Tenn. Church Bullied by Liberal Group to Shut Up or Else

Godfather Politics

According to a Christian Post article, Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AC) “is calling on the Internal Revenue Service to look into allegations that Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., is violating restrictions for posting a link to a pro-family organization on its website.” What restrictions? The First Amendment does not prohibit churches from speaking out on any issue. The amendment is so clear that the people at AU almost never cite it:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Notice that the prohibition is directed at Congress, our nation’s national law-making body. It can’t establish a religion and it can’t prohibit the free exercise of religion. Here’s what Rob Boston, Communications Director with AU, had to say: “A church cannot link or direct people to an organization telling people how to vote. . . . All nonprofits, including churches, cannot endorse or oppose candidates. The IRS does warn nonprofits about linking to campaign-related websites.” To prohibit a church from linking to any site for any reason is a violation of the First Amendment. Notice that the First Amendment gives everybody, churches included, to speak about religion, write about religion, congregate about religion, and “petition the government for a redress of grievances,” the very thing this church is trying to do and Mr. Boston says it can’t do.

To say it bluntly and boldly, Mr. Boston is lying. His goal is to intimidate pastors and churches. No church has ever lost its tax-exempt status for speaking out on issues or endorsing candidates, and he knows it.

Former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson warned churches not to speak out on political issues. He claimed that churches that violate IRS regulations could lose their tax-exempt status and be forced to pay a ten percent excise tax on all donations. I would like to see the IRS try to defend the position in court based on the First Amendment. It can’t be done, and Mr. Boston knows it. Notice that Mr. Boston cites the IRS, not the First Amendment.

Intimidating churches has been going on for a long time. Barry Lynn, Executive Director of AU, has been monitoring the content of Sunday sermons since 2004. If these self-appointed snitches don’t like what they hear, that is, if what a pastor says is “too political” and contrary to a liberal political agenda, they will send video and audio tapes to the IRS for investigation. The goal, of course, is to get a church’s tax-exempt status revoked, something the IRS has never done. A 2006 IRS report on the subject was designed to strike fear into pastors who are already intimidated by a threat of an audit.

Read more: Church Bullied by Liberal Group to Shut Up or Else | Godfather Politics http://godfatherpolitics.com/1207/church-bullied-by-liberal-group-to-shut-up-or-els/#ixzz1ZQUvb6Vd