Pulpit Freedom Sunday

Yesterday had been declared “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” by a group of activist pastors and a conservative legal organization.  Over a thousand pastors purposefully violated the law by endorsing, by name, a political candidate, something non-profit organizations are not allowed to do.  They recorded their endorsement sermons and are all going to send a copy to the IRS.

The idea is to force the IRS to take action against them, setting up a court challenge on the grounds that the law violates the Constitution’s guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  See Pastors to take on IRS in plan to preach politics from the pulpit | Fox News.

Did any of you pastors take part in this act of civil disobedience?  Did any of you attend a church where this happened?  Do you know of any Lutheran churches that participated (which would seem to be a clear violation not only of the secular law but of Lutheran doctrine with its Two Kingdoms theology)?

Doesn’t this violate Romans 13?  Shouldn’t the churches that did this lose their tax exempt status?  After all, civil disobedience includes taking the punishment for violating the law.  If churches want to exercise a political authority–something that the Reformation utterly opposed when the Pope did this sort of thing–shouldn’t they just abandon their tax exempt status so they can function like other political organizations?  Is it really unconstitutional?  Or is there a case to be made for Pulpit Freedom Sunday?  If so, what is it?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Philip Larson

    How would it violate Romans 13? Our King rules not only in the church, but over all nations:

    Jesus is “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36), not merely the church. Jesus is “the ruler of kings on earth” (Rev. 1:5), and his rights over the nations result from his cross-work (Isa. 53:12). Our duty to spread the gospel everywhere is predicated on Christ’s elevation over all powers and principalities (Matt. 28:18). One could multiply the biblical data that support this. In sum, Jesus is Lord: those who reign under him in seats of political authority need to know who their King is.

    It’s important to note that this is JESUS who is Lord of all, not someone seated on the left-hand of God. It is the gospel-bringing Redeemer who rules the nations (Rev. 5).

    Thank God for those first Protestants who stood up to the Emperor, willing to lose their heads for the faith. Why are we reticent to do the same today when our current President speaks of advancing evil? Why mince the truth?

    Doubtless we will experience persecution, but even in this life we may look for blessing in discipleship (Mark 10:29-30).

    You wrote: “If churches want to exercise a political authority. . . .” That’s too American. Rather, it’s merely the minister’s duty to speak all of God’s truth, even when that conflicts with our current Administration.

  • Philip Larson

    How would it violate Romans 13? Our King rules not only in the church, but over all nations:

    Jesus is “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36), not merely the church. Jesus is “the ruler of kings on earth” (Rev. 1:5), and his rights over the nations result from his cross-work (Isa. 53:12). Our duty to spread the gospel everywhere is predicated on Christ’s elevation over all powers and principalities (Matt. 28:18). One could multiply the biblical data that support this. In sum, Jesus is Lord: those who reign under him in seats of political authority need to know who their King is.

    It’s important to note that this is JESUS who is Lord of all, not someone seated on the left-hand of God. It is the gospel-bringing Redeemer who rules the nations (Rev. 5).

    Thank God for those first Protestants who stood up to the Emperor, willing to lose their heads for the faith. Why are we reticent to do the same today when our current President speaks of advancing evil? Why mince the truth?

    Doubtless we will experience persecution, but even in this life we may look for blessing in discipleship (Mark 10:29-30).

    You wrote: “If churches want to exercise a political authority. . . .” That’s too American. Rather, it’s merely the minister’s duty to speak all of God’s truth, even when that conflicts with our current Administration.

  • steve

    Ironic that while they’re challenging the Constitutionality of a law restricting their business behind the pulpit, they’re neglecting their true business behind the pulpit. If they used the pulpit to proclaim the Word of God, this would be a non-issue.

  • steve

    Ironic that while they’re challenging the Constitutionality of a law restricting their business behind the pulpit, they’re neglecting their true business behind the pulpit. If they used the pulpit to proclaim the Word of God, this would be a non-issue.

  • Random Lutheran

    What strikes me, before the questions of keeping vs. breaking the law, constitutionality, taxation, the separation of church & state, and the like, is just how dumb this movement is.

  • Random Lutheran

    What strikes me, before the questions of keeping vs. breaking the law, constitutionality, taxation, the separation of church & state, and the like, is just how dumb this movement is.

  • fws

    1) Pastors talking about politics or favoring particular politicians in no way violates the Two Kingdoms doctrine. Why not? Two Kingdoms is to teach us the Law and Gospel distinction: ALL we can see and are able to do with willpower and reason is Old Adam doing something. Earthly Kingdom. This is to exclude ALL we can see and are able to do, even in church, from the Heavenly Kingdom of Grace and Faith.

    Not only the state and marriage are Earthly Law Kingdom . So is the Holy Catholic Church.

    2)If the church spends the 20 minutes of its sermon time doing politics, then who is it that will teach the Holy Gospel? No one. And God will judge and punish pastors who neglect this duty, which is THE reason they are pastors.

    What,alone , is the Gospel? It is the preaching of a heart knowing of Two words into the hearts and minds of sinful men. Those Two Words are “given and shed ,FOR YOU!”

    Only churchs have those two words. no one else. What a shame for churches to turn to the job of those other two governments of society and marriage which is all Law.

    This is not a confusion of Two Kingdoms. It is a confusion of vocations where pastors try to rule with the Law outside of where they are appointed to rule with the Law, which is in church.

  • fws

    1) Pastors talking about politics or favoring particular politicians in no way violates the Two Kingdoms doctrine. Why not? Two Kingdoms is to teach us the Law and Gospel distinction: ALL we can see and are able to do with willpower and reason is Old Adam doing something. Earthly Kingdom. This is to exclude ALL we can see and are able to do, even in church, from the Heavenly Kingdom of Grace and Faith.

    Not only the state and marriage are Earthly Law Kingdom . So is the Holy Catholic Church.

    2)If the church spends the 20 minutes of its sermon time doing politics, then who is it that will teach the Holy Gospel? No one. And God will judge and punish pastors who neglect this duty, which is THE reason they are pastors.

    What,alone , is the Gospel? It is the preaching of a heart knowing of Two words into the hearts and minds of sinful men. Those Two Words are “given and shed ,FOR YOU!”

    Only churchs have those two words. no one else. What a shame for churches to turn to the job of those other two governments of society and marriage which is all Law.

