It seems today that I am finding many blog-worthy topics to discuss. I just read an article posted on Facebook by the The Everlasting GOP Stoppers that discusses Pulpit Freedom Sunday. This is an attempt by a bunch of pastors across the country to bait the IRS into investigating them. Here’s how this works:
Churches enjoy federal tax exemptions. Tax law stipulates that tax-exempt organizations, such as churches, cannot engage in partisan politicking. These churches will preach decidedly partisan sermons, video tape them, and send them to the IRS. This is an effort to bait the IRS into investigating them and offer them an opportunity to challenge the law. The leaders of these churches claim that this law stifles religious liberty and free speech. Here’s why they are wrong.
The law does not say that religious organizations cannot campaign or engage in partisan politics. It doesn’t say that they can’t actively support a particular candidate. What it says is that, if they choose to engage in these activities, they can no longer remain tax exempt. Let’s be clear about tax exempt organizations…being tax exempt is a privilege, not a right.
The real problem I have with this is that these are supposed to be religious leaders. What kind of religious leader will knowingly violate a law when they are being given a gift in their tax exempt status? What does that teach your church members? Take the gifts given to you, but do nothing in return? That’s a pathetic excuse for a religious leader.
If I were the decision maker in this instance, I would use the tapes from these churches and simply revoke the tax exempt status of each organization. No investigation. Why investigate when you have the proof provided by the organization itself? Let them take it to court. They will lose. And they should be ashamed of themselves for this behavior. This is the kind of behavior that gives religion a bad name, and they will have to answer for that someday.