WASHINGTON - Scores of houses of worship nationwide are reexamining how they conduct get-out-the-vote programs and other election activities as the Internal Revenue Service investigates religious institutions for illegal campaign activity.
Churches grew more nervous when the IRS launched an investigation of the liberal All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., after a former rector delivered a sermon that was critical of the Bush administration and the Iraq War in 2004. The church last month said it would fight the IRS in court.
With Congressional elections on Tuesday, several religious and voting-rights groups are schooling churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions about what they can and cannot do politically....
"The only issues that pastors need to speak out about is eternal ones, not political ones."
You left out a vital qualification that makes that stmt. untenable. Is abortion only a political issue? Are we to ask the IRS to define what is political & what is not, or hadn't we better consult God's Word? This is precisely the problem with 501C3 tax status.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith... (I Tim 6.10)
Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5.29)
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (II Tim 4.2)
My question is what true preacher would trade his mandate from Almighty God to preach the Word for a tax break? They are errant, if not false, preachers that allow the civil leaders to "buy" their silence with the dangling carrot of a tax break. A preacher has a moral obligation to name the names of those who promote evil from the seats of civil power.
Would John the Baptist have kept silent about Herod for a little cash on side? He lost his head (literally) for the Truth and for righteousness.
Lord, give us preachers who are not covetous and love thy Word.
From the desk of Jay Sekulow, ACLJ (American Center for Law & Justice) "Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel" firstname.lastname@example.org
With election season approaching, it is very important for your pastors to clearly understand the law as they speak out on current issues facing our country.
Since 1954, legislation regarding the Internal Revenue Code has prevented pastors and other clergy from endorsing or supporting candidates for public office.
Basically, the code gives the IRS the right to take away the tax-exempt status of your church if your pastor speaks out on political issues.
Ironically, this silencing of our church leaders goes completely against the desires of our Founding Fathers!
Throughout the Revolutionary War, American pastors preached vehemently from their pulpits against the tyranny of Great Britain and of the desire for a new government.
Recently I sent you an email regarding a letter - that your pastor may have received from Americans United for Separation of Church and State - regarding the IRS code and the threat to your church if it were to be breached.