    This is not a confusion of Two Kingdoms. It is a confusion of vocations where pastors try to rule with the Law outside of where they are appointed to rule with the Law, which is in church.

  • fws

    Lutherans nowhere teach the separation of church and state.
    But we do teach a proper distinction of Law and Gospel and the Two Kingdoms of Law and FaithAlone. Of Old Adam vs New Man.

  • fws

    Lutherans nowhere teach the separation of church and state.
    But we do teach a proper distinction of Law and Gospel and the Two Kingdoms of Law and FaithAlone. Of Old Adam vs New Man.

  • Booklover

    Pastors should continue to preach on moral issues. If a congregant is too stupid to connect the issues to the candidate on his own, that is a profoundly sad thing. Pastors do not need to name names and back specific candidates or condemn specific others. Heaven knows we get enough political ugliness on the radio and everywhere else. We don’t need it in church. If my church got political, I would be gone.

  • Booklover

    Pastors should continue to preach on moral issues. If a congregant is too stupid to connect the issues to the candidate on his own, that is a profoundly sad thing. Pastors do not need to name names and back specific candidates or condemn specific others. Heaven knows we get enough political ugliness on the radio and everywhere else. We don’t need it in church. If my church got political, I would be gone.

  • Cincinnatus

    Churches have played an integral role in American political advocacy for centuries, most famously during the abolition movement. But interested readers might also peruse the two-volume Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, where hundreds of sermons from the seventeenth century onward are recorded haranguing against British rule, etc.

    And, of course, African-American churches have blatantly flouted the law against advocacy for decades. One wonders, then, why this movement is even garnering attention: white churches are expected to behave or something?

    The real question, though, is why now? What political questions are so urgent in this movement–and I’m thinking of something on the scale of abolition–that motivate/justify this movement? While I prefer not to hear politics on Sunday morning, I don’t think it should be illegal. But is this the battle to pick, and even if so, is now the time for that battle?

  • Cincinnatus

    Churches have played an integral role in American political advocacy for centuries, most famously during the abolition movement. But interested readers might also peruse the two-volume Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, where hundreds of sermons from the seventeenth century onward are recorded haranguing against British rule, etc.

    And, of course, African-American churches have blatantly flouted the law against advocacy for decades. One wonders, then, why this movement is even garnering attention: white churches are expected to behave or something?

    The real question, though, is why now? What political questions are so urgent in this movement–and I’m thinking of something on the scale of abolition–that motivate/justify this movement? While I prefer not to hear politics on Sunday morning, I don’t think it should be illegal. But is this the battle to pick, and even if so, is now the time for that battle?

  • Abby

    Is anyone going to visit Rev. Matthew Harrison in jail (or try to help get him out?) if we have to honor the Obamacare mandate to supply
    contraceptives/abortifacients to anyone who works in the LCMS under the Worker Benefits insurance? He said he was willing to go to jail — and the Baptist guy sitting next to him said he wanted to be in his cell with him! :)

  • Abby

    Is anyone going to visit Rev. Matthew Harrison in jail (or try to help get him out?) if we have to honor the Obamacare mandate to supply
    contraceptives/abortifacients to anyone who works in the LCMS under the Worker Benefits insurance? He said he was willing to go to jail — and the Baptist guy sitting next to him said he wanted to be in his cell with him! :)

  • Cincinnatus

    Abby@8: Last I checked, one doesn’t go to jail for advocating political causes from the pulpit. One loses one’s tax-exempt status. Or rather, one’s church loses its tax-exempt status.

    In theory. As I noted, black churches have been political organs for decades.

  • Cincinnatus

    Abby@8: Last I checked, one doesn’t go to jail for advocating political causes from the pulpit. One loses one’s tax-exempt status. Or rather, one’s church loses its tax-exempt status.

    In theory. As I noted, black churches have been political organs for decades.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    As important as it is to address politics when it intersects with Christian life, it needs to be done carefully, and NEVER in a way that overshadows the gospel.

    Sometimes I think the devil uses the good as the enemy of the best.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    As important as it is to address politics when it intersects with Christian life, it needs to be done carefully, and NEVER in a way that overshadows the gospel.

    Sometimes I think the devil uses the good as the enemy of the best.

  • SKPeterson

    I had no idea that this movement even existed. We heard nothing at all political on Sunday, except there was an announcement (during announcements at the end of the service) that there was going to be a dinner for TN Right to Life this Thursday. That might be considered political in a stretch.

  • SKPeterson

    I had no idea that this movement even existed. We heard nothing at all political on Sunday, except there was an announcement (during announcements at the end of the service) that there was going to be a dinner for TN Right to Life this Thursday. That might be considered political in a stretch.

  • Abby

    @9 “In theory. As I noted, black churches have been political organs for decades.” Why haven’t they been afraid of losing their tax exempt status?

  • Abby

    @9 “In theory. As I noted, black churches have been political organs for decades.” Why haven’t they been afraid of losing their tax exempt status?

  • Tom Hering

    They don’t lose their tax status because they keep their message within the law. “I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but I’m going to tell you how to vote.” That’s the same message I’ve heard in white evangelical churches, since I first started visiting them in the 1980s.

  • Tom Hering

    They don’t lose their tax status because they keep their message within the law. “I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but I’m going to tell you how to vote.” That’s the same message I’ve heard in white evangelical churches, since I first started visiting them in the 1980s.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I didn’t preach this weekend as it was the other pastor’s turn to preach. If I did, I can assure you I would not have wasted the people’s time with an idiotic and sinful political endorsement. Rather, I would have done the work of my calling and preached the Gospel and give the people the Bread of Life.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I didn’t preach this weekend as it was the other pastor’s turn to preach. If I did, I can assure you I would not have wasted the people’s time with an idiotic and sinful political endorsement. Rather, I would have done the work of my calling and preached the Gospel and give the people the Bread of Life.

  • CRB

    I would love know what these churches preach on a Sunday. My guess is there is very little, if any, preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

  • CRB

    I would love know what these churches preach on a Sunday. My guess is there is very little, if any, preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

  • CRB

    I would not be surprised if, in the near future, that the tax exempt status of all churches will be revoked because of this kind of protesting!

  • CRB

    I would not be surprised if, in the near future, that the tax exempt status of all churches will be revoked because of this kind of protesting!

