Church Civil Disobedience: Pulpit Freedom Sunday

Church Civil Disobedience: Pulpit Freedom Sunday September 26, 2014

church nonprofit statusIt’s another dreaded election year, and Pulpit Freedom Sunday, where pastors violate the law and critique candidates for political office, is around the corner (October 5, 2014).

The leaders of many religious organizations somehow feel imposed upon by the IRS because they can’t politick from the pulpit, as if that somehow comes along when preaching the gospel. But why? They can speak out all they want on social issues. No one forced tax-exempt donations on them—in fact, they took them willingly—so it’s surprising that they’re now chafing at the regulations that come along for the ride. The solution is easy: if nonprofit status is a deal with the devil, then don’t accept nonprofit status.

The Internal Revenue Service makes clear that churches and pastors may organize non-partisan voter education activities, voter registration, and get-out-the-vote drives (with an emphasis on non-partisan). Religious leaders speaking for themselves can say whatever they want, and they can speak “about important issues of public policy.”

However, all nonprofit organizations, including religious organizations

are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. … Religious leaders cannot make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official church functions. …

[Nonprofits] must avoid any issue advocacy that functions as political campaign intervention. Even if a statement does not expressly tell an audience to vote for or against a specific candidate, an organization delivering the statement is at risk of violating the political campaign intervention prohibition if there is any message favoring or opposing a candidate.

But some pastors can’t accept this. I don’t know if they honestly think that it’s unfair or if they figure that they’ve already tipped the playing field so much in their favor that they’ll try their luck for even more, but the Alliance Defense Fund has organized the annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday. On this day:

The pastors will exercise their First Amendment right to preach on the subject [of the moral qualifications of candidates seeking public office], despite federal tax regulations that prohibit intervening or participating in a political campaign. …

The point of the Pulpit Initiative is very simple: the IRS should not be the one making the decision by threatening to revoke a church’s tax-exempt status. We need to get the government out of the pulpit.

Wow—strange thinking. Tax-exempt status is granted by the government. It’s a contract, not a right, and it comes with strings attached. If we the public will be subsidizing an organization, we are entitled to limit its actions. No one’s strong-arming the church, and they can drop both the nonprofit status and the strings attached any time they want.

The motivation seems clear. Conservative politicians know that churches will in general tip the balance in their favor, so they do what they can to whip up anger about an imagined injustice.

The head of the IRS addressed this conflict of tax-exempt status and freedom of speech:

Freedom of speech and religious liberty are essential elements of our democracy. But the Supreme Court has in essence held that tax exemption is a privilege, not a right, stating, “Congress has not violated [an organization’s] First Amendment rights by declining to subsidize its First Amendment activities.”

If the IRS constraints against speaking out on political issues are a problem, then don’t enter into a contract with the IRS. Drop your nonprofit status, tell church members that they can no longer deduct donations, and then you can give your opinion about any candidate or issue.

But to keep your nonprofit status, you must follow the rules.

See also:What Do Churches Have to Hide?

No man ever believes that the bible means what it says;
he is always convinced that it says what he means
— George Bernard Shaw

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 5/11/12.)


Photo credit:
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  • smrnda

    I get very irritated by the complaint here. If you want to be a non-profit, there are rules to follow, and religious agencies get out of so many of them (they don’t have to disclose their finances) that this is just a load of whining. The only line drawn is specifically stating “vote for This Candidate.”

    I know some cite the idea that ‘the power to tax is the power to destroy’ but for profit newspapers, publishers, movie studios, TV stations exercise free speech and pay taxes all the time. They can endorse candidates all they want, but they then have to pay taxes. If they want to be political, they can get taxed like any Political Organization.

  • Kodie

    Why do religious people care so much about politics? It’s as if they have no faith in god.

    • As a Christian saint (I can’t recall who) put it, “I CAN do almost nothing on my own; God and I CAN do almost anything; God, I and money CAN do EVERYTHING”.

    • adam

      To answer the question, why does God need worshippers, we need only ask,
      why does a king need subjects? A king without subjects is not a king
      at all. But with subjects who obey him, a king has enormous, and
      genuine power. He can speak a command, and an army
      marches. A temple or a palace springs into being. At the king’s word,
      his enemies can be slaughtered, and an entire nation of people can act
      as one.

