Please note: I've deleted a good portion of the text and title from this diary because it mistakenly conflated and confused 501(c)(4) entities, which are the subject of the Van Hollen lawsuit, with 501(c)(3) church entities. Thanks for bringing the error to my attention, and I apologize for not recognizing it sooner. Deleting was discussed, and decided not to be a good option.
To better explain the actual lawsuit (and reiterate my error - which comes with the territory) please refer to Gary Norton's diary.
If you don't read anything further, or if you can take away one thing, please know Daily Kos is an amazing and credible site. Please don't let my error be a reflection on the wonderful integrity that exists within this community.
I've decided to leave in my personal commentary about political churches, as it's what drove me to write the diary. I look forward to a day of reform:Many churches and organizations under the guise of the Lord, are playing dirty, dirty politics, and much of the public knows it, and is fed up. It's not hard to imagine these same churches are being ‘bought.’ That is their business, but the taxes they should be paying to play politics - is America's business.
For much too long churches have engaged in corrupt manipulation, as they promote political propaganda to their congregation, in the name of God. Come election time, the party agenda is downright blatant as videos are distributed to church members to remind them of the evil-doing Democrats and Liberals, and the saintly pseudo ‘Christian’ Conservatives.
I aspire to Christian beliefs with a dash of Buddhism - meaning I strive to live Christ-like (and I often fail miserably). It disgusts me to see the blasphemous political shenanigans that take place in the churches around this country. These activities have driven me, and many others, from the church. I claim my faith here, because I'd like more people to know there are Christians who are liberals and progressives out there. Not all Christians are what you see in mainstream/social media - and most are as stunned as anyone by the religious extremists who call themselves Christians, while spewing and spinning racist, anti-choice, lbgt-hating bigotry.What you can doFinal Note:
If you don’t feel churches should receive tax-exemptions at all, political or non-political, you can visit the The Freedom of Religion Foundation (FFRF) site. They are working towards exposing and remedying the injustice of church tax-exemption.
If you believe just the political churches should pay taxes, you can make note of the churches in your area that are clearly practicing party agenda. It will become more apparent as midterm election campaigns approach. Visit those churches and perhaps tape some of their sermons. You may find out they are not as political as you thought. But if they are dealing dirty, you can submit those tapes to social/mainstream media, congress members, or the IRS. But do it kindly, truthfully and to create positive change. Remembers the Golden Rule. This is not to squelch a church’s freedom of speech. This is to promote fairness. If Linda Lu working at McDonald’s has to pay taxes on minimum wages, so should the churches who are playing politics. The taxes rightfully paid could help millions of people in need.
If you are part of a church congregation where they preach politics from the pulpit, consider talking with your pastor/priest and expressing your concerns to him or her. Talk with other church members. Or consider finding a new place to worship.
There is always something we can do. Every time we respectfully take a stand against wrong, whether we do it in a big or small way, we are making a difference. We create the laws. We vote in the lawmakers. We become the change we wish to see.
Thank you again to those who helped me in comments and in private, to find the best way to amend my error, without causing subsequent problems to the site. I am revising my other social media, and sending a personal note of apology to Rep. Van Hollen. It's been a day. Special thanks to Adam B, Catte Nappe, Gary Norton, and Frederick Clarkson.
And interesting Facebook group: The Christian Left I'm glad to see groups like this forming, to help with misinformation.
Photo Credit: Village of Joy/20 Most Unusual Churches/Woolennium