Politics and the Church Tax Status.

The rights of preachers in churches to make overt political endorsements is not simple.  Southern black churches have always done it.  Other churches have been criticized for doing it because of their federal tax exempt status.

The attached article suggests one way to deal with it. That is to change churches’ status from 5013C,  nonpolitical, to the same category as political parties.  Then churches could do all the politics they wanted.

In general, politics from the pulpit is a problem without a solution.  Pat Robinson’s 700 Club and other lucrative church operations seem to be under the nonpolitical status.  But each election cycle he rails on about declining moral values, then tells people, “Pray about the election.”   These are his code words for “vote Republican”.

No one can prove he has violated his nonprofit status, but he has campaigned nevertheless.  Probably liberal preachers do the same on behalf of Democrats.  But, does it really matter?

Catholic clergy could not have made themselves more clear the faithful were directed to vote for Romney.  Polls showed the majority did not.  Maybe clergy cause a few of the faithful to vote just the opposite.

What makes politics so fascinating is its mystery.  There is a general belief that money is the biggest variable.  But, smaller budgets often win.

In my little district, Democrats ran two well known men in their 60′s and a young out gay man.  Only the gay man won.

Maybe churches don’t matter at all.

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/politics/6517/let_my_preachers_endorse%3A_a_modest_church-state_proposal_/

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years.
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18 Responses to Politics and the Church Tax Status.

  1. entech says:

    Maybe churches don’t matter at all.
    Before any one else gets in.

    YOU would say that wouldn’t YOU? :)

  2. Paul says:

    Good point Jon … perhaps we’re all too concerned with the little Bible-thumpers … our citizens seem to see through all the smoke and mirrors and hatred … let’s hold up our heads and march forward with our principles …

    • Henry says:

      “with the little Bible-thumpers”

      The condesension from the atheist ranks runs heavy.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Henry 3:12 “condesension from the atheist ranks runs heavy.”(Little Bible thumpers)
        How about I name a few specific little Bible thumpers. Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Robert Tilton, Albert Mohler, Franklin Graham–just getting started. They are small people and Bible Thumpers. Good term by Paul.

        • Henry says:

          Specific names weren’t previously discussed. Not a good term by Paul.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Our friend here plays the same game as the Pres. of Iran. Denigration and false claims. All of this,and more, while under the guise of the little innocent wounded bird. Names may be one thing, but attributes are another.

      • entech says:

        I agree with you on that one Henry, there is no need for abusive name calling. We can safely leave that to you and you and WBC.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Paul 2:55 “and march forward with our principles.”

      If the trend toward smaller denominations continues and the Christian right stays with it anti gay and anti women/abortion positions, religious politics will, it seems to me, become increasingly less important.

  3. Michael Ross says:

    The answer is not to do away with tax exempt status but to do away with taxes. Let people keep what they earn, what they have worked for and what they own. Taxes are only a means of control. They take our money and we come on our hands and knees to get some of it back so we can survive. We are cattle and our overlords are ranchers. We are a nation of grovelers:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Xbp6umQT58A

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 6:45 “but do away with all taxes.”

      OK, what would be the first tax to get rid of?

      I’ll start. The taxes on gasoline. They are deceptive because they don’t actually pay for what they say they pay for. Roads/streets/highways have to have more money funneled in to them because the gas taxes don’t cover them. Just make all roadways private, leased each year or so to the highest bidder, then charge tolls for their use. Good roads, little traffic on them. Done.

      • Michael Ross says:

        Get rid of them all. There is know biblical mandate for taxes to support government. That’s what I go by. You may know better than God being a Phd. economist but me being dumb working stiff I have to go by what He says. Also I read a book entitled “How capitalism saved America: From the Pilgims to the present”:

        http://www.amazon.com/How-Capitalism-Saved-America-Pilgrims/dp/1400083311

        There is a chapter entitled “Highways of capitalisim”. If we need roads and bridges they will get built and the private sector will do it better and cheaper.

        But then you ask who will build the nukes, bombs, missiles tanks, and ships? How ever will we bomb, murder, maim, torture, invade, occupy and nation build our way to greatness.
        Maybe it wouldn’t get done. Maybe the world would be at peace. I sometimes think I am the only Christian that believes that is possible.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Michael 3:44 “… torture, invade, occupy …”

          Good points.

        • Henry says:

          “How ever will we bomb, murder, maim, torture, invade, occupy and nation build our way to greatness.”

          Right or wrong, we once had a formula for that. The current democrats vote to do that, then when the time comes for execution, they complain and blame others for their decision. The old FDR democrats at least unilaterally voted on it and fulfilled their pledge.

  4. entech says:

    Michael, I would not have picked you for an anarchist, who do you like Proudhon, Bakunin or perhaps something more recent Noam Chomsky?

  5. Wanna B Sure says:

    I am not against having the tax benefits reduced/restricted to churches that interfere, with, indorse, or campaign for and inbehalf of any political candidates. It would have the effect of reminding those churches the true purpose of their mission. I also have a problem with churches that dabble in political issues not related to the spreading the Gospel of Jesus, the Christ. While there may be non-candidate matters from time to time that need to be addressed, it is a mine field of distractions from that Gospel, and those matters can be best handled in the area of the secular, not the church.

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