Skip to comments.For Free Speech, Give Up Your Tax Exempt Status
Posted on 09/24/2011 10:39:35 AM PDT by Kaslin
When thinking of cruel and unusual punishment, weve grown accustomed to thinking of torture or similarly brutal treatment at the hands of police interrogators and/or agents of the State. But we would do ourselves a service by broadening our horizons a bit and considering the fact that a denial of our natural, God-given rights even apart from any subsequent physical abuse is both cruel and unusual.
Cruel, because it is tantamount to denying us a part of our humanity, and unusual, because denying someone a part of their own humanity is not the usual sort of thing we should be doing.
Yet it remains a fact that every Sunday, when pastors in America ascend the pulpit, they face the cruel and unusual prospect of exchanging their natural, God-given right to free speech for a government-ordained lexicon (if they want to keep their tax-exempt status).
This is befuddling to say the least.
For no one would suggest a pastor give up his churchs tax-exempt status if he wants to keep his constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment or illegal search and seizure. (Even if they thought it, few would actually voice the words.) Or imagine how preposterous it would be for the government to tell a church, If you dont want to quarter troops in your church building, its simple: just give up your tax-exempt status. Yet this is precisely what groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State ask churches to do when they tell pastors, Hey, if you want to exercise your First Amendment right to free speech, just give up your tax-exempt status.
Heres the problem they hope you wont see: No government-recognized status can be conditioned upon the surrender of a constitutionally protected right. And thats why ADF started Pulpit Freedom Sunday: to get the government out of the pulpits of America.
It is wrong, both morally and civically, for the government to tell pastors they can have a tax-exempt status for their church so long as they dont say anything from the pulpit which the government doesnt condone. And make no mistake, those are the parameters the Johnson Amendment (1954) places on pastors throughout the land.
The Johnson Amendment was created by then-Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was seeking a way to silence those opposed to his re-election efforts. The amendment prohibits non-profit organizations (including churches) from doing anything to support or oppose a candidate for office.
The enforcement arm for the Johnson Amendment is the IRS. This means the very agency that oversees tax exempt entities is given the power to take such status away from churches if their pastors dont comport with government mandates.
The First Amendment applies to all Americans, even to pastors. And on October 2, 2011, we encourage pastors around the country to stand up against governmental overreach and constitutional infringement, and exercise the constitutional rights they have always had to talk about how various political candidates match up with Biblical principles.
I've been saying this for my church for years but so far I'm a lone voice crying in the wilderness.
“cruel and unusual punishment”
Cruel and unusual punishment is rampant in the ‘family court’ system. Males are constantly abuse and punished for just not being smart. Child support payments are currently being challenged by the economy where unemployed fathers cannot pay and end up behind bars as in third-world debtor prisons.
Obama’s jobs are for the women and minorities.
None of this applies to black churches anyway. Democrats always campaign from the pulpits of black churches.
I do not think churches should have tax exempt status. It is a way for the government to have their boots on the throats of the pastors and other church leaders.
The minute you register your church with the government for any “status” you are asking for trouble.
Also we inform you that it shall not be lawful to impose tax, tribute, or custom on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, Nethinim, or servants of this house of God.
I suppose I could have put it in one reply, instead of three but here’s another one anyway.
My Pastor is conservative and outspoken, even in the pulpit. I tell him that big daddy gov is going to crack down on him one of these days and he tells me that when that happens he will preach the gospel from jail. There’s an easier way, give up that tax exempt status and say anything you please.
I know everyone is not going to agree with that but remember, I’m only speaking about my church, not yours and as noted earlier, it’s not going anywhere in my church.
Too bad it doesn’t work that way for labor unions.
Yep, suck at the government’s teat and abide by the government’s rules to keep the milk flowing. At least if you happen to be a white/conservative church.
There is a tremendous difference between religious liberty and religious toleration. Until the last century, our civil government recognized and behaved as if our churches enjoyed a co-sovereignty in the land, meaning churches were not beholden to the state for their existence. A church's tax-exemption (even without a 501(c)3 filing) was an assumed status made by both parties, because the civil government recognized that a church owed it's taxes to another Lord, and not to the civil government itself.
Today, however, the civil government decrees that it can award or withhold tax exemption to churches, based upon the terms of the 501(c)3 rules. This is not liberty - this is toleration. If a church becomes intolerable to the government, the government can tax it or even seize it's property. In practice, the civil government behaves as if it is God, demanding tithes from all in exchange for sustenance.
It is my belief that all Trinitarian churches should enjoy an automatic tax-free status with the civil government. Then again, it's also my belief that the civil government should formally declare the Lord Jesus Christ as it's sovereign head, and not tax it's citizenry any more than 10%. If the civil government insists on behaving as if it is God, then I'm in favor of churches appeasing it with tax monies in exchange for avoiding conflicts re "free speech rights".
I don’t think labor unions should have tax exempt status.
All that being said in America churches have never been subject to taxation even without a piece of paper that declares a 501c3 status. To do so is to tax a tithe that belongs to God and His church, not His magistrate. The monies offered are not a comercial exchange, but an offering to God for the advancement of His kingdom.
The Johnson Amendment is on my hit list for the next administration. It is a ridiculous for the government to have jurisdiction over the speech of our pastors and our churches.
Rescinding your status as a non-profit extremely expensive for churches and it is nearly impossible to do successfully.
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