      But what sort of a king is God? After all, a king must exist
      in some form, in order to reign. We can point to a Ramesses or a
      Napoleon, and say, “there he is.” As a human being, he has real needs
      and wants that his subjects provide. Furthermore, rebellion, or even
      indifference is a genuine threat to his power, and he will act to crush
      both, in exactly the same manner that God acts. The whole point of
      having subjects is that they, collectively, have power the king, in
      himself, does not have. By himself, he could not raise a palace or a
      pyramid, or conquer a neighboring nation.

      In other words, by proclaiming himself to be a King,
      God not only confesses that he is not “omnipotent,” he admits that
      humans have power that he lacks. Everything God commands people to do,
      from waging wars, to passing collection plates in church, to banning gay
      marriage is ironclad, demonstrable proof-in-action that God cannot do
      these things in and for himself.

      So we can see that, as a king, God is dependant on the obediance of his subjects. KCrady

      • TheNuszAbides

        and the fact of His Almighty insubstantiality is the ultimate Passing of the Holy Buck (in more ways than one). Crady gets to the heart of religion’s ultimate lack of real-world accountability – if they only held each other accountable (obviously this occurs to some degree, since reality is not as impervious to faith as vice versa) instead of pretending the afterlife will … in a way (but not every way) the superstitions that pretend anyone will be held accountable (1) by spiritual forces (2) in this life is even worse – or at least a lot less clever.

  • Pofarmer

    I think that Mark, the priest at my kids school, must be one of the Apologist posters here(not really). Today they were talking about Noah and the flood. How could all of those animals stayed on the ark? The meat eaters didn’t eat meat. O.K. What about all the other animals? Could Noah have been 900 years old? :”Well, they measured years differently, they only lived to about 37.” Well, O.K., then how did he mill and build that ginormous Ark? It’s kinda comedy gold. My middle boy doesn’t believe a word of it, but he is just figuring out where to look to spot the cracks.

    • Greg G.

      If they counted years differently so that 900 = 37, how did they have children when they were only 32?

      • Pofarmer

        That was actually just one of my son’s questions. Along with , “how did they have all those kids in 37 years.”

      • I’ve heard some say that they measured years as “seasons” (though no evidence for this has been presented). Even if that were so, 900 divided by 4 is 225, so something is still off…

        • Mick

          A few months after my Sunday School teacher explained the Genesis creation story by telling me that a day lasted a thousand years, she then explained the ages of the patriarchs by saying that in those times, a year lasted only a month! Oh boy, didn’t she kick up a fuss when I called her on it.

        • Well that would work out to 75 years, but if it’s true, a 50 year old would be about 5. Something is off there…

    • Christianity doubles down on the Bible, and those paying attention who care about reason are driven away. Seems like an odd game for the church to play, but whatever. I do wonder if the Last Days we’re in are the last days of the church in the West.

    • Timothy Cooper

      I was talking to my dad, he went to a seminary, about the 666 number in revelations and he said it was a mis – translation of original text. I don’t see why any other numbers couldn’t be either. Or they could just admit that it’s a story and not based on facts.

      • Pofarmer

        “Or they could just admit that it’s a story and not based on facts.”

        That’s kind of the obvious choice, but, inconvenient.

      • 616 does seem to be the value given in the most reliable versions, but they both seem to be pointing to the same person–Nero.

  • Pofarmer

    I despise the catholic church. Absolutely abhor it. That is all.

  • RichardSRussell

    I notice that the Alliance Defense Fund is not itself risking tax-exempt status by engaging in partisan politicking. It’s like the kid in the 4th grade who came up with the challenge “let’s you and him fight”, and some dummy always fell for it.

