FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor says, "This is a victory, and we're pleased with this development..."
The atheist organization has filed a suit demanding the IRS investigate those churches that participate in "Pulpit Freedom Sunday."
In settling the suit, the IRS has promised to investigate the churches that participate in "Pulpit Freedom Sunday."
So what is Pulpit Freedom Sunday?
It's a designated Sunday where a growing number of pastors across the nation speak to the cultural issues on subjects that the atheists and many government entities believe to be "too political" and violate the Johnson Amendment of 1954.
The Johnson Amendment amended the IRS code---without debate and passed by a voice vote, to restrict the speech of certain non-profit entities, including churches.
Johnson's amendment states that non profit tax-exempt entities can not "participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.
Many feel, myself included, this amendment is unconstitutional.
It is well known and well documented that Lyndon Johnson got his colleagues to pass this amendment to "get back" at two non profit organizations that had vocally opposed his reelection to the Senate. Neither were religious organizations, however, the result of this amendment has devastated our country and culture as too many churches have now become silent on moral issues as they relate to the culture.
The resulting silence is deafening. Our country and culture has lost its way as a result.
The IRS seized the opportunity of the amendment and it has been used since 1954 to silence churches.
However, things are changing. Some are breaking their silence. And it's a growing number.
Pulpit Freedom Sunday this year is October 5th.
Dr. Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church, La Mesa, California has made a 3-minute video which answers whether Christians---churches and members, should get involved in what is often referred to as "politics."
To the many pastors who read this column--I strongly encourage you to consider joining this Pulpit Freedom Sunday.
Church members, encourage your pastor to take a stand and speak to the issues of our day by joining with pastors all across the nation on October 5.
This link provides access to 3 other links that can be helpful in participating or even considering it. When you reach the home page for Pulpit Freedom Sunday, notice "Sign Up," "Tell Me More," and "Preach It,"---all very helpful links.
Alliance Defending Freedom initiated this Sunday several years ago. Included in the links above is careful guidance from ADF.
Last year, 1223 churches participated. This is a list (by state) of the churches and pastors who took a stand last year.
This is why Annie Laurie Gaylor says, "This is a victory."
Incidentally, the other co-president of FFRF is Annie's husband, who is a former evangelical pastor and evangelist.
The IRS is presently restricted from any investigative actions due to the Congressional hearing that is under way into the IRS targeting conservative groups.
Although not necessarily "illegal," it was not popular with the King (and many local pastors) for preachers to speak out on the moral issues of the day in America's early years.
Apathy had joined the ranks of the faithful. And it was comfortable to be silent---and relate to the culture.
Thank God there were those men of courage who took a stand and were not silent.
There is strong evidence that the biblical preaching of those associated with the Great Awakening of the 1700s led to America having the courage to declare our independence in 1776 and fight a war that most, including those in England, believed we could not win.
Yes, I believe in destiny and American exceptionalism.
The only hope for America today is another spiritual awakening. A cultural and political restoration can then follow and our land "will be healed."
Nothing much will likely happen in regard to the IRS "promise" to the atheists until the Congressional hearing is completed and restrictions are lifted on the IRS.
We will keep you informed.
For some, this will affirm that they should "not" speak to the issues from the pulpit---that they should remain silent.
For others, it will be a "call" to do so.
ADF Senior Counsel Erik Stanley, who heads up Pulpit Freedom Sunday, says no one should be asking a pastor to give up his constitutionally protected freedom of speech because he is a pastor.
This is a time to stand strong in the faith, and support those leaders who do take a stand.
Be Courageous. Be Bold. Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Pro-Active. Be Wise. Be Blessed.