Atheists at the Freedom from Religion Foundation have filed a federal lawsuit against the IRS. The suit claims that the IRS is violating the constitution by allowing tax-exempt religious organizations to engage in political campaigns.
The FFRF suit asks the IRS to take legal action against churches which have participated in election campaigns, which is barred by the federal tax code.
For instance, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association took out full-page ads in the NYTimes exhorting readers to follow "biblical principals" in casting their ballots. Graham himself met with Mitt Romney and promised to help get him elected.
The lawsuit also alleges that by turning a blind eye to electioneering by churches, the IRS is violating the equal protection clause. That's because non-religious tax-exempt groups - like the FFRF itself - aren't given the same leeway to join political campaigns.
And if we would enforce the border, deregulate industry, enact a flat tax, end the drug war, stop giving to those who will not provide for themselves, end all foreign aid, stop trying to create more laws when there are thousands on the books which are not enforced, Wow can you imagine how great this country would be!!!!
@DARSB A very poorly worded law (or at least as the IRS interprets it). "On the other hand, voter education ... that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention." - This is effectively a 25 MPH speed limit on an open highway. Everyone is guilty, now its just up to the Executive to decide who to punish. Our legislators shouldn't be so foolish as to surrender that much power to whomever wins the white house.
@Big-R We tried deregulating industry... we got the worst recession since the great depression.... the last time we had a deregulated industry. Fact is that Mitt was right, industry needs regulation. Also, more homeless people won't make our country better.
When will people understand that our social issues affect our fiscal issues. A child raised from a mother and father is less likely to need government assistance than a child raised by a single mother and a welfare check. We can't just eliminate social issues from the national dialogue, and a huge part of that is religion. This is, was, and always will be a Christian nation. Instead of liberals trying to make us ashamed of that fact, we should be proud of that fact. It is the reason we are the greatest nation in the world!
Please examine how this always has been a Christian nation. In god we trust was added to our money and god our pledge during the commie scare to create an us vs them mentality. Separation of church an state means this WAS NOT EVER INTENDED TO BE A CHRISTIAN NATION. Check out the jefferson bible, Thomas j wrote it, it's your bible with all the crap, pro rape, pro slavery, magic, murder and douchbaggery. It's just a boom that basically says, don't be an asshole, something the gb can't grasp. The fact is, the church gets tax free status. Why should the government allow that? And than they can now make political comments, I say let them, but finally start taxing these loons. We're in an economic recession, why don't bible busters haveto help us out, since most of this is their fault. How is it their fault? Well, you guys police America with a Christian fist, and delegate everyone else's rights for them. The Christian church is the right hand of big government sneaking up behind us to take our freedom.
No more slavery, no more child labor, safe work environments, women voting, no more segregation, no more genocides on the native people. All of these positive progressions happened despite opposition from Christianity's clergy. The founding fathers saw fit to keep religion and government separate why do Republicans disagree with them? Base your votes on your personal beliefs even if they are based on a dying religion. If, however, you get a tax deduction to preach that religion don't tell others how to vote. It isn't just common sense it is a law that should be being enforced.
And I hope you realize Jesus was INCREDIBLY liberal for his time, and would probably lean towards a liberal outlook nowadays. He would let gays marry, prostitutes be happy... Yet you people hate... God would be so disappointed, if he were real..
What does a single woman raising her child/children on welfare have anything to do with religion? This nation was made great by allowing freedom of religion it does not specify what religion. I was raised in the church I have been baptized & saved, but I chose to turn my back on the church and convert to wicca, because of extremest like yourself. You read and interrupt things the way you or your preacher think the Bible says when in reality it can be taken several different ways. The Bible is confusing and it contradicts itself a million times. Our fore fathers knew this and that's why they set out to remove all religion from politics. Each person should breath a sigh of relief they had the fore sight and the balls to do it!
I think that ANY group that has tax exempt status should stay out of politics. If they wish to discuss topics with their members/people, that's fine, but when that crosses over to endorsing candidates, actively campaigning, or telling others how to vote, then they have a choice..... STOP or LOSE YOUR TAX EXEMPT STATUS!
@LGRepublican - Not as easy as that. This isn't a disagreement, but an explanation.
Churches have a long standing presence as a place of sanctuary.
That is why they have traditionally been polling places.
The concept of moving the polling places elsewhere would be....where?
Can an active building that is used for business take a hit for a couple of weeks, without governmental compensation, for the sake of voting?