  • Stone the Crows

    No, when one is preaching the law and the Gospel you should find yourself proclaiming the kingdoms of Grace and Glory which stand in contrast to the kingdom of Power. I’m not sure what the point of pulpit freedom Sunday was, if there are severe restrictions upon what we say from the Pulpit and we’re being persecuted for what we say should it be necessary to record those words and send them to the IRS? Is this true civil disobedience or deliberately being provacative?

  • Stone the Crows

    No, when one is preaching the law and the Gospel you should find yourself proclaiming the kingdoms of Grace and Glory which stand in contrast to the kingdom of Power. I’m not sure what the point of pulpit freedom Sunday was, if there are severe restrictions upon what we say from the Pulpit and we’re being persecuted for what we say should it be necessary to record those words and send them to the IRS? Is this true civil disobedience or deliberately being provacative?

  • CRB

    Stone the Crows,
    I think it’s the latter and pehaps just ignorance about the left and right hand kingdoms.

  • CRB

    Stone the Crows,
    I think it’s the latter and pehaps just ignorance about the left and right hand kingdoms.

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom:

    I don’t know. Having visited a few black churches (I grew up in the dirty South after all), I can verify the notion that it’s a matter of course that many (certainly not all) black churches are basically and explicitly political organizations in a way that evangelical churches (which I grew up in) have never been–and that’s not even to speak of the “churches” that are essentially fronts for the liberation movement.

    Don’t mistake me: I have no problem with this except insofar as it arguably transgresses an arbitrary and ridiculous law.

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom:

    I don’t know. Having visited a few black churches (I grew up in the dirty South after all), I can verify the notion that it’s a matter of course that many (certainly not all) black churches are basically and explicitly political organizations in a way that evangelical churches (which I grew up in) have never been–and that’s not even to speak of the “churches” that are essentially fronts for the liberation movement.

    Don’t mistake me: I have no problem with this except insofar as it arguably transgresses an arbitrary and ridiculous law.

  • l shaffer

    A friend explained to me that back in the day when black folks could lose thier jobs if they expressed political opinions, the only people who were NOT at risk were the pastors. Hence, the evolution of today’s very political black churches.

  • l shaffer

    A friend explained to me that back in the day when black folks could lose thier jobs if they expressed political opinions, the only people who were NOT at risk were the pastors. Hence, the evolution of today’s very political black churches.

  • A. MacPhee

    If you interpret the 1st Amendment according to what it says, then the Constitution exercises and exerts a higher law to which pastors may and should appeal. If a tax exempt status exists, it cannot and should not infringe upon the constitutionally protected freedoms.

    1st Amendment -
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…”

  • A. MacPhee

    If you interpret the 1st Amendment according to what it says, then the Constitution exercises and exerts a higher law to which pastors may and should appeal. If a tax exempt status exists, it cannot and should not infringe upon the constitutionally protected freedoms.

    1st Amendment -
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…”

  • fws

    mac Phee @ 21
    that makes sense.
    And it is, in fact, true, that churches and pastors have the constitutional right to say whatever they want short of inciting violence.
    Is anyone really questioning that right? that is the question.

    It should also be pointed out that tax exempt status is not a right.

    So churches should, and in fact , do, have the right to be as politically involved as they wish to be, and should not complain that the price of exercising that right is to lose their tax exempt status.

    I would heartily favor the removal of tax exempt status for all charities and religious groups. it would probably add some sanity to alot of things.

  • fws

    mac Phee @ 21
    that makes sense.
    And it is, in fact, true, that churches and pastors have the constitutional right to say whatever they want short of inciting violence.
    Is anyone really questioning that right? that is the question.

    It should also be pointed out that tax exempt status is not a right.

    So churches should, and in fact , do, have the right to be as politically involved as they wish to be, and should not complain that the price of exercising that right is to lose their tax exempt status.

    I would heartily favor the removal of tax exempt status for all charities and religious groups. it would probably add some sanity to alot of things.

  • larry

    Bongo Frank at 4. I would hope no Lutheran pastor partook of this a obvious anabaptistic stupidity. And añy that may have ought to be called on to repent immediately or be removed from his office expeditiously showing himself to not be a true shepherd but a hurling.

  • larry

    Bongo Frank at 4. I would hope no Lutheran pastor partook of this a obvious anabaptistic stupidity. And añy that may have ought to be called on to repent immediately or be removed from his office expeditiously showing himself to not be a true shepherd but a hurling.

  • larry

    Should be bingo…auto correct mistake.!!

  • larry

    Should be bingo…auto correct mistake.!!

  • Abby

    A great ad put out by the Catholic church. Without saying who to vote for, it makes it pretty clear. I always respect their bold stand on issues publicly.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=D9vQt6IXXaM&hd

  • Abby

    A great ad put out by the Catholic church. Without saying who to vote for, it makes it pretty clear. I always respect their bold stand on issues publicly.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=D9vQt6IXXaM&hd

  • Abby

    Same ad but Evangelical/Protestant version:

  • Abby

    Same ad but Evangelical/Protestant version:

  • Joe

    Thanking God for my pastor — who did not engage in this tripe but, instead, convicted me with the Law and then covered me in the salve of the Gospel.

  • Joe

    Thanking God for my pastor — who did not engage in this tripe but, instead, convicted me with the Law and then covered me in the salve of the Gospel.

  • DonS

    No court challenge will be forthcoming. The IRS is not going to rise to the bait offered up by these churches — I guarantee it. They would rather pick off churches one at a time. And a mass litigation of this nature would expose IRS hypocrisy in allowing African-American churches to freely politicize their worship services.

    The wisdom of this move is debatable, though I understand the motivation. The real goal is to embolden pastors and other church leaders to once again speak more freely on moral issues, which they have always had every right to do. To demonstrate this freedom, they chose to go overboard and explicitly endorse particular candidates, which is, in my view, ordinarily a terrible idea, but maybe OK for this one extraordinary exception if it emboldens pastors and backs off the “separation” organizations who have so bastardized the understanding of many of Constitutional law, as well as of the pertinent statutory law, the so-called Johnson amendments of 1954. When the IRS fails to prosecute these churches, there will be precedent set which will hopefully free pastors to preach the Gospel wherever it leads, including into the personal lives and habits of their congregants and concerning our national moral failures, especially abortion.

