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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Pastors to defy IRS snoops by daring them to place them under arrest

But the pastors of these churches, which happen to be some of the largest megachurches in America, say they plan on banding together to defy the IRS on the annual "Freedom of the Pulpit Sunday" coming up in October. According to several spokesmen within the pulpit freedom movement, the pastors will inform their congregants that IRS spies may be in the congregation that day and that they, the pastors, have no intention of adhering to the rules of the IRS that demand that they cease from preaching on homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, and other hot topics. The plan is for the pastors to dare the IRS agents to come forward and arrest them on the spot so that all of America can see what a farce the federal government has become.
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Gregory Mullaley said...

The pastor, as any American, has the right of free speech. Under IRS regulations, pastors can make political statements but they are forbidden to tell their congregation to vote for, or against, any specific candidate if they wish to retain their current tax exemption status. If a pastor defies this he may have this status removed by the IRS and have to pay taxes on his income. Freedom does have a price. For pastors who feel compelled to do this (electioneering) they should just declare their intentions to the IRS and pay taxes like the rest of us. If his congregation is in agreement, they can increase their tithes to make up for any losses. Short of getting the IRS to change their regulations, these are the only options.

Welshman said...

I have a major problem with your reasoning on at least two counts. First, if what you say is true, then churches are paying for free speech. THAT is as unAmerican as you can get. It has always been assumed since our founding that pastors can say anythihng they want, anytime, without any reprisals from government. And churches have always been tax exempt, not because of some IRS ruling but that is the nature of the church in a free society. In other words, a church is automatically tax exempt because it is a church, not because some government agency grants it some priviledge. The church was never conceived to exist under the authority of some government agency but separate from all government agencies. If they start having to pay taxes, for the first time in U.S. history, then this would automatically place the church under the authority of the IRS or the agency that "monitors" such things.This has never been the American understanding of freedom. Thus, it is tyranny.

Further, pastors already pay taxes on their income. What would make you think they don't? In fact they have it worse than most. They must pay out of their pockets in their quarterly reports. True, this money is not withheld by the church, but that means the burden falls on the pastor to turn in their tax returns, and pay their quarterly tax out of their own pocket. This notion that pastors don't pay taxes because their churches don't have to pay is a lie, a myth, a terrible misconception.

Finally, other organizations that are tax exempt such as relief agencies, Planned Parenthood, and the like, often engage in direct politicking. Electioneering? Just go back and read the history of the Civil Rights movement. The movement began in the black churches which paid no tax. And they were overtly political. Can you say double standard? And this precisely one of the reasons Jefferson spoke of a wall of separation between the church and the government, which is intended not to prevent churches and pastors from speaking out on candidates and political issues but to prevent any and all government meddling in church affairs.

Thus, several of your statements above are factually incorrect.