Interesting that groups can sue leaders in churches for using their free speech
during an election. Why can someone sue another person that is expressing free
speech? Even in a position of trust or perceived power? Politicians are
allowed to voice their opinion, yet we claim they represent all people
(isn't that a conflict of interest? Do they not hold a position of
trust?).I think religion should be able to voice their opinions
wherever and however they want to. Their charitable work makes up more than
taxing them to death would accomplish.I understand the fear of
religion taking over government. But you could say that about any group,
organization etc.What we should be looking into is overseas money
influencing candidates, politicians and those that are getting sweet stock
deals. Yeah, they passed a law to slap their own hands, but, let's face
it...if you can make millions for a slap on the hand. It's still worth it.
@Liberal TedBecause we have laws against tax exempt organizations like
churches from openly endorsing candidates. That's the same law that leads
to things like the Deseret News not endorsing candidates and the LDS church
explicitly stating that they do not get involved except on certain ballot
initiatives and are neutral with regards to candidates/parties. There are other
churches though that don't stay within these confines.
How about also suing fake "charities" like the American Legislative
Exchange Council. ALEC is not taxed because they have managed to stretch the
laws and set themselves up as a tax exempt charity.And for that
matter, how about suing all those anonymous PACs?
The rule is that you can practice religion in your home and on Sunday, but not
the rest of the week. Now it seems that Sundays are at risk. Is the home next?
Will this "non profit" also pursue the Black churches in the country who
vocally supported Obama from the pulpit? Notice their preference?
morpunkt,Though I am vehemently opposed to the authoritarian efforts
of the federal government in general and the IRS in specific to restrict the
freedom of speech and/or compel citizens and organizations into taxation, this
lawsuit is a contradiction and will therefore go by the wayside. As you've
pointed out, dozens, if not hundreds, of black preachers must have encouraged
their parishioners to re-elect President Obama. As the quintessential G man,
I'm pretty certain he (The President) would love to send the IRS after
churches for more tax revenue. However, that would, at the same time, pose too
much of a threat to his base. My guess is this story will die in another 24-48.
@ casual observer: Where does this have anything to do with practicing
religion?@ morpunkt: Where does it say this group isn't going
after all churches? The name of the group is Freedom From Religion - what about
that implies that they support any religion?The law is very clear -
if you are a tax-free organization, you cannot advocate for a candidate. If you
wish to advocate for a candidate, you need a separate taxable branch that does
the advocating for you. It is not rocket science - it is plain English.That said - the examples provided in this article do not show a clear
violation of the rule, although there is an implied violation. Since all they
are asking is that an investigation be done, it is hard to guess how it will
Religion and politics do not mix. Tax churches and ta-da, problem solved.
Please, the title of the article states that the IRS is being sued, not
churches. Let the courts decide if it is being negligent.
Maudine said,"Since all they are asking is that an investigation
be done, it is hard to guess how it will turn out."I have a
guess. This story will die in a day or two. This threatens the supporting base
of all parties in the recent elections, but most importantly the parties that
won and are currently in power. They'll sweep this under the rug like
they've done with far worse scandals. So be it. You're right that it
is the law, so to speak. However, I have zero interest in upholding what I
consider to be an unconstitutional law. Moreover, I'm STRONGLY opposed to
churches, regardless of what nonsense they spew from their pulpits, being forced
to pay money to a totally corrupt and incompetent federal government.
Organized religion and corporated churchs must be kept out of government and the
public square or the nation will end up with the same social problem as the
middle east nations with radicals and extremist fighting one another for control
and obedience to their paranoic believes.
@atl134Those "laws" are unconstitutional, which
is why the IRS has never even tried to enforce them.We have free
speech in this country regardless if you pay taxes or not. And Religions and the
religious enjoy those rights as well.Do we really want the
government proscribing what can said over the pulpit? IS that not the reason for
the first 9th and 10th amendments? There is nothing which stops the
D-News from endorsing candidates, and there is nothing that stops the church
from endorsing candidates, the church just chooses wisely not to get involved
in politics because politics are not important in regards to eternal salvation.
The church follows the precept that they teach men correct principles and let
men the agency to govern themselves, hopefully following those principles.But the church has every right to interject if they believe it is
necessary, especially in moral issues or issues that may be destructive to
society.God does care about us temporally as well as spiritually.
Ans cares about our liberty. And will give us counsel through personal prayer or
Many Churches are really little more than PACs and MLM schemes.
skeptic,What about non-religious entities? What about our secular
government? So they can disseminate their propaganda, often on the
taxpayers' dime, but churches can't (or they can, they just have to
give up tax free status)? How incredibly injust! How incredibly
I've never understood why religious organizations are given special
treatment in the IRS tax code. The first amendment establishes freedom of
religion, and of the press. Yet, publishing companies are taxed and churches
are not. Why is it that I can get a deduction by donating money to a church,
but not when I donate the money to a political party? By singling out religious
organizations for tax exemption, the government is clearly acting to promote
religion, contrary to the spirit of the first amendment. I suppose it
doesn't rise to the level of "establishment of religion", but it is
clearly special treatment that runs counter to the Enlightenment ideals that led
to the founding of this country.
@ killpack: All tax-free agencies - whether churches or secular organizations -
are held to the same laws pertaining to political advocacy.Anyone
who violates those laws has to give up their tax-free status.It
really is not a conspiracy against churches.