    The above makes the case, such as it is, for Pulpit Freedom Sunday. As for the remaining questions posed by Dr. Veith: “Doesn’t this violate Romans 13?” — no. Civil disobedience is biblically permitted, and was frequently practiced by early church leadership.

    “Shouldn’t the churches that did this lose their tax exempt status? After all, civil disobedience includes taking the punishment for violating the law. If churches want to exercise a political authority–something that the Reformation utterly opposed when the Pope did this sort of thing–shouldn’t they just abandon their tax exempt status so they can function like other political organizations?” — Civil disobedience means violating the law publicly, which these pastors did, rather than in secret, and presenting yourself for appropriate prosecution by the authorities, which these pastors also explicitly did. It does not require self-imposition of that punishment, especially if you believe the law to be unjust or unjustly enforced. These pastors are saying they are willing to lose their tax exempt status if that is how the courts decide. I don’t think they are interested in exercising a political authority. Rather, they just want to be able to participate in the political process, particularly when the issues intersect with biblical teachings.

    “Is it really unconstitutional?” Certainly not. The only issue really at play is statutory law related to tax exemptions — the 1954 Johnson amendments to IRS code.

  • DonS

    No court challenge will be forthcoming. The IRS is not going to rise to the bait offered up by these churches — I guarantee it. They would rather pick off churches one at a time. And a mass litigation of this nature would expose IRS hypocrisy in allowing African-American churches to freely politicize their worship services.

    The wisdom of this move is debatable, though I understand the motivation. The real goal is to embolden pastors and other church leaders to once again speak more freely on moral issues, which they have always had every right to do. To demonstrate this freedom, they chose to go overboard and explicitly endorse particular candidates, which is, in my view, ordinarily a terrible idea, but maybe OK for this one extraordinary exception if it emboldens pastors and backs off the “separation” organizations who have so bastardized the understanding of many of Constitutional law, as well as of the pertinent statutory law, the so-called Johnson amendments of 1954. When the IRS fails to prosecute these churches, there will be precedent set which will hopefully free pastors to preach the Gospel wherever it leads, including into the personal lives and habits of their congregants and concerning our national moral failures, especially abortion.

    The above makes the case, such as it is, for Pulpit Freedom Sunday. As for the remaining questions posed by Dr. Veith: “Doesn’t this violate Romans 13?” — no. Civil disobedience is biblically permitted, and was frequently practiced by early church leadership.

    “Shouldn’t the churches that did this lose their tax exempt status? After all, civil disobedience includes taking the punishment for violating the law. If churches want to exercise a political authority–something that the Reformation utterly opposed when the Pope did this sort of thing–shouldn’t they just abandon their tax exempt status so they can function like other political organizations?” — Civil disobedience means violating the law publicly, which these pastors did, rather than in secret, and presenting yourself for appropriate prosecution by the authorities, which these pastors also explicitly did. It does not require self-imposition of that punishment, especially if you believe the law to be unjust or unjustly enforced. These pastors are saying they are willing to lose their tax exempt status if that is how the courts decide. I don’t think they are interested in exercising a political authority. Rather, they just want to be able to participate in the political process, particularly when the issues intersect with biblical teachings.

    “Is it really unconstitutional?” Certainly not. The only issue really at play is statutory law related to tax exemptions — the 1954 Johnson amendments to IRS code.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    I was raised in a church where people were constantly instructed how to vote. I find it refreshing to not be told how to vote but have the biblical principles taught in Bible Study. Having the tools to think things through is much more helpful. We only vote every so often.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    I was raised in a church where people were constantly instructed how to vote. I find it refreshing to not be told how to vote but have the biblical principles taught in Bible Study. Having the tools to think things through is much more helpful. We only vote every so often.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    Oh, if the churches have to lose tax status so should Family (abortion) Planning, NOW etc. lose tax status as well.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    Oh, if the churches have to lose tax status so should Family (abortion) Planning, NOW etc. lose tax status as well.

  • http://deepeningwaters.com JD Loofbourrow

    I have not read any comments so far. Does this violate Romans 13? I guess it depends on weather or not the tax exemption law is constitutional. If it is then I suppose it would be. If the law is unconstitutional (which seems to me to be the case but I haven’t looked very closely at the issue) then they are not violating the valid laws of the land. Jesus did the same thing when he made mud on the Sabbath or had people carrying their bed’s around on the Sabbath. The law that the Pharisees had made was not a valid law because it had no real basis in the Law of God. it was an addition. So I don’t think it violates the Romans 13 (if the rule is not constitutional).

    That being said, I have long thought it strange that the church would ever agree to such a thing in the first place. Provers 23 says:

    “Do not eat the bread of a miser,
    Nor desire his delicacies;
    For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
    “Eat and drink!” he says to you,
    But his heart is not with you.
    The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up,
    And waste your pleasant words.”

    I take that to mean that it is not wise to put yourself in debt to someone who will use that debt to control you. Even so, I know that many churches are already struggling financially and having to pay taxes would be devastating. Still (and I know this is “easy for me to say”) we would do better to trust the Lords provision than a government deal with strings attached.

    I guess my point is, even though it is the harder road it might be better for the church to not agree to such things in the first place. In the end it just turns into a fight over rights and the gospel gets lost in the fray.

  • http://deepeningwaters.com JD Loofbourrow

    I have not read any comments so far. Does this violate Romans 13? I guess it depends on weather or not the tax exemption law is constitutional. If it is then I suppose it would be. If the law is unconstitutional (which seems to me to be the case but I haven’t looked very closely at the issue) then they are not violating the valid laws of the land. Jesus did the same thing when he made mud on the Sabbath or had people carrying their bed’s around on the Sabbath. The law that the Pharisees had made was not a valid law because it had no real basis in the Law of God. it was an addition. So I don’t think it violates the Romans 13 (if the rule is not constitutional).

    That being said, I have long thought it strange that the church would ever agree to such a thing in the first place. Provers 23 says:

    “Do not eat the bread of a miser,
    Nor desire his delicacies;
    For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
    “Eat and drink!” he says to you,
    But his heart is not with you.
    The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up,
    And waste your pleasant words.”

    I take that to mean that it is not wise to put yourself in debt to someone who will use that debt to control you. Even so, I know that many churches are already struggling financially and having to pay taxes would be devastating. Still (and I know this is “easy for me to say”) we would do better to trust the Lords provision than a government deal with strings attached.

