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Thread: IRS investigating Barack Obama's United Church of Christ

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default IRS investigating Barack Obama's United Church of Christ

    Says Reason To Believe Speech Violated Restrictions On Political Activity By Non-Profit Groups

    NEW YORK (CBS/AP) ― The IRS is investigating the United Church of Christ over a speech Barack Obama gave to its national meeting last year after he became a candidate for president.

    Obama is a member of the church.

    A spokesman for the denomination says it received notice of the inquiry on Monday.

    The IRS says there is reason to believe the speech violated restrictions on political activity for nonprofit groups. The denomination denies any wrongdoing.

    Church officials say they had consulted with lawyers before the Democrat's June 2007 speech in Hartford, Conn., and made clear before Obama's address that he was speaking as a church member, not a political candidate

    wcbstv.com - IRS Investigating Obama's United Church Of Christ


    I think we should keep all churches out of the political realm. That goes for all parties, all candidates.
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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    I agree that NO religious groups or churches should be involved in politics.

    But if the IRS is going to investigate Obama's church, then they need to investigate ALL of the evangelical churches on the Republican side that are throwing their weight behind Huckabee.

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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    I think we should keep all churches out of the political realm. That goes for all parties, all candidates.
    Any church and/or church leader who endorses a political candidate should lose their tax exempt status immediately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    I agree that NO religious groups or churches should be involved in politics.

    But if the IRS is going to investigate Obama's church, then they need to investigate ALL of the evangelical churches on the Republican side that are throwing their weight behind Huckabee.
    Oh,man-this is my favorite idea!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    I agree that NO religious groups or churches should be involved in politics.

    But if the IRS is going to investigate Obama's church, then they need to investigate ALL of the evangelical churches on the Republican side that are throwing their weight behind Huckabee.
    Mischief. Mayhem. Tattoos. Soap.

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    I agree that NO religious groups or churches should be involved in politics.

    But if the IRS is going to investigate Obama's church, then they need to investigate ALL of the evangelical churches on the Republican side that are throwing their weight behind Huckabee.
    This is a problem and issue with me. The Sunday before the 2004 election MANY preachers told their congregation to vote for BUSH so that gay and lesbians wouldn't be allowed to get married. Where was the IRS on that. It kills me to see the one sided behavior of this administration, who controls the IRS!! The evangelical church is deep seeded in the Republican party, they have found voices to push their agenda. There is a Separation of Church and State for a reason!!! However, politicians go to churches..he was at his own church. It wasn't like he was going to churches getting money, and asking for votes!!
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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSDiva View Post
    This is a problem and issue with me. The Sunday before the 2004 election MANY preachers told their congregation to vote for BUSH so that gay and lesbians wouldn't be allowed to get married. Where was the IRS on that. It kills me to see the one sided behavior of this administration, who controls the IRS!! The evangelical church is deep seeded in the Republican party, they have found voices to push their agenda. There is a Separation of Church and State for a reason!!! However, politicians go to churches..he was at his own church. It wasn't like he was going to churches getting money, and asking for votes!!
    Do you have validated proof? And I don't mean suspicion, heresy, someone's blog, etc. Churches know they are not allowed to do what you said and risk losing their tax exempt status. Money or politics... I think we all know what wins that battle.

    For the record, there is nothing in the Constitution that states there is or needs to be a separation of church and state. That fabrication has been created over time. What is said is that the government shall not make, establish or promote one religion, meaning, the President can not say, 'hey, Christianity or Islam, etc. is the official church of the United States, so anyone who doesn't believe that should fall in line or pay the consequences.'

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Bible Belt churches putting Bush in more than prayers By Geneive Abdo
    Chicago Tribune

