You may recall we reported here about the IRS settlement with the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) lawsuit allowing the latter organization to demand investigations of Christian pastors believed to be engaging in “political activity.” It’s funny, I wonder if the IRS will look into a Catholic organization receiving $9 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars to hire lawyers for illegal aliens — all granted by the Obama administration. Yep, kinda tired of the hypocrisy and cowardice of progressive socialist secular humanists — they ain’t got the intestinal fortitude or cojones to require the same of mosques where anti-American sentiment is proselytized.As a matter of fact, the settlement agreement between the IRS and the FFRF is so very secretive no one has even seen it — yet it was announced — so much for that Obama transparency. Chances are the settlement agreement is somewhere close to the Lois Lerner emails.
So in response to this apparent collusion of the Obama administration with secular humanists to assault religious freedom, yesterday was Pulpit Freedom Sunday. And please, all you kool-aid drinking progressive socialists, don’t go and try to misinterpret the Constitution. Because I can tell you of countless times down here in South Florida where liberal rabbis advocate for the Democrat party and its agenda from their pulpits. And how many times have we seen Democrat candidates speaking directly from the pulpit? I can recall John Kerry, when he was running for president right down here in South Florida doing it and of course there was Hillary Clinton’s infamous southern accent referring to the Old Negro Spiritual “I don’t feel no ways tired.”In any event, pastors nationwide are not sitting idly by. As reported by The Christian Post, “Nearly 1,500 U.S. pastors reportedly agreed to flex their free speech muscles this past weekend and preach politically-charged sermons on the occasion of Pulpit Freedom Sunday. Their act of civil disobedience, which involved putting their churches’ tax exempt status on the line, is meant to draw attention to what they believe is an unjust law. And if they manage to spark the ire of the IRS and any atheist organization willing to argue it out in court, then an activist legal group is more than ready to take up their case, for free.”
“The message we’ve been telling pastors for years now in regard to Pulpit Freedom Sunday is, ‘We’ve got your back. Pastor, stand, preach from your pulpit what God lays on your heart to tell your people and you have the free exercise and the free speech right that’s enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution to do that,” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) senior legal counsel Erik Stanley told The Christian Post.”
“Pulpit Freedom Sunday is a direct challenge to the aforementioned piece of legislation that, as Stanley put it, was “slipped into the tax code with no debate.” That irksome Johnson Amendment was added in 1954 by Congress to the 501(c)(3) section of the U.S. tax code, which directly affects churches and other religious nonprofits granted certain tax breaks by the IRS. The Johnson Amendment states that such tax-exempt organizations may not “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”And I can attest that doesn’t happen — however, there is quite often a misinterpretation of the separation of church and state — which is not a law, nor featured in the Declaration of Independence or Constitution, just a concept put forth by Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Convention assuring that America would have no established religion nor a Head of State who is also a Head of Church.
What has ensued is a silencing and censoring of Christian leaders’ voices as moral authorities on the welfare of the nation in which they live. “Since that Johnson Amendment was passed in 1954, churches and pastors have really been intimidated into silence on preaching about the issues of the day, preaching about the election, preaching about candidates and what they stand for and how that aligns with biblical values,” said Stanley.
Now, it will be quite interesting to me how you community organizing progressive socialists respond, especially since I was just out in Colorado and spoke first hand with a member of the Jefferson County School Board. It seems the teachers unions out there are advocating the children to civil disobedience, in order to ensure the American history courses teach — guess what — civil disobedience. Hmm, so I suppose civil disobedience is ok when you guys say it is ok? Now, that’s how progressive socialists define tolerance and free speech — they tolerate what they agree with and allow you to speak on that which they approve. I call that tyranny — and hypocrisy.Can any of you imagine what would happen if Republicans were pulling these type of shenanigans — secret settlement agreements with government agencies, especially one that can assault your wallet?
According to the Christian Post, “Erik Stanley is also director of the organization’s Church Project and Pulpit Initiative and overseas Pulpit Freedom Sunday, now in its seventh year. He emphasized that ADF will come to the defense of any pastor targeted by the IRS or an atheist group “to intimidate you or silence you. It’s time to take the Johnson Amendment, specifically, out of the hands of these atheists groups because they’ve been using it for years as a club to beat churches into silence about these issues. And churches, through fear and intimidation, have basically vacated the debate on the selection of our national leaders.”
And that’s the way progressive socialists and secular humanists roll – remember the assaults against the University of Tennessee and their public prayer at home football games –(This season we truly need it) — and against Madison County High School in Georgia over a donated statue? It’s always about fear, coercion, and intimidation as a tactic — the Alinsky and socialist way.But how do the American people feel, not just the loud progressive minority?
The Christian Post says, “according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank based in Washington, D.C., 49 percent of Americans believe “churches and other houses of worship should express their views on social and political issues.” Pew, gauging how such sentiment has changed since the 2010 midterm elections, found that most Americans (72 percent now; 67 percent then) believe religion is losing its influence. Overall, 57 percent view this perceived decline in religious influence on American life as a “bad thing.” ”
“The share who says there has been ‘too little’ expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders is up modestly over the same period (from 37 percent to 41 percent). And a growing minority of Americans (32 percent) think churches should endorse candidates for political office, though most continue to oppose such direct involvement by churches in electoral politics,” the fact tank reported in September.”
Yesterday Scott Eynon, my pastor at Community Christian Church in Tamarac, Florida, delivered the fifth in a series of messages entitled, “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” based on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Yesterday the focus verses were Chapter 3:12-14. Scott encouraged us not to live in fear and told us the importance of “forgetting what lies behind and pressing on towards the upward goal and prize” — always striving forward and never quitting. The message was about personal growth and came from a man who was sitting chained in a Roman prison awaiting trial and his eventual execution — now that is character, something lacking in our political environment, as evidenced by the liar we have as a president.
Scott reminded us of that critical line from the movie Braveheart, “All men die, not all men truly live.” Pastors, we cannot live in fear, and I certainly shall not.