Thursday, May 14, 2009

IRS Rules in Favor of Traditional Values Advocacy

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While Governor Gregoire has not yet signed SB 5688 which will allow us to begin the referendum process, she has found time to sign a bill that will help bail out the news media. She has signed a bill that substantially reduces the tax liabilities for newspapers and should help them move toward profitability.

IRS Rules in Favor of Traditional Values Advocacy

The IRS has ruled, in a letter to Niemoller Foundation, that the Houston based non-profit organization did not violate its tax-exempt status when it brought together pastors and politicians to champion moral issues during Republican Rick Perry's 2006 re-election campaign for governor.

Many of us have been watching this case with great interest.

While pastors and churches can not directly endorse a specific candidate or spend a substantial, key word, substantial part of their budget on legislative lobbying, they are free to engage, according to this ruling, in political acts on behalf of moral values.

The liberal Texas Freedom Network had filed a complaint with the IRS charging that pastors who were encouraging congregants to get out and vote and be educated on the issues were in effect promoting Rick Perry for Governor. The IRS did not agree.

Lutheran pastor Lawrence White, director of The Niemoller Foundation said, "The IRS has unequivocally affirmed the right of pastors nationwide to come together as spokesmen for the Word of God, to interact with political leaders, historians and scholars in discussing moral issues under debate within our culture, to assert their Biblical responsibility to address such issues from their pulpits."

This is a major victory.

Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network is not happy about the ruling. Intimidation is often used to silence any moral voice that speaks against immorality and for biblical truth. He says he hopes pastors don't think they have too much freedom now.

He also worried out loud that the ruling will, "embolden wealthy special interests to funnel money into non-profits."

I sincerely hope so.

He says he thinks it's sleazy for people of faith to be involved in politics. Ironically, when one of the few liberal pastors or leaders speak in favor of abortion or same-sex marriage, he and others hail their words as inspired and representative of all people of faith. I guess it all depends which side of the issue you stand.

This is a message to all pastors who have had concern about speaking to the issues of our day from a biblical perspective. The message is: Let not you heart be troubled---fear not. This is a victory.

Now that America's pastors know they are free to proclaim the truth of God's Word and speak into our culture from their pulpits---will they?

America's future hangs on that question.

Gary Randall
Faith & Freedom

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