  • Pofarmer

    Is it just me or does religion often function like an addiction? I came in last night, hot(the AC hadn’t been working on the combine all day. Imagine sitting in a glass box when it’s 89 degrees out with just a small fan.), hungry, I’d only had a sandwich at lunch, and dirty, about 6:30. Was thinking about rinsing off and going into town with the family real quick for pizza. Wife says :”oh, we were going to church at 7:30 and getting pizza afterwords.” I explained that I was hungry now, and really needed to eat something. She says she has apples to put up tomorrow, so she wants to go to church tonight. And I see her getting this panicked look, like missing church, I don’t know how to explain it. Then she drags the boys off and goes to church anyway, and leaves me to stew in my own juices. It probably shouldn’t bother me. She’s a good woman and trying to be a good Mom. But she’s just so hopelessly brainwashed, and it sure seems like there’s a physical component to it. She’s told me before that going to church “Makes her feel good.” which makes me think there’s a dopamine response, which could easily be an addictive reaction. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad, if religious people didn’t think they had to pass their addictions along. And, oh, at school. Now they are doing a prayer service every morning before going to church every day. And doing a special prayer service the last Friday of the month before school gets out. And, being Catholic, they are still expected to show up to church on Sunday. One of these days, I’m gonna lose it, again. it didn’t used to be this way. It is just fostering a worldview that is so out of touch with the way things actually work.

    • 90Lew90

      Never a truer metaphor made than Marx’s “opium of the people” (interestingly, borrowed from the Marquis de Sade). Full quote, in context:

      “The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man – state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.

      Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

      The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

      Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower. The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality like a man who has discarded his illusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as his own true Sun. Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.”

      I’m not Marxist but this gets it on the head. I’d recommend Erich Fromm’s ‘The Fear of Freedom’, marketed in the US as ‘The Escape from Freedom’. Brilliant. Might shed some light on your wife’s addiction. It hasn’t escaped the notice of many people that women, particularly women who have had children, adhere to and propel religious organisations. I’d be annoyed if I had kids and they were being whipped off to church. More than annoyed. But it’s a biggie. How can something supposed to be all to the good act as such a wedge between people! Venting spleen on the internet can be quite cathartic. I wish I could get my finger out and write something properly. Goodness knows I’m not that old but by fuck is my story long… Best wishes.

      • Pofarmer

        “How can something supposed to be all to the good act as such a wedge between people!”

        Fear of hell, basically. Despite all the goody, goody talk, at it’s heart Catholicism is fear.

      • TheNuszAbides

        thanks. Hitch is the only other person I’d seen/heard bother with more than parroting of the inadequate-soundbite version. (tangentially, it was depressing to recently see Hitler’s “the people believe big lies more easily than small ones” de-paraphrased and in a full paragraph of context: all referring to Jewish thought-leadership, but of course leaning on it as though they’re some sinister brand of unique among Groups Claiming Special Cosmic Status. cf. wiki-p’s The Big Lie)

    • MNb

      “Is it just me or does religion often function like an addiction?”
      Well, I have read some deconversion stories and the apostates suffered from serious withdrawal symptoms indeed.

      “It probably shouldn’t bother me.”
      It should. In situations like this one you two should be able to work out a compromise. When my female counterpart wants to go to mosque (or somewhere else) she checks first if I’m OK indeed.
      I dislike to rub it in, but if you advocate gender equality you’ll have to respect the right of your wife to go to church. She being your wife you must do your very best that you so have that respect. You could have asked (or maybe you did) “OK, let’s go after church then, but before you leave, could you fix me something light?” That will make it a lot harder for her to “let you stew in your own juices”, because that’s a bad thing as well.
      Neither is it a good sign that she waits until the last moment before she tells you she wants to go. My female counterpart has told me this morning that it’s Id-ul-Adha next Saturday, which means she’ll be in mosque the entire day from 7:30 on (and she told me so with a somewhat nasty smile, enjoying the prospect that I’ll have to wake up early as well).
      Obviously you two can’t solve the fundamental disagreements, but at least you could handle the minor ones sensibly.

      • Pofarmer

        Well, part of it isn’t the fact that she has to go, she also has to make sure she drags the kids along, who don’t want to go.

        • hector_jones

          Dragging the kids along against their will is sop for christianity.

        • MNb

          They are too old for indoctrination by force. It will only increase their aversion against religion. When my ex wants to take our son to her church I always cooperate exactly for that reason. I have attended religious services myself my entire life; it didn’t ever do me harm. You should trust the critical thinking skills of your kids more – and prepare for the crisis that will follow; sooner or later they will rebel against her. Then you can play the great reconciler – if you want to save your marriage, as you say. Again: try to work out some compromise.