    I guess my point is, even though it is the harder road it might be better for the church to not agree to such things in the first place. In the end it just turns into a fight over rights and the gospel gets lost in the fray.

  • fws

    david @ 30

    I would like to see the tax deduction forall charities and the removal of tax exemption for all charities as well.

  • fws

    david @ 30

    I would like to see the tax deduction forall charities and the removal of tax exemption for all charities as well.

  • http://deepeningwaters.com JD Loofbourrow

    J. Dean @ 10
    you said:
    “Sometimes I think the devil uses the good as the enemy of the best.”
    I like that. I’m going to memorize it and teach it to my kids.

  • http://deepeningwaters.com JD Loofbourrow

    J. Dean @ 10
    you said:
    “Sometimes I think the devil uses the good as the enemy of the best.”
    I like that. I’m going to memorize it and teach it to my kids.

  • fws

    jd loufbourrow @ 33

    that is a variation of Voltaire´s dictum that the perfect is the enemy of the good. and that in turn may be a reflection of Aristotle´s definition of virtue…

    For Aristotle, every person has a character, which comes from the repetition of certain kinds of activities or habits [1103b20]. A virtue is a state of a character.
    There are two kinds of virtues: intellectual and moral. The purpose of examining virtue is not to understand what virtue is, which is useless, but to become good [1103b25]. A correct action is governed by the rational part of the soul, by correct reason.

    With respect to moral virtues, they are states that naturally tend to be ruined either by excess or deficiency [1104a10]. He uses a physical analogy to exercise: too little exercise and too much exercise both undermine strength.

    It is the same with, for example, bravery: too little bravery is being cowardly and afraid of everything whereas too much bravery is being rash and afraid of nothing.

    The moral mean is not always easy to find. Individuals must not only be rational, but they should also consider that the mean in a specific case is always relative to us as well as defined by reference to reason [1107a1].

    Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_Aristotles_definition_of_virtue#ixzz28jMYWfCd

  • fws

    jd loufbourrow @ 33

    that is a variation of Voltaire´s dictum that the perfect is the enemy of the good. and that in turn may be a reflection of Aristotle´s definition of virtue…

    For Aristotle, every person has a character, which comes from the repetition of certain kinds of activities or habits [1103b20]. A virtue is a state of a character.
    There are two kinds of virtues: intellectual and moral. The purpose of examining virtue is not to understand what virtue is, which is useless, but to become good [1103b25]. A correct action is governed by the rational part of the soul, by correct reason.

    With respect to moral virtues, they are states that naturally tend to be ruined either by excess or deficiency [1104a10]. He uses a physical analogy to exercise: too little exercise and too much exercise both undermine strength.

    It is the same with, for example, bravery: too little bravery is being cowardly and afraid of everything whereas too much bravery is being rash and afraid of nothing.

    The moral mean is not always easy to find. Individuals must not only be rational, but they should also consider that the mean in a specific case is always relative to us as well as defined by reference to reason [1107a1].

    Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_Aristotles_definition_of_virtue#ixzz28jMYWfCd

  • Cincinnatus

    fws:

    I don’t have strong feelings about whether charities and other non-profit organizations (like universities) should be tax-exempt, but to dismiss tax exemptions for churches so glibly reflects a profound misunderstanding of its importance and of our constitutional history.

    Tax exemption for churches has been rooted for centuries in the idea that the Church and the State occupy two distinct spheres in which they are respectively sovereign. They occupy two kingdoms, as it were. If one kingdom possesses the power to tax the other kingdom, then there is no clearer evidence that the latter kingdom is subservient to and beholden to the first. To tax the church (or churches) is to suggest–nay, to demonstrate–that the Church is subordinate to the State.

    It should be clear why this relationship of subordination would be problematic within the American tradition (if not in other national or constitutional traditions), where the freedom of religion is so central and so guaranteed, especially when one considers the inevitable tendency of the State to use taxes to incentivize and disincentivize certain activities. Those who argue against church tax exemption know not what they ask.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws:

    I don’t have strong feelings about whether charities and other non-profit organizations (like universities) should be tax-exempt, but to dismiss tax exemptions for churches so glibly reflects a profound misunderstanding of its importance and of our constitutional history.

    Tax exemption for churches has been rooted for centuries in the idea that the Church and the State occupy two distinct spheres in which they are respectively sovereign. They occupy two kingdoms, as it were. If one kingdom possesses the power to tax the other kingdom, then there is no clearer evidence that the latter kingdom is subservient to and beholden to the first. To tax the church (or churches) is to suggest–nay, to demonstrate–that the Church is subordinate to the State.

    It should be clear why this relationship of subordination would be problematic within the American tradition (if not in other national or constitutional traditions), where the freedom of religion is so central and so guaranteed, especially when one considers the inevitable tendency of the State to use taxes to incentivize and disincentivize certain activities. Those who argue against church tax exemption know not what they ask.

  • Cincinnatus

    Three Addenda:

    1) Background: Churches in the “Old World” had been punitively taxed, especially churches and sects that departed in doctrine and practice from the state church. Licenses to preach, property taxes, and other fees were deployed to encourage (or discourage) certain religious allegiances (I’m not referring here to explicit, physical persecution, but “legal” persecution). It’s easy to discern why the United States fairly early abolished state churches and exempted them from taxes, given historical experience.

    2) Think about what you’re asking when you ask for the abolition of tax exemption: you’re implicitly arguing that, in order to get together and worship in a formal, public way, religious groups must register with the State and pay rather substantial fees to the State each year/quarter/whatever. Again, think about this: you’re asking that religious groups be required to pay the State for the privilege of worshiping in public. Some obvious ramifications: poor congregations would be forced to meet in people’s homes or other “free” locations; other congregations would be “encouraged” to campaign against the State’s policies explicitly; many churches–including my own dwindling congregation–would be forced to abandon historic and valuable properties because they can’t afford the taxes. You get the idea, and it’s a bad one.

    3) This is one of the few issues where I choose to be relatively and explicitly “partisan.” Advocating the removal of tax exemptions for churches is a popular opinion on the left (or at least among leftists), but not on the right. This says something important, I think.