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The smiling face of President Bush is on prominent display in the Rev. David Johnston's office at King of Kings Church, superimposed on a thank-you letter for a $2,000 campaign contribution. Johnston's 120-member evangelical congregation backs the president wholeheartedly on social issues most important to his church. There is even a red-white-and-blue church Web site, saveamericanow.us, that King of Kings started in part to campaign against gay marriage.
    Johnston goes out of his way to note that King of Kings does not endorse individual candidates for office, which would be a violation of the traditional separation of church and state. He said his wife gave the contribution to the Bush campaign. Nonetheless, he is part of a formidable, and growing, political machine.
    "We are careful to be nonpartisan," said Johnston, 59, who founded Kings of Kings a decade ago. "But we should vote in a way that reflects how we pray."
    Across the Bible Belt and notably in the electoral swing state of Florida, patriotism, social conservatism and religious fervor have come together to give Bush a solid pillar for his re-election campaign in 2004, a power base that was born in the days of Ronald Reagan's presidency.
    In interviews with pastors across Florida, many said that they invite some politicians to meet the faithful during Sunday services but that their churches never endorse candidates. To do so would risk losing the churches' tax-exempt status.
    Some churches also have begun voter-registration drives to bring congregants of the religious right — who stayed home in large numbers in 2000 — to the polls. Voters guides outlining candidates' positions on issues of concern among conservative Christians will be distributed in churches in coming weeks.
    Experts estimate 25 million white evangelicals voted in 2000 and another 25 million evangelicals who were part of the voting-age population did not vote, said Scott Keeter, associate director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. About one-fourth of the total U.S. electorate, estimated in 2000 as slightly more than 209 million, is believed to consist of white evangelicals, excluding Catholics.
    Some experts believe that while the Christian right might be energized in a state such as Florida, there are early signs of apathy nationwide. "We can say that two-thirds of evangelicals say they will vote for Bush. But the question is how motivated will they be to turn out to vote?" Keeter said. "There is a feeling of lack of fervor nationwide, for example, for the amendment to the Constitution banning gay marriage."
    In tightly contested Florida, the scene of a disputed cliffhanger in the 2000 presidential contest that eventually sealed the presidency for Bush, an energized evangelical following could give him the edge in what many political analysts expect to be another unpredictable contest.
    The activism is inspiring a national debate over whether the religious right is violating the traditional separation of church and state and whether the Bush campaign is encouraging it. The Bush-Cheney campaign sent an e-mail earlier this month to a Pennsylvania pastor, saying it intended to identify 1,600 "Friendly Congregations in Pennsylvania" where the president might pick up votes.

    "I think churches are more involved in politics than in any time in recent history and more directly involved in partisan campaigns," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The liberal group is working to withdraw tax-exempt status from churches that are politically active.

    Dabbling in politics from the pulpit is not new, nor are debates about where to draw the line between church and state. Since its inception, the United States has taken religion into account, even including "In God We Trust" on currency. From the days when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for civil rights in African-American churches to the first signs under Reagan that the Christian right could be a political powerhouse, many pastors have fused their moral and political missions. In the 1990s, groups such as the Christian Coalition became known for their voters guides handed out to churchgoers, explaining candidates' positions on social issues.
    This election, congregants who identify themselves as part of the Christian right said, several factors have sparked an unusual urgency to help Bush, including a potential threat of Islamic extremism at home, what they see as the disappearance of the nation's moral compass and the closeness of the race.
    Pastors said they never instruct their congregations how to vote, but in many ways, they don't have to. Even in churches with no overt sign of political activity, the link between Bush's stand on social issues, particularly his opposition to gay marriage and abortion, and a general perception that he is a good Christian are galvanizing the faithful.
    The president's support of an amendment to the Constitution that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman also sits well with the Christian right.
    "The evangelical community and this church are supporting Bush, primarily on moral issues," said the Rev. David Smith, executive pastor of the Calvary Assembly in Orlando, Fla. "Bush is a man of moral integrity. His courage is leading our nation. He has done unpopular things. People feel pressured to be sure it [the race] is not as close this time and we don't lose this state."
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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSDiva View Post
    Bible Belt churches putting Bush in more than prayers By Geneive Abdo
    Chicago Tribune

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The smiling face of President Bush is on prominent display in the Rev. David Johnston's office at King of Kings Church, superimposed on a thank-you letter for a $2,000 campaign contribution. Johnston's 120-member evangelical congregation backs the president wholeheartedly on social issues most important to his church. There is even a red-white-and-blue church Web site, saveamericanow.us, that King of Kings started in part to campaign against gay marriage.
    Johnston goes out of his way to note that King of Kings does not endorse individual candidates for office, which would be a violation of the traditional separation of church and state. He said his wife gave the contribution to the Bush campaign. Nonetheless, he is part of a formidable, and growing, political machine.
    "We are careful to be nonpartisan," said Johnston, 59, who founded Kings of Kings a decade ago. "But we should vote in a way that reflects how we pray."
    Across the Bible Belt and notably in the electoral swing state of Florida, patriotism, social conservatism and religious fervor have come together to give Bush a solid pillar for his re-election campaign in 2004, a power base that was born in the days of Ronald Reagan's presidency.
    In interviews with pastors across Florida, many said that they invite some politicians to meet the faithful during Sunday services but that their churches never endorse candidates. To do so would risk losing the churches' tax-exempt status.
    Some churches also have begun voter-registration drives to bring congregants of the religious right — who stayed home in large numbers in 2000 — to the polls. Voters guides outlining candidates' positions on issues of concern among conservative Christians will be distributed in churches in coming weeks.
    Experts estimate 25 million white evangelicals voted in 2000 and another 25 million evangelicals who were part of the voting-age population did not vote, said Scott Keeter, associate director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. About one-fourth of the total U.S. electorate, estimated in 2000 as slightly more than 209 million, is believed to consist of white evangelicals, excluding Catholics.
    Some experts believe that while the Christian right might be energized in a state such as Florida, there are early signs of apathy nationwide. "We can say that two-thirds of evangelicals say they will vote for Bush. But the question is how motivated will they be to turn out to vote?" Keeter said. "There is a feeling of lack of fervor nationwide, for example, for the amendment to the Constitution banning gay marriage."
    In tightly contested Florida, the scene of a disputed cliffhanger in the 2000 presidential contest that eventually sealed the presidency for Bush, an energized evangelical following could give him the edge in what many political analysts expect to be another unpredictable contest.
    The activism is inspiring a national debate over whether the religious right is violating the traditional separation of church and state and whether the Bush campaign is encouraging it. The Bush-Cheney campaign sent an e-mail earlier this month to a Pennsylvania pastor, saying it intended to identify 1,600 "Friendly Congregations in Pennsylvania" where the president might pick up votes.