        • wtfwjtd

          I recall my late father making a statement when I was a child in his house–something to the effect of “we’ve got to teach our kids the ways of God and the church when they are young, and make them go to church whether they want to or not, and when they are old they won’t forget this lesson”. Good ol’ dad, he was absolutely right–it truly is a lesson I’ve never forgotten, just not in the way he envisioned. I once calculated that if I never go to church again in my life, I will still have averaged going to church about 1.5 times per week if I live to be 80. I reckon I warmed the pews enough as a kid to last me for the rest of my life.

        • Pofarmer

          Yep. Catholics believe that even if you go to church the oher 6 days a week, you are still ” obligated” to go to church on Suday, never enough church. Life is church.

        • At least I hope she doesn’t expect you to encourage them to go to church when they don’t want to.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, yes.

    • wtfwjtd

      Religion definitely attracts those with obsessive-compulsive behavior. I’ve known plenty of people, for example, who can’t enjoy a glass or two of wine or a few beers; once they’ve had a taste of alcohol, they have to get fall-down, pass-out drunk, there’s no in-between. So these people often team this behavior with a religion that forbids the consumption of alcohol, and live miserable lives as the cycle of drunk-got religion-drunk-got religion repeats over and over again throughout their lives. They make themselves miserable with this crazy behavior, and drive everyone else that’s important in their life away eventually. It’s bizarre, nutty stuff, and I’ve grown really tired of having to deal with it.

      • Pofarmer

        What I started to notice, is that religion causes these little mental ticks you didn’t even know you had. I still catch myself wanting to do certain things, even though I don’t believe any more. It encourages types of compulsive behavior, and encourages people to facilitate it in others.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, that’s a good point, almost like the childhood belief that if you “step on a crack, you’ll break your moma’s back.” The rigors and routines of organized religion are designed to be habit-forming, keeping people coming back for more “spells and charms” to keep them safe from the big, bad, and scary Devil.

        • Pofarmer

          I grew up as kind of a non denominational protestant and always had a skeptical side. Belief wasn’t really forced on me and we didn’t do a ton of religious stuff. It turns out all three of us siblings have turned out to be atheists/agnostics in one form or another. When I see the lengths people go to to properly indoctrinate their children, and the institutions put in place to encourage and assisst it, I suppose I recoiled from it.

        • wtfwjtd

          Lucky you. I went to church 3 times a week whether I needed it or not; week-long revival meetings were attended several times a year; hell, we even had to go to some church when we traveled on vacation! School activities were out, at least anything that met on Wednesdays or Sundays. I couldn’t even do Boy Scouts since they had a quarterly camp-out on Sunday(gasp). Yeah, you could say I’ve gotten my share.

        • Pofarmer

          Yikes. Had a kid who wanted to play basketball on a youth team I coached. Couldn’t do it because we practiced on Wednesdays.

        • wtfwjtd

          Poor kid, I can really empathize with him. At least as an adult I got a chance to do a lot of stuff with my daughter and her cousins, and didn’t waste my opportunities to do so. That’s one positive thing about experiencing all those wasted opportunities as a kid, I vowed not to blow it when I was a parent and do the same thing to my child. And now, I’m very, very glad that I did, because that phase of my life is gone forever, and I can never re-live it. Some opportunities in life only come around once.

        • Pofarmer

          My wife and her family are that way. One time in particular, while I was still a believer, they were all on a week long campout at the local lake. Whole family. It has rained all week. And I mean all week. Saturday night the rain finally stops. I had borrowed a buddys bass boat, had to fix some things, got it all out fitted up, and i think, great, Sunday morning we can go fishing. Get up Sunday morning and they all start deciding where to go to church. You have drive a half hour to get anywhere. And I’m like, “does anybody want to go fish? As soon as Church is over we’ll have to pack and leave.” And they just ignore me and continue on. So, my middle boy and I went fishing. Pissed me off big time. Ungrateful assholes.

        • wtfwjtd

          Man, and you were a believer at the time, and you still got the shaft! Sounds like we could share many, many tales of crazy religious devotion that puts imaginary beings in a more important place than the actual family and friends around us. That just seems so insane to me now.

        • Pofarmer

          Ah, but the imaginary beings are more important, because they control where you go and what you do after you die.

        • Glen

          Honest question, when you became an atheist did a sort of sadness/depression creep in? I would imagine that going from believing in eternity to merely existing would be rather depressing. How did you handle the death of loved ones, knowing that they don’t exist and never will any more? Just curious to know.

