New poll/Old poll

poll%20graphic%20correct%20size.bmpThe new poll question is up:

The Alliance Defense Fund plans a Sept. pastor revolt to defy a 1954 IRS tax amendment stripping churches and pastors of the right to discuss politics and candidates. ADF hopes this will spark a court battle ultimately finding it unconstitutional. Should pastors and churches be free to discuss politics?

49.4% got last week's poll question right...

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I got that question from the Priests for Life website, and Fr. Pavone responded:

Those who said "No" have heard the same erroneous legal advice that many of our bishops and priests have heard. The attorneys who give such advice need to go to summer school, because the law does not prohibit us from saying this. And even if it did, we would say it anyway, because abortion is an injustice which leaves us no excuse for silence.

The difference between this and last week's question? Discussing generic positions or beliefs vs. discussing specific candidates or parties.

If you voted, find your personal brightly colored flag on the map below. Note the difference in answers between Americans and our International friends. They all thought pastors making such a statement would violate their church's tax exempt status, or pastors should MYOB on the topic. Interesting. Click to enlarge:

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As always, please make comments to either the old or new poll here, not at the Vizu website.


Comments:

Pastors May Defy IRS Gag Rule
Legal Group Urges
Ministers to Preach
About Candidates
By SUZANNE SATALINE
May 9, 2008; Page A5

A conservative legal-advocacy group is enlisting ministers to use their pulpits to preach about election candidates this September, defying a tax law that bars churches from engaging in politics.

Alliance Defense Fund, a Scottsdale, Ariz., nonprofit, is hoping at least one sermon will prompt the Internal Revenue Service to investigate, sparking a court battle that could get the tax provision declared unconstitutional. Alliance lawyers represent churches in disputes with the IRS over alleged partisan activity.

The action marks the latest attempt by a conservative organization to help clergy harness their congregations to sway elections. The protest is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 28, a little more than a month before the general election, in a year when religious concerns and preachers have been a regular part of the political debate.

It also comes as the IRS has increased its investigations of churches accused of engaging in politics. Sen. Barack Obama's denomination, the United Church of Christ, has said it was under investigation after it allowed the Democratic presidential candidate to address 10,000 church members last year. Last summer, the tax agency said it was reviewing complaints against 44 churches for activities in the 2006 election cycle. Churches found to be in violation can be fined or lose their tax exemptions.

The section of the tax code barring nonprofits from intervening in political campaigns has long frustrated clergy. Many ministers consider the provision an inappropriate government intrusion, blocking the duty of clergy to advise congregants.

Alliance fund staff hopes 40 or 50 houses of worship will take part in the action, including clerics from liberal-leaning congregations. About 80 ministers have expressed interest, including one Catholic priest, says Erik Stanley, the Alliance's senior legal counsel.

"The government should not be telling the church what it should or should not be saying," says the Rev. Steve Riggle, senior pastor of Grace Community Church in Houston, who hopes to take part in the Alliance effort. Mr. Riggle says he told his congregation from the pulpit, before the Texas primary in March, that he was supporting former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for president. "As a pastor, a private citizen, I can speak for myself. The IRS cannot quench my voice," he says.

In recent years, attempts by members of Congress to change the law have failed. "Tax exemption is a benefit, and it comes with conditions," says Rob Boston, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a nonprofit that has filed more than a dozen complaints in the past year with the IRS, accusing nonprofits of tax-code violations. "So if any pastor out there feels he is gagged or can't speak on partisan politics...forgo the tax exemption and say what you want."

In 1954, Congress made it illegal for nonprofits, including churches, to endorse or publicly oppose political candidates or to intervene in candidates' elections, although they are free to take sides on issues. Only one church has challenged this, unsuccessfully. The U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia ruled in 2000 that the IRS didn't violate constitutional rights when it revoked the tax-exempt status of Branch Ministries of Binghamton, N.Y., which had bought newspaper ads opposing Bill Clinton's candidacy.

Some legal scholars are hoping for a new test case. Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, says a church might make a successful claim that the federal government is burdening the free exercise of religion and cannot do so without a compelling state interest.

Posted by: HisMan at May 10, 2008 10:50 PM


Perhpas Pro-lifers are beginning to get it.

The foundation for banning prayer in schools, the legalization of abortion, the gay agenda, the attempt to legalize marriage, etc. is due to 501c3 legislation. Lyndon John single handedly did this in 1954. We must defeat Barack Obama.

This is why we can have a majority of people in America that don't support this perversion, yet have it become the law of our land.

When politicians who wish to do evil can silence the very voice that Our Lord has raised up and anointed against that evil, the people suffer.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish".

