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Atheist “attack” actually helping churches fight IRS

Atheist attack actually helping churches fight IRSThe Freedom From Religion Foundation, which frequently attempts to eliminate any vestige of religion from the public square has long had churches in their crosshairs and has now been given the green light to move forward with its lawsuit alleging that the Internal Revenue Service has failed to audit churches whose ministers preach politics from the pulpit.

While the organization may think its actions will cause concern among America’s pastors, the reality is just the opposite is true. The pastors are actually happy with the move, viewing the organization as somewhat of a reluctant ally in their quest to bring this very issue before the court for the past several years.

Every year a group of pastors take part in an initiative sponsored by the Alliance Defending Freedom titled Pulpit Freedom Sunday during which preachers specifically preach a message on what they believe the Bible says regarding current political issues. Following the messages the pastors then inform the IRS of their actions in an attempt to draw the agency to bring a case against one of them.

To date, despite the ministers providing the IRS with clear evidence of what they are doing, the tax agency has yet to open an audit against one of the churches. The pastors believe the reason for this is the agency wants to avoid a confrontation over the 1954 Johnson amendment which has been used to cause some pastors to remain silent on political issues, even if the issues have a direct bearing on commandments in the Bible.

For example, the Bible speaks very plainly in its condemnation of homosexuality. However, same-sex marriage advocates are now attempting to claim that the issue is a political issue and therefore if a minister speaks on issue he is engaging in politics not theology and thus the church should have its tax exempt status stripped.

The IRS attempted to dismiss the FFRF suit, lending credence to the ministers’ claims. However, last week US District Judge Lynn Adelman reinstated the suit.

The ruling was exciting news for Dan Cummins, pastor of Bridlewood Church in Bullard, Texas.

“For the past five years it has been the goal of Alliance Defending Freedom, through its Pulpit Freedom Sunday initiative, to challenge the constitutionality of the Johnson Amendment, which places restrictions upon churches and pastors to exercise their First Amendment rights,” he said.

“To do so, a church must be sued by the IRS, getting the issue into the legal system where it can be challenged – there must be real damages incurred or civil rights violated; it cannot be challenged under hypothetical circumstances. In the past 59 years, the IRS has not sued or revoked the tax-exempt status of any church. Apparently the IRS knows they will lose on the constitutional issue,” said Cummins.

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  1. PhillyChief

    Sep 2, 2013 at 9:17 am

    The actions of the pastors is certainly unconstitutional, so the constitutionality is not the reason why the IRS has not audited any of them. The reason is strictly political. No politician, even a 2nd term President, wants to be connected to what will be inflamed as “an attack on Christianity”.

    The FFRF’s actions are showing just how much politicians fear being viewed as anti-Christian because they’re willing to allow the FFRF to share in the tax breaks churches receive rather than take any of those tax breaks away from the churches. The FFRF is not a church, therefore it does not deserve the same tax breaks as churches, however if a church jumps into the political arena, then they no longer deserve the tax breaks either.

    The FFRF is rightly refusing to accept the tax breaks, and if the pastors had similar integrity, they would refuse them as well. Their stunts are akin to brazen children who know they won’t be punished regardless of their actions.

  2. Corey Mondello

    Sep 2, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    “It is contrary to the principles of reason and justice that any should be compelled to contribute to the maintenance of a church with which their consciences will not permit them to join, and from which they can derive no benefit; for remedy whereof, and that equal liberty as well religious as civil, may be universally extended to all the good people of this commonwealth.”
    ~George Mason, Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776

    Basically, churches want everyone to fund them, even those with a different ideology or theology. Similarly, Thomas Jefferson saw the Puritans forcing Quakers to fund their churches even though had a different ideology and didnt attend the Puritan churches. I do not know if this is before or after the Purutans started lynching Quakers and I don’t know if the law banning Quakers from any position in government had been put into place yet, but you can see how Thomas Jefferson found this “legal” practice abhorrent and put a stop to it. So what I see is, churches get some 70 to 80 billion dollars a year from the taxes ALL Americans pay, this statistic from two recent studies. This comes in the form of green cash, which help the churches lobbyist butter up politicians to get laws passed, and other money comes in different forms like tax right offs. To not see this as any other corporation stealing from the American people is beyond me. As for the homosexual issue, it has been proven many times to have translation inaccuracies, and gay marriage is part of Christian history, as is reincarnation. Though Thomas Jefferson laughed at parts like the virgin birth of Jesus, so much so, he rewrote the bible, removing all supernatural stories. His is the version of the bible that is passed out to all new congress folk, or it was when this was done, I’m not sure if it is, but “google” it if anyone is concerned about my statements. Another thing about conservative Christians, there is no way to make them obey laws, they have the trump card, and are protected by law, as their theocratic forefathers before them made sure of. I personally don’t care what people talk about, but when churches and religious institutions receive any public funds in any form, they should stay out of politics. When they don’t, that’s when I agree with the FFRF people. Most of the founders of the country wanted religion out of politics and politics out of religion, they came from a land where “the church” ruled and they saw that it was not a good way to run a country. Here are a few quotes that back-up my statements, they are not anti-Christian or anti-Religion in any way and pay close attention to who spoke and/or wrote each one:

    “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
    ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814,

    “The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
    ~James Madison, 1819, Writings, 8:432, quoted from Gene Garman, “Essays In Addition to America’s Real Religion”

    “And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”
    ~James Madison, letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822

    “No religious doctrine shall be established by law.”
    ~Elbridge Gerry, Annals of Congress 1:729-731

    “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.”
    ~James Madison; Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations, Ecclesiastical

    “The legislature of the United States shall pass no law on the subject of religion.”
    ~Charles Pinckney, Constitutional Convention, 1787

    “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”
    -Thomas Jefferson: in letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813

    “The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
    ~John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” 1787-1788


    35 Founding Father Quotes Conservative Christians Will Hate

    Stephen D. Foster Jr.
    July 4, 2013

  3. Candy

    Sep 3, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    The Constitution predates the Johnson Amendment, just as churches predate income tax and the IRS. When there are 2 contradictory laws in place, which one should one obey, and which one should one flout? While the pastors are flouting the 1954 law, they are acting within their constitutional rights since the law itself is unconstitutional.
    And no, churches do not want or expect for everyone to fund them. Being exempt from an extra layer of taxes is not akin to being funded. Taking tax dollars from tax payers and giving it to churches would be funding churches. Leaving them tax-exempt as they have been ever since the founding of this country is not.

  4. DaveB

    Sep 3, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Candy, church and religion in total must be the richest, corporation/business in the US and the world. Is it too much to ask that they pay their fair share of taxes, same as us poor folk? Why should they be exempt to the tune of 70-80 BILLION? They certainly “want and expect” the rest of the country to pay more in taxes so that they do not have to. This is something everyone should be in support of.

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