PULPIT FREEDOM SUNDAY — OCT. 7
- personal responsibility
- unselfishness and being “other centered”
- traditional marriage
- natural consequences of our decisions (story of the Prodigal Son)
- II Thess. 3:10 – “If you don’t work, you don’t eat”
- importance of ministering to the orphans and widows
- I Corin. 6:19-20 – “the body as the temple of God”
- Matt. 7:12 – “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” (difference between reciprocal ministry vs. Socialism)
- Debt and borrowing — Proverbs 22:7 — (1) “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” (2) Psalm 37:21– “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.”
Next, these pastors need to lay out examples and evidence of each Presidential candidate’s views on the above-mentioned political issues. Voters are then free to vote the way they see fit after being informed about what the Bible says and the positions taken by each Presidential candidate.
This approach allows pastors the opportunity to teach Biblical principles, to exercise their First Amendment rights, and yet to be non-partisan in the pulpit.
Pastors must not be afraid to speak out and observe Pulpit Freedom Sunday, October 7.
Pastors pledge to defy IRS, preach politics from pulpit ahead of election
Published September 19, 2012
More than 1,000 pastors are planning to challenge the IRS next month by deliberately preaching politics ahead of the presidential election despite a federal ban on endorsements from the pulpit.
The defiant move, they hope, will prompt the IRS to enforce a 1954 tax code amendment that prohibits tax-exempt organizations, such as churches, from making political endorsements. Alliance Defending Freedom, which is holding the October summit, said it wants the IRS to press the matter so it can be decided in court. The group believes the law violates the First Amendment by “muzzling” preachers.
“The purpose is to make sure that the pastor — and not the IRS — decides what is said from the pulpit,” Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the group, told FoxNews.com. “It is a head-on constitutional challenge.”
Stanley said pastors attending the Oct. 7 “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” will “preach sermons that will talk about the candidates running for office” and then “make a specific recommendation.”
“We’re hoping the IRS will respond by doing what they have threatened,” he said. “We have to wait for it to be applied to a particular church or pastor so that we can challenge it in court. We don’t think it’s going to take long for a judge to strike this down as unconstitutional.”
An amendment was made to the IRS tax code in 1954, stating that tax-exempt organizations are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”
“Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise tax,” the IRS says in its online guide for churches and religious organizations seeking tax exemption.
Stanley and others, like San Diego pastor Jim Garlow, say the IRS regularly threatens churches that they will lose their tax-exempt status if they preach politics. But Stanley and Garlow claim the government never acts on the threat because it wants to avoid a court battle.
“It is blatantly unconstitutional,” said Stanley. “They just prefer to put out these vague statements and regulations and enforce it through a system of intimidation … Pastors are afraid to address anything political from the pulpit.”
“The IRS will send out notices from time to time and say you crossed the line,” added Garlow, a senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego. “But when it’s time to go to court, they close the case.”
A spokeswoman for the IRS did not comment on the matter and instead referred all inquiries to the government’s online handbook.
Garlow and other pastors say their concerns over the code extend well beyond the law.
“I’m very concerned about the spiritual side of this,” Garlow told FoxNews.com. “There’s a phenomenon occurring in America and that’s a loss of religious liberty.”
“If I would have said 50 years that ‘Tearing up a baby in the womb is a bad thing,’ people would have said ‘Of course it is,’” Garlow said. “But If I said that today, people would say ‘Pastor, you’re being too political.”