Changing the 501c3 legislation is key to overturning Roe v. Wade.

The giant has been awakened.

Posted by: HisMan at May 10, 2008 10:57 PM


I got so excited at this post I made quite a few typos: Here's a re-post:

Perhaps Pro-lifers are beginning to get it.

The foundation for banning prayer in schools, the legalization of abortion, the gay agenda, the attempt to legalize homosexual marriage, etc. is due to 501c3 legislation. Lyndon Johnson singlehandedly did this in 1954. We must defeat Barack Obama.

This is why we can have a majority of people in America that don't support this perversion, yet have it become the law of our land.

When politicians who wish to do evil can silence the very voice that Our Lord has raised up and anointed against that evil, the people suffer.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish".

Changing the 501c3 legislation is key to overturning Roe v. Wade.

The giant has been awakened.


Posted by: HisMan at May 10, 2008 11:00 PM


This is truly exciting news!!! It makes me fiery inside!!!! A pastor should be able to say whatever he/she wants (and endorse whoever they want) about politicians.

I love it. I just love it. REVOLT!

Posted by: Ryan at May 11, 2008 3:27 AM


I think churches should not be exempt from taxes no matter what they say.

Posted by: SoMG at May 11, 2008 4:00 AM


SoMG,

The point is, NON-PROFITS should not be penalized with taxation because they said the "wrong thing".

This is more a free speech issue than a money issue.

Either ALL non-profits should be subject to the same taxes, or NONE of them (and much preferably the later).


Posted by: Ryan at May 11, 2008 4:16 AM


SoMG,

Do you really believe all non-profit organizations should be subject to taxes?? Or just were the gospel is being preached?

Posted by: Ryan at May 11, 2008 4:18 AM


This is interesting. Off-topic but interesting.

http://www.azstarnet.com/metro/238189

"PHOENIX — A panel of the state Board of Nursing is recommending that nurse practitioners be allowed to perform first-trimester abortions in Arizona. "

Posted by: SoMG at May 11, 2008 7:34 AM


Jill,

If you said it, I missed it. Do you know what percentage of the votes came from outside of the U.S?

It would be interesting to see how many clergy in the U.S. were not aware of their right to speak on voting issues. Also, how many don't want to because they fear alienating their congregations.

For the post-abortive women reading these results, would you be upset if a priest or minister spoke about abortion from the pulpit?

Posted by: Janet at May 11, 2008 10:06 AM


Please do not let SoMG's attempt to divert from the issue be successful.

He as well as all liberals know that repealing 501c3 legislation is the key to overturning Roe v. Wade. They fear this like a vampire fears daylight.

Jill, this issue must be forcefully driven home and kept at the foretront of pro-lifers' minds.

Why do I know that this is important? Because the word of God is the only thing that can change people's hearts.

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Corinthians 10:1-5 By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am "timid" when face to face with you, but "bold" when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

Hebrews 4:12-13 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Isaiah 55:10-11 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

God's will is that abortion ends. If pro-lifers pray for an end to abortion but the church does not proclaim His word against it by intimidation or choice, and that without restraint, nothing changes.

Satan knows this and through his minions in the governemnt enacted this demonic 501c3 legislation which the church accepted as a bribe in exchange for restraing the word. This is why our country is in the state it is in. The time is NOW for repentance.

Posted by: HisMan at May 11, 2008 10:51 AM


And for all of you believers who don't live in the United States God is calling you to proclaim his word without fear.

The destiny of billions of souls depend on it.

"Here I am, send me"....or will you shrink back in fear?

Posted by: HisMan at May 11, 2008 10:57 AM


Hisman, I don't think the Republicans actually want to repeal Roe v. Wade. (some do, of course, but it doesn't seem to be a priority to most. And the Democrats don't. People seem pretty content with the current state of abortion laws.

Posted by: Hal at May 11, 2008 11:05 AM


Hal:

Your observations appear to be correct and I appreciate your honesty.

While it is discouraging to a pro-lifer, we press on to the goal. However, all the more reason to get Christian politicians the word so they will be convicted of their apostasy and repent.

Posted by: HisMan at May 11, 2008 3:45 PM


Posted by: HisMan at May 11, 2008 10:51 AM

amen buddy

Posted by: jasper at May 11, 2008 8:48 PM


Hisman, with your new attitude, we might just find some common ground.

I bet your blood pressure is lower too.

Have a nice evening.

Posted by: hal at May 11, 2008 9:12 PM


Oh, I love seeing Hal and HisMan getting along!

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at May 11, 2008 9:15 PM


Check out that one blue vote off the west coast of Africa. Did somebody vote from a boat?

