Over 1,000 conservative churches across the U.S. participated in October 7th’s “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” to endorse GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, and protest a 1954 Internal Revenue Service regulation banning direct endorsements of political candidates from tax-exempt religious institutions — even though these churches are perfectly free to endorse whomever they want, as long as they stop claiming tax-exempt status. The annual event has gained traction since launched in 2008 by Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious ‘free speech’ advocacy group which apparently believes that the bigoted, homophobic, evolution and climate change-denying, pro-GOP ‘free speech’ of conservative Christians should be funded by U.S. tax payers.
Addicting Info has previously covered the issue of inappropriate political speech being delivered from church pulpits — most recently in Lorelei’s “The IRS Is Toothless: Churches Will Continue To Freely Meddle In Politics,” and Wendy Gittleson’s “Catholic Bishop: Your Soul Could Be At Stake, But I’m Not Telling You Who To Vote For” — as the right-wing churches grow increasingly bold. Apparently, the priests’ and pastors’ frustration at being ignored by the IRS year after year has compelled them to enter the proverbial lion’s den and actually send snail mail tapes and printouts of their sermons to the IRS.
An October 4th Washington Post article speculates that the churches will continue getting away with their defiance, because in 2009, “the U.S. District Court of Minnesota ruled the IRS no longer had the appropriate staff to investigate places of worship after a reorganization changed who in the agency had the authority to launch investigations.” In other words, conservative legislators can cut back on IRS staffing by enacting draconian budget cuts; their constituent churches can flagrantly violate the federal tax code, and conservative judges will then rule in the churches’ favor because the IRS no longer has enough staff? As Saturday Night Live comedian, Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady” character used to say, “How conVEENient!”
For a video of Pastor Jim Garlow of the Skyline Church in San Diego, CA ‘sticking it to the (IRS) man,’ during the 5th annual “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” see the video below:
To sign a petition to the President of the United States to “Revoke the tax-exempt status of ‘political’ churches” on Change.Org, click here.