        • Pofarmer

          Honestly? It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders when I finally realized. Everything seemed clearer. Now I was searching for what was true, rather than what I wanted to be true. It’s a lot more work. It’s interesting that you bring up the loss of loved ones as my Grandmother died not terribly long ago, and we also had a great Aunts funeral. I can’t say it was terribly different, actually. You remember the person, who they were, what they did. Then there are the crazy WTF religious moments when you just shake your head and go, “How did I ever believe that.” Our relationships are real, love is real, grief is real, and that’s where it should end. We are our grandparents and parents afterlife, just as our children are ours. I have heard pretty devout Christians express these same sentiments. It makes your relationships entirely more profound when you view it thos way.

        • Simply following the evidence where it leads (rather than rationalizing away Christianty’s problems) can take an enormous burden off.

        • Kodie

          I was never brought up Christian, but I have to think there also has to be some anger at the church. After all, they’re the ones who lied and impressed that fantasy into you in an effort to keep you fearful of leaving.

          You were merely existing in the first place, you believed something else was going to happen, but once you die, you’re not going to know the difference, so they got you and probably your money only for the illusion of a promise of something they in no way could or intended to deliver.

        • Timothy Cooper

          At least for me it’s helped me realize that since we have just a short life it’s better to make the most of it. Instead of thinking you may see your loving ones again, you can try and have the best experiences possible with them before they’re gone.

        • Pofarmer

          So, what caused you to dissbelieve? Maybe I’ve asked this before.

        • wtfwjtd

          After our daughter was born, I decided I would not force or indoctrinate her in any way, just expose her to religion and god belief and let her make her own choices. I was having my doubts about the whole thing at that point anyways, so…
          Where we live, we are saturated with churches, surrounded by God belief, and we even home schooled her–although not for religious reasons. We actually met with Christian home school groups for years, because at the time it seemed beneficial. And yet, even with all that, she wasn’t convinced; she accepted it all readily enough until around the age of 11 or so, and then ended up ultimately rejecting both Christianity and god belief. I wasn’t long behind her; as my doubts grew, I started looking at the underpinnings of Christianity itself–its history, what evidence it offered for its bold claims, and if it actually could deliver what it promised. As you know, I was shocked to find how flimsy and circumstantial it all was; with some insight from critical thinkers like Eberhard, Seidensticker, Carrier, Hitchens, a dose of Dawkins, and others, and I was done with it. I shared my journey with my wife, and we both ended up pretty much on the same page after a time.
          I recall you talking about your own journey to disbelief. I guess it didn’t really start in earnest until after you and your wife had all of your children? And unfortunately for you guys, you seem to have gone in opposite directions.

        • Pofarmer

          “I guess it didn’t really start in earnest until after you and your wife
          had all of your children? And unfortunately for you guys, you seem to
          have gone in opposite directions.”

          My problems didn’t actually start until my middle boy was in 3rd grade, and I started wanting to share more of my protestant style “country” faith with him. My wife flipped out because it wasn’t “raising the kids Catholic” and that’s when all the questioning started. And, yeah, her family is all super Catholic, my family is kind of “Meh” and so, here we are.

        • MNb

          “she accepted it all readily enough until around the age of 11 or so, and then ended up ultimately rejecting both Christianity and god belief.”
          How predictable. 11, 12 years is the age that kids start to develop critical thinking skills.

        • wtfwjtd

          “How predictable, 11,12 years is the age that kids start to develop critical thinking skills.”

          Very true, plus the fact that she had access to the internet,and could fact-check all the claims of Christianity made by those around her. Also, we had a series of family deaths about that time, she really was forced to think about life and death in a way that many people we know, young or old, have yet to do. It was a life-changing time for all of us.

        • Let’s label religious education an “adult activity,” like drinking, smoking, having a job, and voting. Begin religious education when they’re adults and see how long the religion lasts after that point.

        • Pofarmer

          I dunno, this nonsense came across my facebook feed today. I asked a question in the comments.

          http://www.onepeterfive.com/what-demons-know-about-the-eucharist-that-many-catholics-dont/

        • wtfwjtd

          Oh, brother. I see you’ve gotten no answers to your question. Surprise…

        • Pofarmer

          I’ll be patient.

