Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Reclaiming Pastor's Free Speech Rights

This is certainly good news!

ADF announces new initiativeto reclaim pastors’ First Amendment rights

New effort challenges intimidation tacticsof organizations that use IRS to silence pastors

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Alliance Defense Fund announced a new initiative Friday that will challenge the tactics of groups that use the Internal Revenue Service to intimidate churches and pastors into silence on important issues of the day.

“Pastors have a right to speak about biblical values from the pulpit without fear of punishment. No one should be able to use the government to intimidate pastors into giving up their constitutional rights,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “The government can’t demand that a church give up its right to tax-exempt status simply because the pastor exercises his First Amendment rights in the pulpit. Groups like Americans United intentionally trigger IRS investigations that will silence churches through fear, intimidation, and disinformation.”

The new initiative will equip, protect, and defend pastors who wish to exercise their First Amendment right to openly discuss the positions of political candidates and other moral and social issues from the pulpit. Participating pastors across the country will deliver a sermon along these lines in their own churches Sept. 28.

Prior to 1954, churches were free to evaluate the positions of political candidates on moral issues without fear of the Internal Revenue Service revoking their tax-exempt status. That year, then-Senator Lyndon Johnson amended the tax code to add the threat of IRS action against churches if their pastors mentioned the positions of specific candidates from the pulpit. Citing that rule, groups like AU have repeatedly threatened to report churches to the IRS if they speak out on such issues.

Many tax-exempt organizations are permitted to evaluate candidates’ positions based on the values important to those groups. Organizations which are tax-exempt but do not have the same speech restrictions the IRS places on churches include civic leagues; labor, agricultural, or horticultural associations; business leagues; chambers of commerce; real estate boards; boards of trade; professional football leagues; clubs organized for pleasure, recreation, and other nonprofit purposes; fraternal beneficiary societies; and cemeteries.

“The intimidation of churches by leftist groups using the IRS has grown to a point that ADF has no choice but to respond,” said Stanley. “The number of threats being reported to ADF is growing because of the aggressive campaign to unlawfully silence the church. IRS rules don’t trump the Constitution, and the First Amendment certainly trumps the Johnson amendment.”

Pastors who want to learn more or who wish to be considered for participation in Pulpit Freedom Sunday Sept. 28 can visit Tell ADF.org Church. [Note: Watch the short video at that link!]

ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.

telladf.org

9 comments:

Repack Rider said...

Wow, thanks for pointing out how loony the Alliance Defense people are.

This is a good argument for NO churches having any form of tax exemption. Why make the government decide what is a church? Is Scientology a real church, or a criminal enterprise masquerading as one?

Would Jesus' ministry have been granted an exemption? I think not. He didn't own a building or have any formal structure to His ministry. And even He said, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's..."

The real losers here are the poor taxpayers like you and me who have to pay for the fire and police protection, the roads and sewers enjoyed by untaxed churches.

So I presume we are in agreement with Jesus here. Tax everyone the same ("Render unto Caesar...") and let everyone have the same rights to political speech.

Problem solved.

Christinewjc said...

Loony? What's so loony about attempting to get back what was once allowed under our Constitution? Why should a former senator like Johnson have the power to change the law like that?

Article:

Prior to 1954, churches were free to evaluate the positions of political candidates on moral issues without fear of the Internal Revenue Service revoking their tax-exempt status. That year, then-Senator Lyndon Johnson amended the tax code to add the threat of IRS action against churches if their pastors mentioned the positions of specific candidates from the pulpit. Citing that rule, groups like AU have repeatedly threatened to report churches to the IRS if they speak out on such issues.

We have reaped a whole host of awful developments and moral depravities because of the gag order placed on pastors in the pulpit.

It's amazing to me that the radical liberal leftist so-called "pastors" (like "Rev." Wrong - a.k.a. Wright) gets away with spewing hateful political propaganda from his pulpit, but a pastor who speaks about the sin of homosexual behavior would be silenced by so-called "hate" crimes laws.

Where was Barry Lynn and his AU group during this entire Rev. Wrong debacle? Where was the ACLU? Didn't hear a peep from them...did we. Know why? Because they happen to agree with Wright's ideology. Therefore, his political speech wasn't attacked by them.

What is wrong with this picture?

Politics is already involved in the churches. Trouble is, it is one-sided.

The rest of your argument doesn't hold water, either. Did you comprehend the fact that other organizations enjoy tax exemption yet do not have their free speech rights taken away?

Article:

Many tax-exempt organizations are permitted to evaluate candidates’ positions based on the values important to those groups. Organizations which are tax-exempt but do not have the same speech restrictions the IRS places on churches include civic leagues; labor, agricultural, or horticultural associations; business leagues; chambers of commerce; real estate boards; boards of trade; professional football leagues; clubs organized for pleasure, recreation, and other nonprofit purposes; fraternal beneficiary societies; and cemeteries.


