has to.

Pretty crazy story...

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 11:35:00 UTC | #186844

davem's Avatar Comment 13 by davem

Me, I always thought God would have voted Republican, and Jesus would definitely be a Democrat, nay, maybe even a communist...

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 11:59:00 UTC | #186867

EvidenceOnly's Avatar Comment 14 by EvidenceOnly

With the current US government defiantly ignoring the US constitution, do you really think that they will go after any tax exempt organization telling their sheep to vote republican?

If you want to see decisive IRS action, all you need is 1 tax-exempt organization telling its members to vote Democrat.

It is still possible that they would not want to set a legal precedent that opens the door stripping right-wing organizations of their tax-exempt status when the next president takes office.

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 12:00:00 UTC | #186869

quill's Avatar Comment 15 by quill

Haha, these guys are going down. You don't try this kind of bullshit with the IRS. Take it from Kent Hovind, suckers. They'll break down your doors, confiscate your property, and put your asses in jail for the rest of your miserable lives.

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 12:05:00 UTC | #186873

Burt Likko's Avatar Comment 16 by Burt Likko

The pastor has every right imaginable to engage in all the speech he wants on politics. He can endorse specific candidates, denounce other candidates, and urge people to vote yes or no on whatever issue he wants.

The pastor does not, however, have the right to avoid paying taxes. That is a very special privilege, one that in a truly just world he would not have in the first place. But given that he does have that privilege, he must abide by the rules that go along with it.

So if the pastor wants to denounce same-sex marriage or speak out against a candidate of whom he disapproves, he can do so on the same footing as the rest of us -- as a taxpaying citizen of the United States of America. This atheist has no problem with that trade-off at all.

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 12:10:00 UTC | #186881

ttheobald's Avatar Comment 17 by ttheobald

Hmmm...obviously the fellow is not a lawyer. He doesn't seem to realize that the tax code in question has no impact whatsoever on his 1st Amendment rights. It is a fair exchange practice: freedom from taxation in exchange for political neutrality. Sacrifice neutrality, sacrifice tax exemption. Oh well, preachers are preachers for a reason - they aren't good at reasoning.

I can't wait to see the IRS come down on him like a ton of bricks. That would indeed be natural selection in its fittest moment.


Fri, 20 Jun 2008 12:15:00 UTC | #186885

liberalartist's Avatar Comment 18 by liberalartist

"Both the Democrats and Republicans recognize how important "faith voters" will be in this year's presidential election, and each is working to court religious groups."

and what about the rest of us? bastards.

"The Democrats this year are courting religious voters like never before and will open this summer's convention, for the first time, with a prayer meeting."

Makes me feel like I have no one to vote for in November.

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 13:16:00 UTC | #186932

black wolf's Avatar Comment 19 by black wolf

Seems like pastors like these have gotten bored with preaching the same nonsense year after year, generation after generation. Perhaps unconsciously, they long for some real accomplishment, doing actual work for their money. Demolishing their tax-exempt status will force them to do so.

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 13:20:00 UTC | #186935

TeraBrat's Avatar Comment 20 by TeraBrat

What the hell are they worried about? When is the last time anyone's seen any thunderbolts coming from that quarter?

That made me laugh because the first year I decided I don't believe in god I went out of my way to do things like turn on lights on Shabbat, eat non-kosher foods, eat bread on Passover etc. I felt twinges of guilt but I knew that it was a conditioned response that would pass. I never learned to like pork and hated shellfish anyways. Now I'm a vegetarian and it doesn't matter.

Yom Kipur came. The "holy of holies" day. The "day of repentance". For the first time in my life I wasn't in a synagogue all day praying to god to forgive my sins. That one was pretty easy. Eating on Yom Kipur was harder. I gagged over every mouthful that year and half expected to be struck down dead. I obviously wasn't.

I can honestly say that I don't even think about it anymore when I eat on Yom Kipur.

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 15:37:00 UTC | #187005

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 21 by mordacious1

edit: [errased] sorry, this posted on two threads, hey why am I apologizing?

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 15:48:00 UTC | #187009

evolver23's Avatar Comment 22 by evolver23

I still prefer to have churches retain tax exempt status if it also means that they can't endorse political candidates or interfere in government.

This would be fine, if it actually worked in the real world. From my experience with churches (I practically grew up with dual membership as a Missionary Baptist and Southern Baptist), preachers rarely shy away from giving political advice, especially in the more evangelical denominations. If they are too scared to mention any names, they will simply rail against practices that everyone knows are supported by this or that candidate. For instance they might decry abortion, gay marriage, or church/state separation, etc. Most parishioners will never report this type of activity, so unless the IRS sends out the occasional scout, even the more explicit cases will go largely unnoticed and unpunished. I say we just take their money.

