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View Diary: Will We Ever See 'Political' Churches Pay Taxes? (Revised) (240 comments)

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  •  The JFK-RMN election of 1960 was (13+ / 0-)

    an example of religio-politico-agitation. W. A. Criswell, the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, the largest Baptist church in the world at the time, preached from the pulpit and on the radio that electing JFK would lead to the Pope ruling America. He famously signed, with three others as I remember it, a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News warning the world about the dangers of electing JFK.

    By pure coincidence, I shared a suite of dormitory rooms with nine other students, six of whom were training to be ministers. One of those rooms was a natural meeting hall, and every Monday my roommates and other ministers-in-training would meet there to discuss Criswell's sermons and to report on church political activities taking place in their respective hometowns. Most of the towns were in the South, and the reports covered how ministers used their sermons to rail against JFK and told their flocks to write letters to local and regional newspapers.

    Because these meetings were in my rooms, I sat in to listen. From time to time I would talk about the Constitution's prohibition of religious tests for holding public office. My ministerial friends would then remind me that God's law is higher than man's law and that the Constitution was ordained by man, not by God.

    Many Southern Baptist churches clearly were meddling in electoral politics and should have lost their tax exemptions.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 04:06:01 AM PDT

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