        • Pofarmer

          I may regret commenting on the Facebook post, I,should just block the poster. Is it considered impolite to point out when people believe things, that are batshit insane?

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, Facebook commenting on such matters can be tricky, you never know which way it might go. I’m lucky, my wife and I belong to a couple of secret (non-believer) groups, and we do most of our posting there. It’s nice to have an outlet like that where we don’t feel like we have to walk on eggs when it comes to expressing doubt about religion.

        • Pofarmer

          We’ll see how it goes. The guy that posted is a recent convert from Protestant(married Catholic, kids in school) and you know what they say about new believers. Maybe it would be helpful if someone pointed out that the beliefs of his new club are somewhat off? I dunno. I need to finish “True Believers” maybe in the next couple weeks. It really is a fascinating books, and in the last chapters he’s pointing out some things that it takes do deconvert people from whatever belief trap they’ve fallen into. The problem is, generally, you have to provide some alternative, because people, in general, want to believe something………

        • wtfwjtd

          My wife has a co-worker that has been discussing belief with her. He was rather surprised when she told him she was an atheist, and was eager to talk about religion with her, as he said the few other non-believers he knows aren’t really interested in discussing it. He’s tried all the usual clap-trap we see regularly here–cosmological arguments, denial of biblical slavery, denial of evolution, etc. She’s easily swatted away all of his arguments, her and I have some pretty in-depth discussions, and she knows her way around the subject matter pretty good. He actually admitted to her the other day that since talking with her he’s actually had some doubt creep into his mind–and this from a guy who sacrificed his marriage to pursue his version of radical Christianity, no less. My wife can hold a very good discussion on the subject matter, I’m proud of her, and it’s amazing to see that just being forthright about who and what you are can often plant the seeds of doubt in the most unexpected places. So, just keep that thought in mind, you might be surprised … planting the seeds of doubt is the first baby step towards rationality.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, I suppose I need to ne nice, dammit.

    • Sounds like the people who dance around at Pentecostal/charismatic meetings or who get stoked from revivals.

      Have you heard of the Toronto Blessing? It was a quite-recent phenomenon where people got into a revival-like state and kept comin’ back for more. I’ve never experienced that, but I can see how it’d be an emotional high (like any other high) that you want to experience again and again.

      John Rockefeller was a Baptist, and the way he described church was like getting a bath on Saturday after a week of getting filthy. Means nothing to me, but analogies like these give me a glimpse of what they go for.

      • wtfwjtd

        That’s exactly it, it’s all a big play on the emotions, especially for vulnerable, insecure people. The fundie culture I grew up in, would have mostly the same people coming back to the alter to get saved week after week. I mean geez, how many times does a person need to be “saved”? The Nazarenes have added another dimension that they call getting “sanctified wholly”, it’s a “second work of grace” that is supposed to actually take away a person’s desire to keep “sinning”. I know all this sounds like rubbish to those on the outside, but those of us who grew up being indoctrinated with it had a surprisingly hard time finally letting it go. But at its core it’s all an emotional play, to keep the faithful coming back for more.

  • 90Lew90

    That’s a pretty good piece of reportage. Why not interview some people and put them on the spot? I used to love doing that. Ask for an interview about something you know they’ll want to talk about and then curveball them with a question on what you want to talk about. Works every time. Almost. Ken Ham was ready for me. He literally snarled and answered the air directly in front of his face as we sat side-by-side at the Waterfront in Belfast in 2008.

    The piece I put together with considerable effort was rejected by the editor of the Belfast Telegraph at the time, Martin Lyndsay, as “too strong and too long”. He was Presbyterian and courted the unionist (Protestant) market. I’d covered the Ulster connection to Ham’s ‘theology’ — James Ussher of the ‘Ussher Chronology’ fame was archbishop of Armagh, Co Down, Ireland — and John Tyndall’s (now vaguely) famous Belfast Address, on the implications of science post-Darwin, delivered at Queen’s University, Belfast in 1874: http://www.victorianweb.org/science/science_texts/belfast.html

    It had the lot. I interviewed Stuart Burgess and bought some of the books they were selling at the Waterfront gig, which included titles such as ‘Evolution Exposed: Your Evolution Answer Book for the Classroom’, marketed at teenagers. I had an interview with Ian Montgomery, professor of animal ecology and at the time head of the School of Biomedical Science at Queen’s University, Belfast, comment on the book and my transcript of Ham’s talk and interview. “Ludicrous” is his standout quote. Alas, the whole thing ended up on the shelf and is now lost due to a previous laptop packing up. I still have the interview tapes but that’s it. It was the most thorough piece of journalism I’ve ever done. I was a lot sharper then. Twenty-seven, just back from London and eager and hungry to put out some good stuff at home. Quite quickly disillusioned. Now I can hardly watch the news never mind helping to produce a newspaper. So much pap.

