Monday, October 03, 2016

Pastors vs. Speech Police

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For almost 200 years in America, pastors spoke freely and boldly from their pulpit about the issues of the day, including candidates running for political office.

But in 1954, the passage of one piece of legislation effectively overturned this freedom.

Then Senator Lyndon Johnson, in an effort to silence his Christian critics, sneaked through what we know as the Johnson Amendment.

Pulpit Freedom Sunday is a Sunday this month in which thousands of pastors protest the Johnson Amendment and the IRS restrictions and speak freely about politics and political candidates.

Donald Trump has vowed to repeal it if elected.

Trump's vow was received as hope for evangelicals, and disdain by the secular Left---and some religious Left.

MSNBC was particularly critical of the whole idea.

They reported Trump saying, "At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical and religious community in general who have been so good to me and supportive. You have much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits...I'm going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans."

This obviously did not set well with the progressives, with MSNBC and other news organizations lashing out at Trump, pastors and the notion that pastors or churches should directly influence America's elections.

America's heritage casts a very different view of religious freedom, than that of Lyndon Johnson and the far Left.

It was pastors and Christian preachers who led the nation to the Revolution, the framing of our founding documents and provided a moral compass as America prospered and became the most free and prosperous nation in the history of the world.

This month more than 2000 pastors will exercise their religious freedom in the pulpit and speak to the issues of our day---and to the candidates in the upcoming election, in protest to their loss of their personal freedom.

Last Wednesday, Rep. Steve Scalise and Rep. Jody Hice, both Republicans, introduced in the House a bill that would restrict enforcement of the Johnson Amendment against churches and all non-profit organizations.

The website for the initiative states, "The IRS doesn't feed the hungry. The IRS doesn't comfort the hurting. The IRS doesn't heal the broken. A pastor's pulpit should be accountable to God alone, and the future of religious freedom in America depends on it."

Eric Stanley, with Alliance Defending Freedom, says the bill introduced Wednesday "corrects an unconstitutional restriction put in place in 1954 that was never intended to affect churches and other non-profit groups, but has been used to intimidate them ever since."

Trump said last month "...I will repeal the Johnson Amendment if I am elected your president. I promise."

Protestants and Catholics are standing together on this issue.

Archbishop Charles Chaput says, "Government is asking us to render to Caesar what properly belongs to God, and we can't do that."

Father Richard Perozich, St. Mary's Catholic Church in Escondido, CA., says, "In order to promote their ideas over ours, they tell us we must stay in our churches, keep our religion to ourselves, and that the idea of separation of the church from the state trumps any ideas we might have."

Pastor Jim Garlow, Skyline Church, La Mesa, Ca., says, "The Bible says render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's. But Caesar is demanding more and more of what was once considered God's matter."

What do you say?

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Bold. Be Prayerful. Be Free.


  1. "in protest to their loss of their personal freedom."

    Wrong! Personally, they are free to say anything they wish. They just can't do it while in a role the taxpaying public is subsidizing. Get your church off the public subsidies and it can get as political as want, it's that easy.

    1. Whether you agree with the tax status of some churches or not, you are basically saying that one must pay taxes, and not receive any subsidies in order to have free speech. I don't see that in the constitution. These are two separate issues.

    2. Paying taxes ( or not ) shouldn't be the permission slip that allows you to voice your POV.

    3. It's not. You folks are confusing corporate tax restrictions with constitutionally protected rights for individuals. The IRS regulations only apply to the 501c3 organizations, they do not apply to individuals. Most churches are tax exempt because they are registered as 501c3 organizations so their tax exempt status is granted with some guidelines. As long as pastors are acting as individuals, the constitution protects their free speech. But once their speech represents their 501c3 organization (church), it falls under the guidelines applicable to the organization.

    4. First of all, the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations have the same free speech rights as individuals. A group of individuals cannot have less rights simply because they have organized together.
      Secondly, 501c3 organizations, which a high percentage of them are churches, have always been seen as unique from other corporate entities. They provide an incalculable amount of social, and spiritual services to our nations. Historically, churches have been a large part of the political discourse in this nation. It is sad to see the lengths to which adversaries of the church will go in order to silence that (i.e. if you speak your conscience we will penalize you as an organization).

    5. The Supreme Court ruled that some corporations have some free speech rights. Citizens United had no impact on 501c3's. And, yes, they receive public subsidy because of their perceived social contribution. However, when they become political entities, their perceived role has changed. Personally, I have no desire to silence the church. I just don't want my taxes to support any political 501c3 entity.

  2. There is a good argument that "Income Tax" is not Constitutional, and in fact was never properly ratified by the U.S. Congress. Certainly, the founding fathers would never envisioned, nor would they have entertained the notion that threats of taxation could or should be used to control the free speech of any person or organization in America.

    50% of Americans are effectively "exempt" from the requirement to pay income taxes, and some of those actually qualify to receive "payments" from the IRS. Should the IRS not also be entitled to control their public speech?

    We have a collective mentality growing in our Country, perpetrated by useful fools who find some form of self esteem or sense of accomplishment by supporting the mandate that words that "might" offend someone should be disallowed from use. This lays the groundwork for a Totalitarian regime that will punish it's citizens for failing to follow strict speech, and thought guidelines.


    1. It seems to me we are past the point of arguing whether or not the IRS has the power to control speech laws.. I believe the debate should be whether or not the IRS should continue to exist.. anything less is simply supporting their cause.

  3. Our honor, worship, and allegiance belongs to God. Our heart and soul and mind and strength belongs to God. Therefore we will bake our cakes our own way, and not the state's way, for the state is wrong on such things. We have too many in the state who are wrong on such things. This has to change.


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