I've observed frequently that people from other countries are surprised at how in America there is less perception that one's relationship with God is a personal matter. They're often surprised, for example, that the faith of a political candidate would matter to voters as much as it does.

Looks to me like there is considerable support in North America for mixing religion and politics, but not elsewhere, though 257 votes isn't all that many and the poll isn't necessarily statistically valid.

Posted by: Doug at May 12, 2008 7:10 AM


Janet,
It is because one of my pastors talked about abortion quite a bit that I repented.

Posted by: Carla at May 12, 2008 10:35 AM


Carla,

That's awesome. God bless you!

Posted by: Janet at May 12, 2008 12:14 PM


Doug: 7;10: I've observed frequently that people from other countries are surprised at how in America there is less perception that one's relationship with God is a personal matter. They're often surprised, for example, that the faith of a political candidate would matter to voters as much as it does.

Are you observing other religious people or atheists and agnostics in other countries? Of course that would explain a difference of thought. I think the U.S. has a higher percentage of people of faith than most countries, right?

Looks to me like there is considerable support in North America for mixing religion and politics, but not elsewhere, though 257 votes isn't all that many and the poll isn't necessarily statistically valid.

I would argue that religious North Americans don't necessarily want to mix religion and politics in all situations, but they want to be free to discuss morals and ethics as part of the political process, without being chastised.

Posted by: Janet at May 12, 2008 12:25 PM


Check out that one blue vote off the west coast of Africa. Did somebody vote from a boat?

Haha Doug. Don't forget that people live on islands. ;)

Posted by: Edyt at May 12, 2008 2:24 PM


Janet, I'm sure the US is both higher in percentage of people with "faith" and lower, too, depending on which other country we look at.

I just meant foreign people in general, most specifically Europeans - I don't know how religious they are.

Mainly, I want to see what's the deal there off the west coast of Africa - a big rowboat with internet access?

Posted by: Doug at May 12, 2008 2:25 PM


Don't forget that people live on islands. ;)

Indeed, Edyt, but I looked on maps before dismissing the island idea. I guess it could be Sao Tome/Principe if the little blue marker is farther west than it should be.

Either way, pretty far out....

Posted by: Doug at May 12, 2008 7:28 PM


Doug--

If you click on the "comment" link on the poll, you can view the map and click on each little flag to see where it's coming from.

The person off the coast of Africa voted again, FYI. I don't remember what it said, but it was bizarre... "anonymous location" or something like that.

Posted by: Leah at May 12, 2008 8:16 PM


Leah - COOL. Sheesh, thanks for educating me; never knew you could do that.

"Anonymous proxy" but still I wonder why it shows as being out in the ocean. Checked out some of the others - Latvia, Russia, China.... sweeet.

Posted by: Doug at May 12, 2008 8:48 PM


Speaking of which - I know that in China there is a ton of censorship and blocking of access to websites by the ISP's/the government. Using an anonymous proxy server could help a Chinese person avoid being blocked and enable them to go where they want on the internet.

Posted by: Doug at May 12, 2008 8:51 PM


I'd like to point out why the IRS will never let churches that attempt to endorse political candidates get away with it and keep their tax-exempt status. Believe it or not, it has nothing to do with separation of church and state. What it would do is open a huge loophole in campaign finance laws, allowing ANYONE to start a "church" and use its tax exempt donations to support political candidates. This cannot, and will not be allowed to happen. Sorry, folks.

Posted by: Ray at May 12, 2008 10:01 PM


Doug,

I'm guessing the point in the ocean could actually be in Ghana, a coastal country in Africa. I vaguely remember a month or two ago there was a commenter from Ghana on a post. Maybe the same person?

Posted by: Janet at May 12, 2008 10:12 PM


Janet, good idea - could well be. Maybe one of the coordinates like latitude is just off a bit.

Posted by: Doug at May 12, 2008 10:22 PM


Ray, agreed, and on the flip side I think that if a church wants to act like a PAC, then so be it, pay the taxes and go for it....

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Posted by: HuccuriHome at December 5, 2008 5:20 PM


Sorry Ray you are simply wrong to think a group could start a fake church simply to affect an election every 4 years. Churches have a right to do this because it is an insubstantial portion of their ministry. If you do a little historical research you'll find that pastors have been doing this since before this country was founded.
And the fact that with bogus regulation (Johnson Amendment) was rush into law in a back ally way with no debate on the house floor. And it was designed to do nothing except prevent churches (who are predominantly conservative) from influencing elections against liberal candidates. So sorry Ray it will succeed and the law will be overturned.

Posted by: Neal at December 23, 2008 3:31 PM