    Like the Shaw quote!

    And someone should tell the motherfucking catholic church about rendering unto Caesar… http://www.concordatwatch.eu/
    http://ncronline.org/news/politics/imbalance-undermines-bishops-campaign

    • I wish I could read you interview with “The Hamster.”

      Thanks for the encouragement. I haven’t done anything like that, but I’ll look for opportunities.

  • 90Lew90

    Furious. I was the boy and I saw the soldiers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ejga4kJUts&list=PL4088FD8D60584979

  • Frank6548

    More whine?

    • adam

      No thanks, you’ve whined enough already.

      • Frank6548

        Ooo good one :rolleyes

        • adam

          ….

    • Dys

      Try to be a little less obvious Frank

    • Is there an argument here or do you have enough intellectual material for only a hilarious drive-by?

      • Frank6548

        My apologies. I didn’t know intellect was expected here. I didn’t see any so I made a bad assumption.

        • adam

          Obviously, you are too oblivious to intellect to recognize it.

        • Frank6548

          I guess I shouldn’t expect it to be forthcoming.

        • adam

          No, not based on what you’ve not posted so far.
          Are you capable, yet unwilling or
          Willing but incapable?

        • Frank6548

          A perfect example of ignorance about God. Thanks!

        • Dys

          We kept asking you to display some Frank, but you cowardly declined.

        • Frank6548

          It would be lost on you.

        • Dys

          Whatever you need to tell yourself Frank. I’m sure it helps keep your ego nice and over-inflated.

        • Frank6548

          This isn’t about me. I would be perfectly happy if you ignored me. Or I can continue to embarrass you.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, Frank, if you would be perfectly happy to be ignored, why did you comment in the first place?

        • Dys

          Frank’s not a very good liar.

        • Dys

          “This isn’t about me.”

          Jesus doesn’t like it when you lie your ass of Frankie…you should stop. You’re feeding your ego.

          You haven’t embarrassed me at all Frank…given your inability to engage in discussion, I highly doubt you’re capable. You’re just embarrassing yourself.

        • I’d call your arguments flaccid, but you don’t have any.

          Become an interesting conversation partner or get banned.

        • Frank6548

          Put forth something interesting and compelling and that’s what you’ll get back. Put forth nonsense and that’s what you can expect.

          Go ahead and ban me. It would be easier for you. Not that it would stop me however. Banning… the last vestige of the weak.

        • Kodie

          Why did Jesus send you here?

        • Frank6548

          Who said Jesus sent me here?

          Whatever game you think your playing may as well give it up. You’ve lost already.

        • Kodie

          Where’s your content?

        • Go ahead and ban me.

          OK.

        • adam

        • Frank6548

          Wow that’s what you have? Pitifully ignorant and ineffective for anyone with brains.

        • adam

          Then HOW would YOU know?

        • Another hilarious retort! Where do you come up with ’em?!

          And yet more evidence that you’ve got absolutely no argument of your own. I’m impressed that you’re brave enough to hang around with your wet powder displayed for all to laugh at.

      • Dys

        Frank doesn’t have any arguments…he’s just here to troll.

  • Joe G.

    Two things:

    1. This has been going on since 2008. What has the IRS — tasked and funded to do something — done about it?

    2. How big are the files on Rev. Wright and all the churches that Democratic candidates appear at?

    • 1. The IRS has found excuses for not getting involved. I suppose it would raise political issues that Congress would prefer to avoid? I’d love to see the Johnson amendment get enforced, but I suppose there’s always a chance that it would be toss away as yet another bone that Congress gives to Christianity.

      2. Are you saying that the problem is just as big on the Democratic side? I find that quite hard to imagine.