  • Cincinnatus

    Three Addenda:

    1) Background: Churches in the “Old World” had been punitively taxed, especially churches and sects that departed in doctrine and practice from the state church. Licenses to preach, property taxes, and other fees were deployed to encourage (or discourage) certain religious allegiances (I’m not referring here to explicit, physical persecution, but “legal” persecution). It’s easy to discern why the United States fairly early abolished state churches and exempted them from taxes, given historical experience.

    2) Think about what you’re asking when you ask for the abolition of tax exemption: you’re implicitly arguing that, in order to get together and worship in a formal, public way, religious groups must register with the State and pay rather substantial fees to the State each year/quarter/whatever. Again, think about this: you’re asking that religious groups be required to pay the State for the privilege of worshiping in public. Some obvious ramifications: poor congregations would be forced to meet in people’s homes or other “free” locations; other congregations would be “encouraged” to campaign against the State’s policies explicitly; many churches–including my own dwindling congregation–would be forced to abandon historic and valuable properties because they can’t afford the taxes. You get the idea, and it’s a bad one.

    3) This is one of the few issues where I choose to be relatively and explicitly “partisan.” Advocating the removal of tax exemptions for churches is a popular opinion on the left (or at least among leftists), but not on the right. This says something important, I think.

  • fws

    all good points cinn.
    you make a good and strong case.

  • fws

    all good points cinn.
    you make a good and strong case.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    Interesting how many L:Lutheran leaders do not know their HIStory-
    esp –of the founding of the Republic
    or the recent-1954-un-Constitutional 501 ‘law’( 501 C3 for tax exemption) —
    The debauched LBJ- put forth the 501 to SHUT HIS CRITICS UP!!!
    the Christian leaders at the time did no fight it–esp the C3–BECAUSE – they did not know the HIStorical basis and percepts upon which this Republic was Founded–
    I only learned of the true HIStory of this Republic starting w/ my first Homeschool Convention in 1984!!and I have a University +++ degree!!
    I was raised a Lutheran-
    If Bonhoffer had had other Lutherans backing him upo instead of HIDING–Hitler would not have gotten away w/ the socialistic – program–and
    if leaders in the US had been LEADING- the likes of Planned Parenthood (TAX funded) and et al – would not exist–

    I was encouraged when I viewed Pres. Harrison in front of Congress and
    also encouraged when I viewed the Lutheran Hour Production-Intersection of Church and State!!

    C-CS
    LA LFL

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    Interesting how many L:Lutheran leaders do not know their HIStory-
    esp –of the founding of the Republic
    or the recent-1954-un-Constitutional 501 ‘law’( 501 C3 for tax exemption) —
    The debauched LBJ- put forth the 501 to SHUT HIS CRITICS UP!!!
    the Christian leaders at the time did no fight it–esp the C3–BECAUSE – they did not know the HIStorical basis and percepts upon which this Republic was Founded–
    I only learned of the true HIStory of this Republic starting w/ my first Homeschool Convention in 1984!!and I have a University +++ degree!!
    I was raised a Lutheran-
    If Bonhoffer had had other Lutherans backing him upo instead of HIDING–Hitler would not have gotten away w/ the socialistic – program–and
    if leaders in the US had been LEADING- the likes of Planned Parenthood (TAX funded) and et al – would not exist–

    I was encouraged when I viewed Pres. Harrison in front of Congress and
    also encouraged when I viewed the Lutheran Hour Production-Intersection of Church and State!!

    C-CS
    LA LFL

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    BTW-thank You #1
    and
    Thank GOD for the Black Regiment (black robed Pastors who stood strong -and knew HIStory- signed the Declaration-and even fought in battle —Mulenberg -Lutheran Pastor at the time of Revolution–comes to mind..
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    BTW-thank You #1
    and
    Thank GOD for the Black Regiment (black robed Pastors who stood strong -and knew HIStory- signed the Declaration-and even fought in battle —Mulenberg -Lutheran Pastor at the time of Revolution–comes to mind..
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    BTW-churches were not taxed before the 501 (LFJ) law–
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    BTW-churches were not taxed before the 501 (LFJ) law–
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    That would be Lyndon B. Johnson-LBJ!
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    That would be Lyndon B. Johnson-LBJ!
    C-CS

  • Stone the Crows

    Cincinnatus, your #2 point is very interesting to me, what would it be like if there were no tax exemptions for churches? Not only would property taxes would have to be paid by the church and in some cases that could be a hefty chunk of change. Also what would go away is that donations to the church would not be tax deductable for the members; would that diminish church budgets? I suspect it would. I’m not sure why a church paying taxes would be tantamount to having to ‘register’ per se or pay the state for the privilege of worshipping but I think there are those who would very much like it to be the case. What also comes to mind in this discussion is, that if churches incorporated and paid taxes like everyone else, might that make them more prone to political pandering and so actually give them more power than they have now?

  • Stone the Crows

    Cincinnatus, your #2 point is very interesting to me, what would it be like if there were no tax exemptions for churches? Not only would property taxes would have to be paid by the church and in some cases that could be a hefty chunk of change. Also what would go away is that donations to the church would not be tax deductable for the members; would that diminish church budgets? I suspect it would. I’m not sure why a church paying taxes would be tantamount to having to ‘register’ per se or pay the state for the privilege of worshipping but I think there are those who would very much like it to be the case. What also comes to mind in this discussion is, that if churches incorporated and paid taxes like everyone else, might that make them more prone to political pandering and so actually give them more power than they have now?

  • Cincinnatus

    Stone the Crows@42:

    Churches already have to “register” with the State in a formal way in order to obtain tax-exempt status. This is a problem with the system, but probably an unavoidable problem. But the real problem is that taxing church does, in fact, amount to forcing religious groups to pay for the privilege of worshiping freely.

    And, yes, as I noted, I agree with your last point: taking away tax exemption would encourage more than a little bit of political pandering and lobbying by churches. Leftists frequently complain that churches are too often using their “power” to “force” the government to act on issues like abortion and gay marriage. Imagine if the churches also starting lobbying for lower taxes, etc., for their own benefit. Bad incentives all around.

  • Cincinnatus

    Stone the Crows@42:

    Churches already have to “register” with the State in a formal way in order to obtain tax-exempt status. This is a problem with the system, but probably an unavoidable problem. But the real problem is that taxing church does, in fact, amount to forcing religious groups to pay for the privilege of worshiping freely.

