Your Pastor’s Free Speech Rights

    The free speech rights of your pastor, other ministers and churches to speak on ANY issue without repercussions from the IRS . . .That’s the Subject of this Big B File.

Ambo (a.k.a. a Lectern or Pulpit)   Imagine this . . .You are in your church.  During the Mass or Services,  your Pastor is giving their sermon talking about Abortion (or any other issue of the day) and/or your U.S. Senator’s stance on the issue.  Suddenly, an IRS Enforcement Officer bursts in the door and comes up to the pulpit and places a gag on them and said that, as a result of the sermon, your church will now have to pay income taxes to the IRS.  This will be  including back taxes, fines and penalties.
     That is exactly what the fear that churches, Synagogues, and Mosques have been under since 1954 when, as Jay Sekelow of the American Center for Law & Justice  (ACLJ) . . . then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson sought political retribution against an opponent who was assisted in his campaign by two non-profit organizations.  As a bill to revise the tax code was being debated on the floor of the Senate, LBJ pushed a little-noticed amendment that barred all tax-exempt groups – including churches –from participating in political activity.  The penalty:  loss of tax-exempt status.”  That amendment is now known as the”Johnson Amendment” and created Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which, as the website hr235.org states:

  • “Since the “Johnson Amendment” the IRS has had a gag order over houses of worship that forbids religious leaders to speak out on the moral issues of the day. If found in violation of this law, the church, mosque or synagogue would be in jeopardy of losing their tax-exempt status.”

    For years, it has seemed like the Priests, Rabbis, and Clerics  have had a gag over their mouths with the threat that if they said anything on moral issues that the IRS could term as “Political Speech”, that the IRS would revoked their house of worship’s tax-exempt status and end up owing taxes up the wazoo (including back taxes and fines that the IRS wants to impose at will).
     For years, this threat has been used against Conservative Churches a.k.a. churches and other houses of worship that  adhere to the true values of the  Bible, Jewish Torah, and/or the Koran (in the case of Islam).  Yet, in every single Presidential election as far as I can remember (and I was born in June 1975), I have seen the Democratic candidates for President go into the Black Churches and give the same political campaign speech that they would later give at a campaign event someplace else that is not a church (without repercussions from the IRS), but lately, the Liberal Churches are now finding their ministers have the very same gag placed over their mouths.  Check out the CBN News Story
Politics, Free Speech, and the Church” for such an example.  the example about All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California . . .and as the CBN News Story says, “All Saints Episcopal, in downtown Pasadena, is known as one of the most liberal churches around; they’re anti-war, pro-choice, and even ordain homosexual priests”.
    Here is another Scenario.  a horrible tragedy of a Hurricane Katrina or (God Forbid) 9/11 nature occurred a few months back and your community, including your community’s leaders (Mayor, council, etc.), erects a memorial in the city park that includes a life sized crucifix or monument with Bible verses on it, among other things . . . all paid for by private donations.  A few days later you get a letter from the ACLU saying that if you do not remove the life sized crucifix or monument with Bible verses on it, they will sue you and make you pay the Attorney’s fees, which could amount to thousands of dollars, which would be VERY costly to the city financially a.k.a the ACLU using the U.S. Court System to do legalized Extortion from local, state, and Federal Governments and private citizens.  Now the city has to decide whether to cave to the ACLU or to pay an attorney to fight the ACLU in court and how far to take the case.  that actually happened very recently in St.
Bernard Parish (County), Louisiana.  Click here to read the Story from FOX 8 WVUE-TV in New Orleans, LA about this example.
    10 Commandments Monument - Texas Capital Building in Austin, TX Scenario Number three.  The American Legion, Fraternal Order of Eagles, or another organization  in your state, just after World War II, placed a six (6) feet tall Monument in the form of two tablets with the Ten Commandments on it on the lawn of the State Capital Building.  A few decades later, the ACLU sues the state and takes the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court before it is decided.  This is what happened to the State of Texas before  the U.S. Supreme Court Ruled in favor of the State of Texas and I would not be surprised if Texas ended up spending thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds defending itself against the ACLU Lawsuit.  Check out the Big B File from July 4, 2005 for details about this example.
    Why do I mention all this?  The reason is that there are two pieces of Legislation currently working in Congress that would remedy all this these bills are the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act (HR 235) and the Public Expression of Religion Act of 2005 (HR 2679) {The senate version of this bill is the Public Expressions of Religion Act (PERA)  (S. 3696).  The only thing that the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act (HR 235) would do is “. . .amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to protect the religious free exercise and free
speech rights of churches and other houses of worship” (courtesy of the website hr235.org).  

  Mt. Solidad Cross
Mt. Soledad Veterans Mem. La Jolla, CA

In other words, remove the restrictions a.k.a. gag orders that have been placed on Houses of Worship since the Johnson Amendment was passed in 1954.
   
The only thing that the Public Expression of Religion Act of 2005 (HR 2679) would do is, as the bill says, “to amend the Revised Statutes of the United States to eliminate the chilling effect on the constitutionally protected expression of religion by State and local officials that results from the threat that potential litigants may seek damages and attorney’s fees.” In other words, as Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas says that HR 2679 and SB 3696 would block plaintiffs (Such as The ACLU and others) from collecting attorneys fees for lawsuits alleging “establishment of religion.” i.e. erecting a Ten Commandments Monument or anything else religious (Click here to read the entire story from Agape Press).
    The status of the bills is that they are all stuck in Committeeand that has been the case since they were introduced on JANUARY 4, 2005 (HR 235), MAY 26, 2005 (HR 2679), and JULY 20, 2006 (SB 3696) respectively.Call the Capital Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and tell your Congressman and Senators to pass these bills so that President George W. Bush can sign them into law.  I have no doubt at all that Bush will sign these bills into law!  I will let you know if HR 235 passes both the House and Senate as well as whether HR 2679 or SB 3696 pass the House and Senate or if these two bills are passed as a combined bill coming out of a House/Senate Conference Committee.
    That’s the Big B File. Click on “Comment” link below and tell me what you think…I’m Bryan Hewing.

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