On September 28, some pastors are planning to endorse a candidate from the pulpit, in defiance of the nation’s tax laws that forbid tax-exempt non-profit organizations from getting involved in partisan politics. The pastors hope to provoke the IRS to take action against them, thus making a test case that they hope will make it to the Supreme Court. They hope for a ruling that the tax laws constitute an unconstitutional infringement of the freedom of speech and of religion.
See Ban on Political Endorsements by Pastors Targeted . What do you think of this action? Isn’t an out-and-out defiance of the law a violation of Romans 13? Isn’t it true that churches should keep the ministry of the gospel separate from politics? But should the state be forcing them to do that?
We might consider too the propriety of churches not paying taxes, which is one obligation to the state that the New Testament lifts up as appropriate, at least for individuals. Often communities resist the building of new churches because that takes property off the tax rolls. If churches were to pay taxes, wouldn’t that free up its ministry? But would we laypeople give as much to the church, if we couldn’t deduct it from our taxes?