    And, yes, as I noted, I agree with your last point: taking away tax exemption would encourage more than a little bit of political pandering and lobbying by churches. Leftists frequently complain that churches are too often using their “power” to “force” the government to act on issues like abortion and gay marriage. Imagine if the churches also starting lobbying for lower taxes, etc., for their own benefit. Bad incentives all around.

  • Larry

    The problem is that this type of move is not really “standing up for the faith”. It’s one thing to stand up when they deny you the ability to preach Christ and Him crucified, monkey around with your sacraments and so forth, quite another when we are “standing up for the (ubiquitous) “faith” of basically virtues that even a rank atheist can die for. Virtues are good, but dying for Aristotle or some other virtuous format is hardly “standing up for the faith”. A moral Mormon or atheist or Buddhist could die for such things labeled as “faith”.

    When they tell me I cannot have my Lord’s body and blood they can have my head. Virtues, I’ll battle in another realm, namely the voting booth for now.

    Would it be the “church” if the government acted against it over virtues and it is said they died for _____ (fill in the blank virtue). Even pagan’s die for virtues and moral causes, do they bear witness to the faith? Hardly! To die for virtues is not to die for Christ or even THE faith. Luther was never chased down for virtues, had that been the issue Rome would have sent legions to his defense.

    In order to make a lame defense for virtues, we like to anachronistically, and quite ignorantly, pretend that if something differed in history X decades ago that “Y would not have happened” (a secular and pagan view of history), as if we could have fixed if Z more people would have supported some countering movement. E.g. Hitler (and other great evils) WAS/WERE history, there was to be no other alternate history. Historical “Ifs” and had something different happened are the realm of shear fantasy.

    The only thing these “pulpits” were free of this past Sunday was preaching and giving Christ and Him crucified. As Luther wisely observed, “the devil has his martyrs too”.

  • Larry

    The problem is that this type of move is not really “standing up for the faith”. It’s one thing to stand up when they deny you the ability to preach Christ and Him crucified, monkey around with your sacraments and so forth, quite another when we are “standing up for the (ubiquitous) “faith” of basically virtues that even a rank atheist can die for. Virtues are good, but dying for Aristotle or some other virtuous format is hardly “standing up for the faith”. A moral Mormon or atheist or Buddhist could die for such things labeled as “faith”.

    When they tell me I cannot have my Lord’s body and blood they can have my head. Virtues, I’ll battle in another realm, namely the voting booth for now.

    Would it be the “church” if the government acted against it over virtues and it is said they died for _____ (fill in the blank virtue). Even pagan’s die for virtues and moral causes, do they bear witness to the faith? Hardly! To die for virtues is not to die for Christ or even THE faith. Luther was never chased down for virtues, had that been the issue Rome would have sent legions to his defense.

    In order to make a lame defense for virtues, we like to anachronistically, and quite ignorantly, pretend that if something differed in history X decades ago that “Y would not have happened” (a secular and pagan view of history), as if we could have fixed if Z more people would have supported some countering movement. E.g. Hitler (and other great evils) WAS/WERE history, there was to be no other alternate history. Historical “Ifs” and had something different happened are the realm of shear fantasy.

    The only thing these “pulpits” were free of this past Sunday was preaching and giving Christ and Him crucified. As Luther wisely observed, “the devil has his martyrs too”.

  • brianh

    Fanatics.

  • brianh

    Fanatics.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    Is. 59-God had to put on the Full Armor because his people were don nothing about unjust judges and the shedding of innocent blood–

    Lk-19 – Jesus the Christ gave us a command-’OCCUPY til I come-’ (hold the ground won-occupy)
    Eph. 6 – We were given the Full Armor -by our Creator God-
    If we do not get at it-(as did Bonhoffer) – I hate to think what will happen when God wrests the Full Armor from us and puts it on – AGAIN–
    Some Lutherans (MS-WS) will get the above-most will not –

    C-CS
    LFL

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    Is. 59-God had to put on the Full Armor because his people were don nothing about unjust judges and the shedding of innocent blood–

    Lk-19 – Jesus the Christ gave us a command-’OCCUPY til I come-’ (hold the ground won-occupy)
    Eph. 6 – We were given the Full Armor -by our Creator God-
    If we do not get at it-(as did Bonhoffer) – I hate to think what will happen when God wrests the Full Armor from us and puts it on – AGAIN–
    Some Lutherans (MS-WS) will get the above-most will not –

    C-CS
    LFL

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    I take that back-most in the Lutheran Church -MS- will not get it—
    Luckily-the new President of the LCMS – does get it!!
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    I take that back-most in the Lutheran Church -MS- will not get it—
    Luckily-the new President of the LCMS – does get it!!
    C-CS

  • Grace

    C-Christian Soldier @ 46

    YOU WROTE: “Is. 59-God had to put on the Full Armor because his people were don nothing about unjust judges and the shedding of innocent blood–”

    Carol, It’s HIS “armor” we are to put on – - God has always had the “Full Armor” HE has everything, HE is God – what are you talking about concerning Isaiah 59?

    You sound very confused.

  • Grace

    C-Christian Soldier @ 46

    YOU WROTE: “Is. 59-God had to put on the Full Armor because his people were don nothing about unjust judges and the shedding of innocent blood–”

    Carol, It’s HIS “armor” we are to put on – - God has always had the “Full Armor” HE has everything, HE is God – what are you talking about concerning Isaiah 59?