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 16:13:00 UTC | #187016

dragonfirematrix's Avatar Comment 23 by dragonfirematrix

Any religion that is trying to gain political control over a society is reason enough for that society to wage a fighting war against the people of that religion.

There is no moral reason to tolerate the intolerant, so why do we tolerate the intolerance of religion?

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 18:39:00 UTC | #187035

adk's Avatar Comment 24 by adk

"If you are a Christian, you cannot support a candidate like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton for president."

"Why not?"


Fri, 20 Jun 2008 19:36:00 UTC | #187043

Thor'Ungal's Avatar Comment 25 by Thor'Ungal

I agree with the pastor in a certain respect, some tax laws need revising.

Pay Caesar his due then you can spread all the "free speech" you like. Well, baring the usual hate speech limitation everyone else has to abide by.

oh wait...atheists...homosexuals...hmmm not sure how well the usual kind of free speech will serve you.

oh well it'll all get better once Jesus comes down and takes all that pesky libertarianism away from us. Should be any day now...right.

I wish them good luck in recovering from their illness,


Fri, 20 Jun 2008 20:23:00 UTC | #187053

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 26 by irate_atheist

Thank fuck I'm not American.

In a way it's sad to see you guys slipping back into the Dark Ages. Perhaps it will serve as a warning to others.

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 22:56:00 UTC | #187073

geru's Avatar Comment 27 by geru

Laws don't apply to churches? What else is new..

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 23:58:00 UTC | #187099

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 28 by justinesaracen

Hey Tetra,

We're missing you on the Einstein thread. There are some unanswered questions. Hope to see you there again.

Anyhow, regarding dietary changes from Kosher diet, I can understand your becoming vegetarian. (I am vegetarian myself, for lots of reasons). It is only a pity that you did it so soon. You missed out on some absolutely wonderful flavors -- ones that represent the happiest taste-bud memories I have.

The best non-kosher (anti-kosher?) foods on the planet are:

1. Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. On white bread toast, heavy on the mayo, and with the bacon very very crisp. And maybe an extra dash of avocado just to add to the fat content.
I always thought if you could serve this kind of BLT to a child in a conservative Jewish or Muslim home, you would halfway liberate her right then and there.

2. Pork roast. In heavy gravy with half-potatoes roasted in the pork fat. Heart-stopping but once a year is not so bad.

3. Coquille St. Jacques. (Scallops in cream sauce served on a clam shell)

I'll never eat any of those things again, but a woman has memories, after all......

Sat, 21 Jun 2008 07:06:00 UTC | #187201

Mr. Forrest's Avatar Comment 29 by Mr. Forrest

I hope the IRS smacks those silly church-people so hard, they'd say it was gods punishment.
Little greedy fuckers can have freedom of speech when they pay their damn taxes like the rest of us. Until then they should shut the fuck up, ON EVERY TOPIC.

Sat, 21 Jun 2008 11:16:00 UTC | #187291

Fedler's Avatar Comment 30 by Fedler

Maybe it's just my mood today, but this is exasperating.

There is a distinction between the pastor and the pulpit," said a Democratic Party official. "We've made a significant effort to reach out to faith voters this year, but we're always making sure people know the law and the guidelines."
Yeah, but the problem is...the sheep don't care, so to speak. Faith voters don't care what the law is or what the guidelines are. Deep down I think they know what the rules are, they just honestly don't care because they feel religion is exempt from scrutiny so, by default, religion wins. They don't care about the law. I realize that the Democratic party is reaching out to faith voters like never before (how can you not? they're tripping over themselves practically every night in the evening news to "court" the religious voter), but does the party seriously think they can rope in faith voters, while still touting the necessity of the separation of church and state? That seems like an oxymoron in this day and age. Why? Because the religious moderates who hold the middle ground and mostly recognize the obvious cognitive dissonance, refuse to acknowledge the problem in order to correct it. Why? Because they think it doesn't really effect them. Turst me, I've been there. It's like the large elephant in the room that no one will talk about. They may condemn it casually in passing, but then they don't give it a second thought. They figure it's someone else's problem.

American's United for Church and State and the FFRF seem to be frowned upon because they seem so anti-religion at every turn. But people don't realize that the reason they seem anti-religion at every turn, is because religion is AT EVERY TURN! It's so pervasive where it shouldn't be and no other religions - or religiuos believers - seem to care. Why would they? Would Bill Gates complain that too many people are using Windows?

This is where we could strike out on new ground. If we could figure out a way to do positive community projects in our own right, without any mention of religion or our personal feelings about religion, then slowly people may begin to realize that non-believers do exist and our values are just as important as any faith voter. Probably more so since freethinkers/secularists are generally not "one issue voters" like many religious believers. We don't have magic 'trump card' ideals that candidates can pander to (i.e. abortion or homosexuality).

So, please, become active in local or national secular/freethinking organizations. We need all the help we can get!

Sat, 21 Jun 2008 12:31:00 UTC | #187313