@ The Skeptical Chymist,I disagree. The founders of the USA were not
antireligion, nor did they oppose religion in the public square. It would have
been A-OK with them for government to encourage people to be religious, just not
to encourage a certain religion.
@Ranchhand"Religion and politics do not mix. Tax churches and
ta-da, problem solved."Quite the contrary. Ever hear of "No
Taxation Without Representation"? Tax churches and these restrictions are no
longer in place. That would give a "green light" for churches to be more
influenced in politics, not less.
The complaint that a tax exemption amounts to promotion of religion has been
specifically addressed by SCOTUS:"The grant of a tax exemption
is not sponsorship, since the government does not transfer part of its revenue
to churches, but simply abstains from demanding that the church support the
state. No one has ever suggested that tax exemption has converted libraries, art
galleries, or hospitals into arms of the state or put employees 'on the
public payroll.' There is no genuine nexus between tax exemption and
establishment of religion." Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York
(1970).Laws specifically shielding churches from taxation have been
around since the late 1800s, but unofficially the shield has always been there.
It's axiomatic in American law that "the power to tax is the power to
destroy." Under that bedrock principle, taxing churches gives the
government the power to penalize or shut down churches, a clear limitation of
the free ezpression of religion.The specific line-drawing on this
issue remains hazy, but the principle of separating church and state has always
included tax exemption. Anyone advocating its removal has 200+ years of
jurisprudence and public policy to overcome.
Maudine said,"All tax-free agencies - whether churches or
secular organizations - are held to the same laws pertaining to political
advocacy."Kathleen Sebelius campaigned for Obamacare on the
taxpayers dime. The media didn't even blink an eye. Why shouldn't
churches be able to campaign with their own money? I hope this story dies a
quick and painless death.
I'm curious to know, does the Freedom from Religion Foundation pay taxes?
If not, then why the complaint? If they succeed in causing churches to pay
taxes, then is the Freedom from Religion Foundation also prepared to pay taxes?
Why should churches be silenced from the public square, while those against
religion should be allowed to continue to speak out against religion?But I agree with Utes Fan. If churches must be taxed, then they then will
have all the more right to represent themselves within the realm of politics
over topics they are concerned about. Those against religion
don't have to practice any religion. Many might encourage you to
participate, but no one is forcing you. So, why prevent others from worshiping
if they choose to worship? But it seems those against religion won't be
happy until no one is able to worship as those who choose to worship desire to
@RanchHand"Religion and politics do not mix. Tax churches and
ta-da, problem solved."Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. You notice
it is Congress, the law makers that the first amendment puts the restrictions on
but there is no restriction of religion to give its input on government policy
or even endorsing a politician. Threatening to take away a tax exempt status
from a religious body is prohibiting the free exercise thereof. So where is this
separation of Church and State that some people claim exists in the
"the power to tax is the power to destroy."John Marshall, chief
justiceIf the government can tax religion...
1. As I understand it there is no law, passed by congress, prohibiting churches
from endorsing candidates. LBJ signed an executive order to that effect and the
IRS has been tasked to enforce it. Unconstitutional in my book.2.
Labor Unions have forced membership and forcibly extract dues, usually by
payroll deduction. People join and donate to churches voluntarily.3.
Labor Unions newsletters are usually overtly political. Church publications
almost never are.4. Labor Unions effectively donate to only one
political party. I am a conservative Republican. I am forced to join a labor
union or my union will demand that my employer fire me. My union dues are used
almost excursively to finance political causes that I oppose.Why can
a labor union (a tax exempt corporation) steel my money and use it to promote
things that I oppose and my church that I voluntarily join and donate to cannot
use my money for political causes that I support?Labor Unions are
effectively tax collectors for the Democrat Party.
Rock. It goes further than that.Any corporation can now donate an
unlimited amount of money to a political pac. So, every stockholder is
"forced" to go along with the political leanings of the company
management.I am opposed to all money in politics. Corporate, union,
lobby? Are you against all money or just union money?Ready to fight
against the Citizens United Ruling?
Not allowing non-profits to have tax exempt status if they engage in political
speech was a policy promoted, implemented and used by LBJ - because he wanted to
silence non-profits that were criticizing himIts all about
censorshipThe Freedom From Religion foundation is a close relative
of the Freedom From Jews foundation - they are the problem
@ Maudine. Regulating what can be said from the pulpit violates three clauses of
the First Amendment: Speech, Establishment, and Free Exercise.
The founders stated that Liberty and Freedom (democratic-republic) was a
political system only fit for the moral AND religious individual and not for
anyone else because they knew all other individuals would eventually destroy
themselves or the country with the misuse of that Liberty and Freedom. The key
is AND in the statement above. Doesn't cut it to be religious and not
moral or moral and not religious. It sets a high bar for the individual member
of society to be the very best that they can be.
@frugalflyI have never found that those who claim to be religious
show any higher sense of morality or ethics than those who are not religious; on
the other hand I have detected a significant amount of condescension among those
who consider themselves superior because of their religious views. What matters
is that individuals in a society (and especially the leaders of that society) be
ethical, honest, and worthy of trust. These attributes have been considered by
many to be the result of a religious outlook, but I think these claims are
overblown. There are just as high a fraction of scoundrels among the religious
as among those who lack religion, and just as high a fraction of commendable
individuals among the irreligious as among those who are religious. Personally,
I don't care how religious or irreligious a person may be. What matters is
how he/she conducts himself and interacts with his/her fellow humans. The rest