PEEK

Conservatives to Provoke Confrontation with IRS Over Clergy Endorsements

The religious right wants to defy the IRS code that requires churches to fore go making partisan political endorsements.
The gall of the religious right never ceases to amaze. Time and again, they demonstrate that hypocrisy is an essential element of their ideology. While many of these zealots frequently demonstrate their willingness to preach one thing and do another, their latest endeavor seems determined to take it to a whole new level.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a legal advocate for the right wing, is calling on churches to voice their positions on political candidates en masse on September 28th in order to create the grounds to challenge the constitutionality of the current tax code. As it now stands, the IRS guidelines prohibit churches from directly endorsing or rejecting political candidates in order to maintain their tax exempt status. The ADF wants to overturn the provision on the grounds that it circumvents their First Amendment rights and is therefore unconstitutional.

From The Washington Post:
The Alliance Defense Fund, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., will ask the clergy to deliver a sermon about specific candidates Sept. 28. If the action triggers an IRS investigation, the legal group will sue to overturn the federal rules, which were enacted in 1954.
Under the IRS code, churches can distribute voter guides, run voter registration drives, hold forums on public policy and invite politicians to speak at their congregations.
However, they cannot endorse a candidate, and their political activity cannot be biased for or against a candidate, directly or indirectly.
The Alliance Defense Fund said Friday that the regulations amount to an unconstitutional limit on free speech and government intrusion into religion.
From WorldNetDaily:
"Churches have for too long feared the loss of tax exempt status arising from speech in the pulpit addressing candidates for office," the ADF's white paper on the campaign confirmed. "Rather than risk confrontation, pastors have self-censored their speech, ignoring blatant immorality in government and foregoing the opportunities to praise moral government leaders.
"ADF believes that IRS restrictions on religious expression from the pulpit, whenever the IRS characterizes it as 'political,' is unconstitutional. After 50 years of threats and intimidation, churches should confront the IRS directly and reclaim the expressive rights guaranteed to them in the United States Constitution," the group said.
"The intimidation of churches by leftist groups using the IRS has grown to a point that ADF has no choice but to respond," said Erik Stanley, senior counsel for the ADF. "The number of threats being reported to ADF is growing because of the aggressive campaign to unlawfully silence the church.
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