Wednesday, 01 October 2008
by mr oak
I was reading biblerapture's post about the 30 pastors who are fighting a tax code law that prohibits them from conducting political campaign activities to influence elections. We talked about this briefly in a previous post as it pertained to presidential candidates.
But how about this - according to one site, "For a 501c3 church to openly speak out, or organize in opposition to, anything that the government declares "legal," even if it is immoral (e.g. abortion, homosexuality, etc.), that church will jeopardize its tax exempt status."
Wait, wait, wait a minute - this sounds like merely talking about abortion and homosexuality during service will jeopardize a church's tax exempt status! Granted this sounds like a stretch of the code...
Pass the Aura says this:
According to the IRS, any 501(c)3 exempt church or organization is totally free to talk about whatever political topic they want to talk about, and to lobby to change laws!! (As long as it's not a "substantial part" of their activities, i.e. they're not a political organization masquerading as a church, and they don't make it their business to campaign for specific candidates.)
In other words, this whole "issue" is not an issue. Your pastor's freedom of speech is quite secure, as is your church's tax exemption. It's a complete misunderstanding (or misrepresentation) of the relevant tax laws and ought to be considered an urban legend.
Nevertheless what if this was true - what if pastors are refraining from certain topics because of the law? What would you think if your pastor did this?