    "I think churches are more involved in politics than in any time in recent history and more directly involved in partisan campaigns," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The liberal group is working to withdraw tax-exempt status from churches that are politically active.

    Dabbling in politics from the pulpit is not new, nor are debates about where to draw the line between church and state. Since its inception, the United States has taken religion into account, even including "In God We Trust" on currency. From the days when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for civil rights in African-American churches to the first signs under Reagan that the Christian right could be a political powerhouse, many pastors have fused their moral and political missions. In the 1990s, groups such as the Christian Coalition became known for their voters guides handed out to churchgoers, explaining candidates' positions on social issues.
    This election, congregants who identify themselves as part of the Christian right said, several factors have sparked an unusual urgency to help Bush, including a potential threat of Islamic extremism at home, what they see as the disappearance of the nation's moral compass and the closeness of the race.
    Pastors said they never instruct their congregations how to vote, but in many ways, they don't have to. Even in churches with no overt sign of political activity, the link between Bush's stand on social issues, particularly his opposition to gay marriage and abortion, and a general perception that he is a good Christian are galvanizing the faithful.
    The president's support of an amendment to the Constitution that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman also sits well with the Christian right.
    "The evangelical community and this church are supporting Bush, primarily on moral issues," said the Rev. David Smith, executive pastor of the Calvary Assembly in Orlando, Fla. "Bush is a man of moral integrity. His courage is leading our nation. He has done unpopular things. People feel pressured to be sure it [the race] is not as close this time and we don't lose this state."
    Where at any point does the Rev. tell church members they should/must for Bush? These just sound like a bunch of evangelicals who all believe the same thing and thus, support the candidate who they believe will support those views. Tax-exempt status prevents churches from campaigning for specific candidates and specific ballot measures. Now if they had a bake sale to raise money for Bush's campaign, then yeah, that is a HUGE problem. If they put Bush signs on church property... problem.

    Let me ask. If this were a black church, and the candidate were Obama, would you be as equally outraged? Me? Nope. If like-minded people come together in a church and happen to vote for the same person, hurray. Signs in front of the church, etc., then yeah, big hell no- for any candidate.

    ETA: That said, I'd be investigating Mike Huckabee as well. The man is just loathsome.
    Last edited by tkdgirl; February 26th, 2008 at 11:53 PM.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    "Bush is a man of moral integrity.

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkdgirl View Post
    Where at any point does the Rev. tell church members they should/must for Bush? These just sound like a bunch of evangelicals who all believe the same thing and thus, support the candidate who they believe will support those views. Tax-exempt status prevents churches from campaigning for specific candidates and specific ballot measures. Now if they had a bake sale to raise money for Bush's campaign, then yeah, that is a HUGE problem. If they put Bush signs on church property... problem.

    Let me ask. If this were a black church, and the candidate were Obama, would you be as equally outraged? Me? Nope. If like-minded people come together in a church and happen to vote for the same person, hurray. Signs in front of the church, etc., then yeah, big hell no- for any candidate.

    ETA: That said, I'd be investigating Mike Huckabee as well. The man is just loathsome.
    Many Churches went to far. I would be an am completely outraged by churches, preachers, and congregations who do the will of any politician over the will of The Bible. The fact that they were supporting Bush so vehemently proves that if he was re-elected there would be a ban against gay marriage. At the time of all the bake sales, car washes that was one of his campaign promises..they wasn't doing all this in support of a losing war, or for not being able to feed their families, and buy gas. They didn't because of his determination to ban gay marriage.

    Separation of church and state is the political and legal idea that government and religion should be separate, and not interfere in each other's affairs.
    In the United States, separation of church and state is often identified with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…" The phrase "building a wall of separation between church and state" was written by Thomas Jefferson in a January 1, 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association.
    This is one of the reasons churches don't have to pay taxes...
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