Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pulpit Freedom Sunday last straw. Tax Churches, let Radicalized Churches Politicize Religion.

Check out this great report on a quiet little program on PBS, Religion and Ethics News Weekly. The agreement churches made with the government to stay out of politics, in exchange for tax exempt status, is being broken by a few radical conservative pastors. Perhaps it's is time to have them pay taxes like everyone else, and allow these churches to turn religion into an extension of a political party. What an odd end to religion:

Thom Hartmann wrote this in his daily email:
Churches Ignore Separation of Church And State: More than 1,000 religious leaders across the nation have decided to take a wrecking ball to the wall separating church and state. The Conservative group "Alliance Defending Freedom" has scheduled what they are calling "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" for October 7th, when church leaders across America will devote their sermons to the election and campaign on behalf of a political candidate.

According to I.R.S. law, churches enjoy tax-exempt status so long as they don't participate in political campaigns on behalf or against any particular candidate. Those church leaders also plan to send video of their political sermons to the I.R.S., in hopes of triggering a legal case that could strike down laws against their tax-exempt political activity.

Let's face it, today, many churches have been turned into very lucrative businesses. And those businesses haven't shied away from using their wealth to aid numerous far-right political causes. If churches want to operate like a business, then it's time they get taxed like a business as well.
Here's a look at the law being challenged:
The amendment, added to the code by Congress in 1954, placed new restrictions on 501(c)(3) organizations including churches , warning that such charitable organizations could lose their coveted tax-exempt statuses if they intervened in political campaigns, according to the Pew Forum. While the amendment is often interpreted as limiting political advocacy, the rule's purpose has more to do with political contributions. (The tax code applies to all 510(c)(3) organizations, not just places of worship.)

The ADF and similar organizations feel like the rule makes churches choose, however, between participating in political campaigns they feel strongly about and accepting tax-free donations. 

Actually, the "rules" can be changed, so go ahead, politicize religion. 

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