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But Will They Pay To Play?
(Peter Montgomery, Religion Dispatches)
"Conservative evangelical leaders hope that 1,500 pastors will take part in "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" on October 7 and tell their congregants that they must vote against President Obama and other "unbiblical" candidates. Today, publisher Steven Strang, anti-gay activist Rev. Jim Garlow, and too-radical-for-John-McCain pastor John Hagee participated in a conference call designed to either shame or inspire more pastors to take part."
The chant of "Obama is of the devil" will become louder this Sunday, as hundreds of pastors will risk losing their tax-exempt status in telling you to vote for Mitt Romney, Republican and not Barack Obama, Demon Spawn.
Spearheading PFS is the controversial John Hagee who almost single-handedly tanked John McCain's candidacy by saying Rome was "The prostitute Of Babylon." (McCain promptly dumped Hagee as "spiritual advisor").
"This is my mantra to my congregation and to America," said Hagee. "Vote the Bible." More specifically, he said, it was impermissible to vote for the Democratic Party because it supports "homosexual marriage."
Homosexual marriage, women's rights, abortion rights, freedom to be Muslim (whose counterparts are known as homophobia, misogyny and Islamophobia) are so very un-Biblical that voting for anyone who supports them constitutes a one-way ticket to hell.
In a recent conference call Oct.2) with various Christian Right notables, Hagee reiterated the PFS's mission to recite the political sermons, then send them to the IRS, daring the agency to sue them. The participants included Pat Robertson, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver, "Prophetess" Cindy "Japan-is-shaped-like-a-dragon" Jacobs, pseudo historian David Barton and many more who promised to bring "fire to the pulpits".
Pay-To-Play Pulpit Politics
To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, I.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.
A growing number of taxpayers agree that churches who preach politics from the pulpit should have their tax-exempt status removed. In effect, it is a pay-to-play issue: why should churches get to campaign for candidates free of charge? Does a church take in donations to help the poor or to elect a candidate? Change.org has started a petition to the IRS to remove such status immediately and retroactively from such churches, maintaining that many churches have, so far, gotten a free ride in politics.
True, few churches have had their tax exempt status removed - a fact which the "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" group capitalizes on - but the tenure of the country in regards to Separation of Church and State remains solid for that separation.
Whatever It Takes
The motto of Rick Warren's evangelizing "Purpose Driven" life/everything is "Whatever It Takes", a motto which many of the Christian Right see as an entry for a form of political theocracy. It is, at its core, the motto for Reconstructionists and Dominionists such as Cindy Jacobs and Christo-Zionists such as Hagee.
The power of the motto, however, may be tested after October 7th: the IRS may be bound by law to remove the tax-exempt status of churches spewing political/campaign rhetoric. "Whatever It Takes" may have a set back.
Power Of The (Demon Spawn Secular) People
On the other hand, it may take a popular voice to prod the IRS into revoking 501c3 status. But with voters being pummeled with national, state, local issues, can the voting populace be bothered to stand against the political polemics of the Christian Right?
According to the IRS (Acknowledgement and Disclosure Prohibition Section):
The Internal Revenue Service gives serious consideration to complaints made alleging the abuse of the tax exempt status granted to certain organizations.
So if you want to be as
bold in your stance for separation of Church and State as the Christian Right
is to tear it down, if you want to risk being "un-Biblical" and
possibly go to hell, you can help remove a church's tax exempt status after
Pulpit Freedom Sunday by filing form 13909 and sending it by:
Mail to IRS EO Classification, Mail Code 4910DAL, 1100 Commerce St., Dallas, TX 75242-1198,
Fax to 214-413-5415, or
Email to eoclass @ irs.gov