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Thread: Ministers to defy I.R.S. by endorsing candidates

  1. #1
    Silver Member betagrl's Avatar
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    Default Ministers to defy I.R.S. by endorsing candidates

    I wonder if Dobson is behind this?


    Ministers to Defy I.R.S. by Endorsing Candidates
    By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

    Defying a federal tax law they consider unjust, 33 ministers across the country will take to their pulpits this Sunday and publicly endorse a candidate for president.

    They plan to then send copies of their sermons to the Internal Revenue Service, hoping to provoke a challenge to a law that bars religious organizations and other nonprofits that accept tax-deductible contributions from involvement in partisan political campaigns.

    The protest, called Pulpit Freedom Sunday, was organized by the Alliance Defense Fund, a consortium of Christian lawyers that fights for conservative religious and social causes. When the fund first announced the protest this year, it said it planned to have 50 ministers taking part. As of Thursday it said it had hundreds of volunteers, but had selected only 33 who were fully aware of the risks and benefits.

    The fund did not make the list of participants public, saying that it had received phone calls threatening to disrupt the sermons. One participant reached by telephone said he could not talk about it.
    Another participant, the Rev. Luke Emrich of New Life Church, a small evangelical church in West Bend, Wis., demurred when asked which candidate he planned to endorse on Sunday.

    “I would say endorsement is a strong word,” he said. “I’m planning to make a recommendation. I’m going to evaluate each candidate’s positions in light of Scripture and make a recommendation to my congregation as to which candidate aligns more so.”

    The fund provides legal support for religious conservatives who have long felt aggrieved at what they say are limits on their religious expression.

    Organizers said they wanted a range of clergy of various faiths and political persuasions to join the protest, but acknowledged that the participants might be “weighted” toward the conservative end of the spectrum and more likely to support the Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, than the Democrat, Senator Barack Obama.
    Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, said: “This is not something these churches want to do in secrecy and hiding. In fact, they don’t believe they’re doing anything wrong. They don’t believe they’re violating the law.

    “What they’re doing is talking to their congregations about biblical issues related to candidates and elections, and they believe they have the constitutional right to do that.”

    The protest is challenging an amendment to the tax code passed by Congress in 1954 saying that charitable organizations known as 501(c)(3)’s, which accept tax-deductible contributions, cannot intervene in political campaigns. The legislation was intended to prevent nonprofit organizations from funneling money and resources to political candidates.

    Many members of the clergy support the ban on politicking from the pulpit. Nearly 30 clergy members, some leaders of denominations, signed a pledge recently vowing to refrain from endorsing candidates. The pledge was distributed by the Interfaith Alliance, a liberal religious advocacy group.

    In the last decade, church politicking has drawn increasing scrutiny. Organizations like Americans United for Separation of Church and State have made a show of reporting churches to the I.R.S. to deter transgressors.

    The Rev. Barry Lynn, of Americans United, said of the protest on Sunday: “They act like this is a massive act of civil disobedience, but this is not like sitting in at a lunch counter. This is trying to change the law to give certain conservative churches even more political clout.”
    A spokesman for the I.R.S. said that the agency was aware of Pulpit Freedom Sunday and “will monitor the situation and take action as appropriate.”

    Experts in tax law say it is more likely that the Alliance Defense Fund and its lawyers will face legal sanctions than the ministers, who may simply receive warnings to avoid politicking in the future.
    Three former I.R.S. officials, now lawyers in a Washington firm, recently sent a letter to the I.R.S.’s Office of Professional Responsibility urging that the Alliance Defense Fund and its lawyers be investigated for “inducing churches to engage in conduct designed to violate federal tax law in a direct and blatant matter.”

    One of the three who signed the letter, Marcus Owens, the former director of the division of tax-exempt organizations, said, “The ethics issue is a very real one, and the I.R.S. and the Department of Justice cannot be seen as blinking when lawyers or C.P.A.’s counsel people in how to violate the tax law.”

    The organizers of Pulpit Freedom Sunday are convinced that the protest will result in a court challenge to the law. Mr. Stanley said the law was so unclear that, “I anticipate getting to federal court, certainly the appeals court.” But Robert W. Tuttle, a professor of law and religion at the George Washington University Law School, found that unlikely.

    “It’s settled law,” Professor Tuttle said. “People can unsettle law that’s settled, but I think that it is very, very unlikely that a lower federal court would reach any other conclusion except that religious organizations have no constitutional right to engage in political speech while accepting deductible contributions.”

  2. #2
    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    As a US citizen I will demand that their non profit tax status be revoked.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sluce View Post
    As a US citizen I will demand that their non profit tax status be revoked.
    Exactly. If they want to get into politics, then they need to pony up with the taxes.

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    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    Wow, big talkers. The IRS doesn't give two wits (the two they have) about the political position of tax exempt organizations. All these idiots are doing is subjecting their organiztions to income tax on their donations, yup that will help with their "ministering".

    OT - somehow my email got on McCain fundraising list. Weird. But as I was unsubscribing, I finally found the right names for McCain/Palin... The Hot Head and The Wing Nut.

  5. #5
    Gold Member ymeman's Avatar
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    pleeeeeeeeeease mthrfckrs, pleeeeeeeese do this. I want you to pay zee taxes just like I have to. Bring it, dumb arses.

    p.s. the churces have been sending out the propaganda that Obama is a muslim from the beginning. my parents their b.s pamphlet about his 'lslamist' leanings way back in January.

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    Elite Member ana-mish-ana's Avatar
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    Sounds like something from KFC would make

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