Can we afford to upgrade the electrical and safety of empty buildings for the sake of getting out of churches?
Since the churches receive no compensation (other than tax exempt status) for use as polling stations, where does the money come from to rent, remodle, renovate or compensate a business owner for the use of his building?
IMO, I think we sould use public schools only as polling stations. They are placed equidistant in most communities and have large gymnasiums and public service rooms. Certainly for a couple of weeks every other year this could be handled.
I agree that churches SHOULD stay out of politics...but then so SHOULD all fraternal organizations and so SHOULD all teachers, professors and entertainers.
But they never will....because they are all run by humans and all humans have opinions.
As an atheist, I see religion as a PROBLEM in our society. Now of course I trend lightly on this one for the usual reasons here but I will say the GOP needs to kick the Xitian Fundies, Neocons, and the second-coming people to the curb.
What you are advocating is exactly the same kind of bigotry suffered by the African American population. You may not agree with their beliefes but thay are just as worthy of being treated with respect and you or any other human being. Shame on you.
@Realthinker Let me tell how the Republican party works today. "Be Rich (at least $80k year or better)+ Be a Xitiain = Republican else you are a Dem, going to [the bad place] and you're a terrorist." And you're calling me a bigot? You need to really learn how the GOP works.
Bring on the "there is a war against Christianity" people. Seriously religious organizations should lose their tax exempt status if they openly advocate for a candidate in any election. Actually just take away the tax exemption status for all non-profits (including ones I like) allowing deductions for all $ spent in charitable work.(Trying to get new members is not charitable work.) I guarantee you that if you do that churches will start doing more for their community rather then just trying to build a bigger sanctuary.
Of course, nowhere does the Constitution state that religious organizations may not make political staements or even advocate or campaign for a specific candidate. The purpose of the 1st amenment is to protect ALL forms of religious expression from any *interference* from the government. The 1st amendment IS the wall that protects religion FROM the government. It is not the other way around; what we currently have of the government punishing expressions of faith.
Infringement of separation of church and state. The end. Tax those bible busters for once and I don't care what they do. But since Uncle Sam does the big government thing to protect the church.... It just isn't right. Big government to protect certain interests, while pursuing small government.. America!!
There is no such thing as freedom from religion. It would be the ultimate violation of the Constitution since a complete freedom from any religious expression would require the removal of virtually every religious symbol in the country, including steeples on churches or even church, synogogue, or mosque signs. It would require a ban on the wearing of religious jewelry or displays of religious books in stores. It would also require a ban on all religious broadcasting. The people behind this organization just like treatening people and creating mischief, ergo, the Freedon From Religion group is a hate group.
"Freedom from religion" means freedom from "officially-endorsed religion". If the government isn't doing it it doesn't apply, so all those religious symbols are OK as long as they didn't involve tax payer money, or public officials endorsing religion in an official capacity.
@CommonSense I know that is the official "interpretation" of the 1st amendment. Rev. Graham is not publicly supported, so he was well with his rights to take out a newpaper ad and urge the voters to vote Biblical standards. This Freedom From Religion group is trying to silence everyone by threatening lawsuits people cannot afford to defend.
@CommonSense Graham is not the head of a church. The ads were his personal opinion. There is no law against that. Neither is there a law against any religious organization urging it's followers to vote "Biblical values". This "Freedon From Religion Foundation" is merely out to raise money so it can pester still more decent people. Most of their lawsuits are tossed out of court.
Oh stop! Get an atheist to run for president and let him/her proudly proclaim it. Or do you just wanna whine some more? With that said, there is way too much weight being put on a candidate's religion... The pressure is coming from the voters, though... so, even if you made some law that made it illegal for a candidate to mention their faith while campaigning, the People will get that info anyway and emphasize it themselves.
It's fine for churches to be involved in politics, but they should pay their taxes. Look at our deficit and our debt, you really think churches that don't play by the already established rules should keep their tax exempt status?
@CommonSense - I think once a pastor becomes a pundit, he becomes worthless as a spiritual leader... if they are gonna campaign from the pulpit, they should disclose this beforehand to their congregation... and, yes, they shoud be taxed for the time they spend campaigning, or they should do like the rest of us and only campaign outside of our workplace. But I would not take the drastic measure of removing their charitable status with the IRS. Do you know how many employees of nonprofits talk politics during work hours? We just need to levy a fine for those times when they are campaigning instead of doing charitable work... And we would have to prove that they were campaigning and not advocating, which is something all chruches and nonprofits can legally do... but there is a big difference between the two, and that requires a little educating... But preachers who endorse candidates are making a huge mistake... I would not go to a church that campaigned from the pulpit.
