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It is about time someone sued the IRS for not enforcing electioneering restrictions on churches.  Too bad it had to be an anti-religion group. As a lifelong Christian who has often explained the faith in this forum, I am embarrassed when all the issues that face us as Americans are reduced to two: abortion and gay marriage.  I was upset when so-called Christians "warn" other Christians that no true Christian would vote for Obama.  I was horrified when so-called Christians recommended rounding up American Muslims and putting them in camps "for their own safety."  Did we learn nothing from the interment of the Japanese?  I was offended when certain so-called Christian leaders imply that true Christians must stop using the brain God gave them, and simply adopt a "party platform."  (An aside: I am similarly offended when political leaders do the same thing).

Billy Graham is entitled to his opinion as an American citizen, and he is entitled to express it, as is every other pastor, priest or layperson. Years ago, James Dobson website used to tell viewers who to vote for by name.  They got in trouble for that, and switched to telling viewers to "vote their values," thinly veiled endorsements that fooled no one.  If Billy Graham wants to endorse a candidate, he theoretically should be able to as a private citizen.  But maybe he gave up being a private citizen a long time ago.  And when is a political endorsement electioneering?  

To simply say,"I endorse John Doe because ....."  may be fine. If it is not, then most entities, not just churches, will have to stop making endorsements.  Forthe record, churches are not the only nonprofits that make endorsements, so we also have to wonder why churches are especially targeted.  On the other hand, even if endorsements are fine, it is beyond the pale to go further than that and imply eternal judgment.

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Comment Preferences

  •  FWIW, many people do not understand that (5+ / 0-)

    the Constitution is addressed to the behavior of agents of government and the amendments prohibit certain actions on their part, presumably those that agents of government are likely to take. The ultimate object may be to guarantee the rights of certain segments of the population, but that's really wishful thinking. It's not possible to guarantee that anyone won't behave badly. Besides that, the amendments in particular contain almost no remedies for violations. That agents of government can't use illegally collected information to convict a miscreant is hardly a deterrent, especially if the agents are out to exact submission, rather than promote justice.
    In any event, a prohibition on an agent of government is not a prohibition on a church. But, letting them use money and public services without making a comparable contribution of money in turn doesn't make much sense either. Money is a commodity. Those who use it as a matter of routine, should give back a portion of what they get.
    We keep religion separate because the state should not be involved in sectarian matters. During the colonial era state officials were tasked with supervising the parishes and it proved very divisive, and time consuming.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:10:42 AM PST

  •  About damn time. (7+ / 0-)

    The Republican "Wink and Nod" mentality towards blatant violations of Church and State need to be addressed.

    If the IRS won't do their goddamn job with regards to blatant public violations, they shouldn't have any grounds whatsoever to go after the poor for penny ante tax audits.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:10:42 AM PST

  •  Just so I'm clear (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ItsSimpleSimon, marykk

    Did you have any problem with the mammoth "Souls to the Polls" effort from African-American religious leaders in Florida and other states to get churchgoers to early voting locations on Sundays?

  •  league of women voters never endorse (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nchristine, wader, Lujane

    a candidate but have positions on issues and advocate for them openly.  this is a non-profit group, but when they have a voter education project that doesn't take sides on issues, it has a different tax status.  the donors to the Ed fund can get a tax deduction for their donation.  the donors to regular lwv do not get to write that off. so I guess that's really the issue, if advocating/ lobbying by churches with funds that are tax-deductible by the donor rather than funds donated without a 'kickback' in the form of reducing tax burdens of the donor.  

    I'm not an expert. I'm just telling you of the 2 kinds of non-profits that I've experienced.

    sometimes I spend more time reading the comments than the diaries. no offense to diarists: thanks for the launch pad.

    by dunnjen on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:19:01 AM PST

  •  FFRF surely is about separation - church/state (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, gramofsam1

    they are not explicitly anti-religion.

  •  Immigration reform (0+ / 0-)

    So when Catholic Churches and Latino evangelical Protestant churches and even the Mormon Church advocate in favor of immigration reform, the government should sue them, right?

  •  hooray; I have posted before about local preacher (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, Lujane

    who was audited by IRS and owes $30K.  Backstory is he got a degree from Covington Seminary in GA, which has been identified as a diploma mill.  At least one minister has been fired for presenting a doctoral degree from this unaccredited institution and a former dean was arrested for child molestation.  At last check the administration is largely family members of the founding minister.

    IRS disallowed educational deductions from this institution though the SBC refuses to condemn those who tout their PhDs from this institution and at least one former SBC president presented such credentials.

    Local minister is now threatening lawsuit against IRS for disallowing deductions.

    I am glad to see some pushback against religious institutions and individuals abusing our tax code
     

  •  What was the cause of action? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    I'm thinking perhaps one of the ancient writs?  A Qui Tam, perhaps? Or a mandamus?

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 11:15:05 AM PST

  •  no standing. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    I'm a member of FFRF, but this will get dismissed right away.  and there were some typos in the complaint, IIRC (read it a few days ago) which I find horribly embarrassing.

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