    You sound very confused.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    Grace-have you read Is 59-Full Armor?
    Lk 19 -OCCUPY
    Eph-6-Full Armor
    One does ‘battle’ w/ Full Armor -

    I’m not the one who is confused-
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    Grace-have you read Is 59-Full Armor?
    Lk 19 -OCCUPY
    Eph-6-Full Armor
    One does ‘battle’ w/ Full Armor -

    I’m not the one who is confused-
    C-CS

  • Grace

    Carol @49 “Grace-have you read Is 59-Full Armor?
    Lk 19 -OCCUPY
    Eph-6-Full Armor
    One does ‘battle’ w/ Full Armor -”

    “armour”

    I would not have commented had I not known the passages you used

    Read carefully what you wrote @46, and I quoted from your remarks. “YOU WROTE: “Is. 59- God had to put on the Full Armor because his people were don nothing about unjust judges and the shedding of innocent blood–”

    We are to put on the whole “armour” of God. That is clear
    in Ephesians 6. I write about that passage often. It is about we as Believers putting on the “whole armour of God” -

    10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

    11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

    12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    13 Therefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
    Ephesians 6

  • Grace

    Carol @49 “Grace-have you read Is 59-Full Armor?
    Lk 19 -OCCUPY
    Eph-6-Full Armor
    One does ‘battle’ w/ Full Armor -”

    “armour”

    I would not have commented had I not known the passages you used

    Read carefully what you wrote @46, and I quoted from your remarks. “YOU WROTE: “Is. 59- God had to put on the Full Armor because his people were don nothing about unjust judges and the shedding of innocent blood–”

    We are to put on the whole “armour” of God. That is clear
    in Ephesians 6. I write about that passage often. It is about we as Believers putting on the “whole armour of God” -

    10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

    11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

    12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    13 Therefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
    Ephesians 6

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    Glad the Founders did not have the attitudes of the Lutherans–or we would still be under “royalty” –
    Grace-you have a lot of Bible quotes-
    question-
    What did Christ mean when He gave us a direct command to OCCUPY? -
    C-CS-

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    Glad the Founders did not have the attitudes of the Lutherans–or we would still be under “royalty” –
    Grace-you have a lot of Bible quotes-
    question-
    What did Christ mean when He gave us a direct command to OCCUPY? -
    C-CS-

  • Grace

    Carol @ 51 “Grace-you have a lot of Bible quotes-
    question-
    What did Christ mean when He gave us a direct command to OCCUPY? -

    You made the comment much earlier regarding “OCCUPY” – it is only fitting that you answer your own question. The word “occupy” is thrown around as though it’s a secret ‘buz word, I don’t play games with Scripture, when one can read PLAINLY stating the words from the Bible, in context.

    The word “occupy” definition in Strong’s Greek reads:

    to busy oneself with, i.e. to trade:–occupy.

    You have confused the passage, then throwing in Ephesians 6 as well. As you stated: ““Is. 59-God had to put on the Full Armor because his people were don nothing about unjust judges and the shedding of innocent blood–”

  • Grace

    Carol @ 51 “Grace-you have a lot of Bible quotes-
    question-
    What did Christ mean when He gave us a direct command to OCCUPY? -

    You made the comment much earlier regarding “OCCUPY” – it is only fitting that you answer your own question. The word “occupy” is thrown around as though it’s a secret ‘buz word, I don’t play games with Scripture, when one can read PLAINLY stating the words from the Bible, in context.

    The word “occupy” definition in Strong’s Greek reads:

    to busy oneself with, i.e. to trade:–occupy.

    You have confused the passage, then throwing in Ephesians 6 as well. As you stated: ““Is. 59-God had to put on the Full Armor because his people were don nothing about unjust judges and the shedding of innocent blood–”

  • Edison P.

    C-Christian Soldier and Grace are the same person, no?

  • Edison P.

    C-Christian Soldier and Grace are the same person, no?

  • Grace

    Edison P. @53

    LOL, no I’m no where close to “same” – but I bet you’re here to give Carol some help, are you her husband?

  • Grace

    Edison P. @53

    LOL, no I’m no where close to “same” – but I bet you’re here to give Carol some help, are you her husband?

  • Grace

    Edison,

    If you want more “occupy” from CCS try out her comments @37:

    http://www.geneveith.com/2012/10/09/legalism-is-worse-than-liberalism/#comment-166615

  • Grace

    Edison,

    If you want more “occupy” from CCS try out her comments @37:

    http://www.geneveith.com/2012/10/09/legalism-is-worse-than-liberalism/#comment-166615

  • Michael B.

    @Cincinnatus@19

    “Having visited a few black churches (I grew up in the dirty South after all), I can verify the notion that it’s a matter of course that many (certainly not all) black churches are basically and explicitly political organizations in a way that evangelical churches (which I grew up in) have never been–and that’s not even to speak of the “churches” that are essentially fronts for the liberation movement. Don’t mistake me: I have no problem with this except insofar as it arguably transgresses an arbitrary and ridiculous law.”

    From the black churches that I’ve visited, my experience matches yours. (Not to suggest that much of the religious right isn’t in bed with the Republicans, but in these churches it’s far more flagrant.) But back to the point, doesn’t that annoy you? Basically these churches are functioning as a vehicle to get Obama re-elected, and since they’re operating tax-free, you’re paying their taxes for them. I suppose you see it as a necessary evil? — if they had to pay taxes, it’s only a matter of time until your church has to pay taxes.

  • Michael B.

    @Cincinnatus@19

    “Having visited a few black churches (I grew up in the dirty South after all), I can verify the notion that it’s a matter of course that many (certainly not all) black churches are basically and explicitly political organizations in a way that evangelical churches (which I grew up in) have never been–and that’s not even to speak of the “churches” that are essentially fronts for the liberation movement. Don’t mistake me: I have no problem with this except insofar as it arguably transgresses an arbitrary and ridiculous law.”

    From the black churches that I’ve visited, my experience matches yours. (Not to suggest that much of the religious right isn’t in bed with the Republicans, but in these churches it’s far more flagrant.) But back to the point, doesn’t that annoy you? Basically these churches are functioning as a vehicle to get Obama re-elected, and since they’re operating tax-free, you’re paying their taxes for them. I suppose you see it as a necessary evil? — if they had to pay taxes, it’s only a matter of time until your church has to pay taxes.

  • Cincinnatus

    Michael B.@56:

    No, it doesn’t really annoy me all that much. As you suggest, it’s perhaps a necessary evil: we have to accept a few proselytizers to preserve the integrity of free religion.

    But maybe it’s not even evil. The line between simply campaigning for Obama and, say, campaigning against slavery (as in the 19th century) or against abortion is thin and arbitrary, and I don’t think it should be left to the IRS to determine whether what churches are saying is “acceptable.”

  • Cincinnatus

    Michael B.@56:

    No, it doesn’t really annoy me all that much. As you suggest, it’s perhaps a necessary evil: we have to accept a few proselytizers to preserve the integrity of free religion.

    But maybe it’s not even evil. The line between simply campaigning for Obama and, say, campaigning against slavery (as in the 19th century) or against abortion is thin and arbitrary, and I don’t think it should be left to the IRS to determine whether what churches are saying is “acceptable.”


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