Yesterday was the day when various pastors resolved to challenge I.R.S. restrictions by endorsing candidates from the pulpit. Did your preacher do that? Thirty-three did, organized by a conservative legal foundation, and the IRS has promised to “take action as appropriate.”
These preachers seem to all be conservatives and preached against voting for Barack Obama. But mainstream denominations, as I recall from experience, preach politics all the time, condemning conservative candidates in much the same terms. And African-American churches seem to turn their services into campaign rallies, with Democratic candidates doing the preaching! Let the IRS crack down on everyone or no one.
There are times when God uses the state to reform the church. The Reformation being the major example, when Luther called on the aid of the princes to curb ecclesiastical abuses,. But I think too of the priest pedophile scandal and the financial scams run by various TV preachers. Might IRS regulations be a legitimate Romans 13 means by which God ensures that churches focus on the Kingdom of Heaven rather than the kingdoms of this world?
Can you think of other cases when state power needs to come down upon the church? Or do you think, despite the example of the Reformation, that churches should be completely unconstrained by the state?