Repack Rider wrote:

The real losers here are the poor taxpayers like you and me who have to pay for the fire and police protection, the roads and sewers enjoyed by untaxed churches.

Your arguments continue to just get weaker! Let me demonstrate by tweeking and changing your logic:

"The real winners here are all taxpayers like you and me who have the choice to contribute to churches in order to help the poor, downtrodden, and millions of people who are emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually in need of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord."

Not having any of our church donations going to the government is a HUGE PLUS in my book.

Christinewjc said...

Speaking of pastors having the free speech right to state Bible verse - which state unequivocally that homosexual behavior is sinful - tomorrow the CA Supreme Court will hand down it's decision on whether or not to overturn Proposition 22 (which was voted on by the people in 2000 to recognize that marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman in CA) and allow homosexual "marriage."

Knowing how liberal the members of the court are, I would not be a bit surprised if they decide to ignore and trump the votes of 60% of the people in order to push their own ideological agreement with those proponents of same-sex "marriage" on the public in this state.

I pray that Prop. 22 ISN'T overturned, but I fear that this liberal leftist court will not be able to resist the opportunity to do so.

If they do such a thing, it may be "legal" in CA to "marry" a person of the same sex; but it will NEVER BE MORALLY RIGHT IN THE EYES OF GOD. God's laws DO NOT CHANGE!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should move to a theocratic country living under "God's Laws". I hear Iran is BEAUTIFUL this time of year.

Carlotta Morrow said...

It's done Christine. It's been overturned and now it will be legal for gays to marry in California!

Now I wonder how that will affect the Pastor's and their refusal to marry someone because they're gay! And how that will affect their free speech to say that it's even a sin! The ADF is a group very much needed to help protect our pastors more than ever now!

Here we go in California!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow Carlotta. You need a refresher course on American government. This ruling ONLY impacts the Family Code. IT DOES NOT AFFECT FREE SPEECH. Every group from the KKK to the ADF can continue to say whatever they want. Isn't freedom great!!?!

Carlotta Morrow said...

Ya' know anony, we do have the freedom of speech available. But I know because of our "hate crime" laws and now gay marriage laws, that freedom may be taken away and soon!

How many pastors will be able to preach after they're sued for refusing to marry gay couples? How many will be free to speak then?

This just opens a huge list of possibilities...but we'll see.

I've just heard that this gay marriage ban will be taken before the people of California. That should make it a done deal because as liberal as California is, it doesn't want to have gay marriage legal.

Christinewjc said...

Hi Carlotta,

Check out my new post on this subject.

CA Extreme Cts Shameful Decision

Anonymous,

How tolerant of you to suggest that I move to Iran. What's the matter? Can't change everyone's mind towards your perverted utopia of Sodom and Gomorrah licentiousness, so you just recommend that they leave the country? How magnanimous of you! /sarcasm

Carlotta is right. There are radical homosexual groups clamoring to get "hate crimes/speech" laws passed which will inevitably result in silencing pastors (under the threat of jail if violated) in the pulpit who speak against the unnatural practice of homosexual activity. A passage of such a law may even criminalize pastors who use specific Bible verses that condemn homosexual behavior in discussions on morality, holiness, and righteousness in the lives of Christian believers.

Don't think such a thing could happen? It happened to Pastor Ake Green in Sweden!

When judges choose to legislate from the bench (which is un-Constitutional) all sorts of evils (such as baby-killing) can be unleashed upon our country.

Freedom is only great when it is not taken in the direction of licentiousness. Abortion, the Texas sodomy ruling, and now homosexual "marriage" are only three of the most egregious immoralities that have been imposed upon Americans and have sent our nation spiraling even more quickly down a cesspool of sludge.

You, Anonymous, may not find reasons to object to living in such a filthy cesspool of moral depravity. But I do. And I will use my voice, as long as I can, to to counter people like you and stand for Jesus.

Anonymous said...

"You, Anonymous, may not find reasons to object to living in such a filthy cesspool of moral depravity. But I do. And I will use my voice, as long as I can, to to counter people like you and stand for Jesus."

And our shared democracy will ensure that your ideology goes into the dustbin. Isn't democracy great?

And again, modifying a criminal statute on assault, such as with hate crime laws, CANNOT affect speech. I don't know how many times this needs to be said for you to understand it. Comparing American hate crimes laws with a country that does not have free speech guarantees (such as Sweden) is a terribly false analogy.

And my suggestion to move to Iran was entirely serious. They have a theocratic government that enforces their religious values onto their population. That seems just what you are looking for. Would you like some apartment listings in Tehran?