@CommonSense - The same law that prohibits churches from campaigning also prohibit 501c3 nonprofits from campaigning. They can advocate for a cause, but cannot promote or oppose a candidate. There is plenty of politics talked about by charity workers... it is necessary because they exist due to cauises and political impact on those they serve... but the moment they mention a candidate's name, they have crossed the line to campaigning, which would require a charity to give up their 501c3 status and apply for another for a 501c4 status, thereby giving up alot of financial support and certain tax breaks...
First, Billy Graham has meet with every president and presidential candidate since forever so it hasn't seemed to change much. Secondly, these guys steam me, but since America as we know it is going to he11 in a handbasket anyhow, fine, let's get rid of God, any mention of God, all religions and all ethics pertaining to religions and all the good that pertains to religion and just go totally Godless like good Communists. Best way to institute Communism is first to take away all other beliefs. Fine, New Zealand is looking better and better.
You are right, Billy Graham has met, counseled and prayed with every president on both sides since Harry Truman...Atheists want attention, it's nothing more than that, I argued with them for several months and you will never reason with them..I think that the fact we are indeed living in a society that is forcing any, and all religions out of America, is pretty obvious. We are living in a country that is imploding...I don't care if they believe in God or not, they will know if He exists the minute they breathe their last breath. Look at any communist country, none believe in God, and they are the most miserable places in the world...
@mimi57 Your points are well made and that's why so many find God, in prison. The sweetest thing is that even if they don't believe in God, God believes in them, that's why we were all given free choice, not dictated to. Communism is bleak, no other word for it, as soon as a country goes totally Communism, one for all and all for one, the first thing to happen is shortages of everything and because cream will always rise to the top, the top leaders will have the best food, housing and amenities. This is stark proof that pure communism cannot and will not ever work. Greed is too strong of an emotion to overcome. The greedy will always find a way to get what they want, at the expense of everyone else, mainly because they tend to be so egocentric. All I, Me and Mine. They make GREAT Communists.
@Tralee My sons ancestors are Russian. He and his wife adopted a Russian baby boy, we went with them. Moscow's Red Square is beautiful, however, the further from the city you get the worse the poverty. The orphanages are referred to as" Child dumps" and one or two women care for 50-60 babies...the kids play with dog toys. It is a horrific environment for children. Alcoholism is epidemic, and most of the people look defeated. It is a Godless country, and though they say Communism no longer exists, one would never know it to look at the country or it's people..You get the overall feeling that it is indeed a Godless country, there are some Churches, however, they appear to be isolated and scattered, none are really convenient...Sad country, sad people...
@mimi57 How very sad, and with Putin back in power only the blind will not see what is down the road for these people. I am reading the Ken Follet trilogy, the first was "Fall of Giants" about the lead up to and during WWI, the second, which I just finished is called "Winter of the World" about the end of WWI and the lead up to and during WWII to about 1948 or 49. It was excellent, I totally recommend it, but it gave great insight into just how Hitler accomplished his takeover of Germany and I was just a bit scary. It also told the story of Russia and the rise of Stalin (slightly crazy!) and the disillusionment of one of the top Russian officers. Too many similarities to discount. I recommend both as very enlightening. Another good one is the non-fiction book, "Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson. That is about the American Ambassador to Germany during the rise of Hitler, very informative and well written.
Seeing that no one believes in God anymore, I don't see why it should matter anymore if a church campaigns or endorses a candidate.
If God, in the minds of the Atheist is fiction, then the values of those who believe in God shouldn't held to different standards then a homsexual advocacy group who believes their moral values are superior.
Churches should pay their taxes and be done with it.
Religion is about belief in a higher power, saving your soul, and values. None of which applies to politicians... They believe they are the higher power, sold their souls long ago, and values!? Please!
They are under a similar tax free umbrella when considering their tax free status. But non-profits have more rules and accountability about how much of the money they take versus how much has to go out in the form of charity and mission they have. Churches on the other hand have less restrictions. For instance - The Mormon Church only set aside less than 2% of the money they took in for outside charity work. The rest went where? I dunno, but that is a good question I think.
@Tralee - "Most non-profits do not pay taxes. Political ones do"
........ Really? Heritage Foundation and the US chamber of Commerce are both tax exempt political organizations. Maybe because they are both extremely political and extremely Conservative organizations caused you to not mention them? There are others, more than a few.