Free Speech For Churches
More than 50 years ago, then-Senator Lyndon Johnson (later President) slipped in an amendment to a tax bill that altered the ability of our religious leaders to speak out on the issues of the day. Because if this almost unnoticed and un-debated amendment the current tax code says that houses of worship risk losing their tax-exempt status if they engage in any activity that might be perceived as partisan voter education. As a result, religious leaders have been restricted in their ability to educate their congregations on moral and political issues like same-sex ‘marriage' and abortion during a campaign season due to the threat of penalties by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). There are many tax-exempt organizations (even Political ones) that do not have this same restriction, only Churches do. Why? This is a clear violation of the principle of separation of church and state. The idea of separation of church and state stemmed from the desire to keep the state out of the church, not the church out of the state. The hope was to ensure freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.
This idea has spread throughout Europe, which makes one believe it was an agenda of the New World Order people. The idea of a one world government and its humanistic agenda, suffered from one problem and that was the power of Churches, who when united can influence most of the world's population. But if they (the Churches) are silenced, then these humanists can take over the governments, the schools, the courts, even the militaries. And if you look at what has happened world wide over the past 50 years plus, you will see just that. Minister Joe Wright will spell it out for you as he did to the Kansas Senate.
Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:
"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.
We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it Pluralism.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot anti-abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.
The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest. In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding negatively. His church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa and Korea.
Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, "The Rest of the Story," and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired.
At least in America, something is changing, the Churches are speaking out and loudly about moral issues and even during election time, and be dammed with the threats of IRS law suits. One Congressman is doing something about this.
House of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, H.R.235
Representative Walter Jones, (R- North Carolina, introduced
H.R. 235, the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, in the 109th
Congress in an effort to restore First Amendment protection for religious
leaders. CWA gives it support.
"Under the current tax code, houses of worship risk losing their tax-exempt status if they engage in any activity that might be perceived as partisan voter education," said Lanier Swann, CWA's director of government relations. "As a result, religious leaders have been restricted in their ability to educate their congregations on moral and political issues like same-sex ‘marriage' and abortion during a campaign season due to the threat of penalties by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)."
"Today, CWA's Project 535, a group of women volunteers who commute to Washington, D.C., each month to lobby for pro-family legislation, will be visiting congressional offices to encourage more support for this vital bill," said Swann.
"More than 50 years ago, then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson slipped an amendment on a tax bill that altered the ability of our religious leaders to speak out on the issues of the day. This is a violation of the principle of separation of church and state, and Congressman Jones' proposed legislation seeks to right that wrong. The idea of separation of church and state stemmed from the desire to keep the state out of the church, not the church out of the state. The hope was to ensure freedom of religion, not freedom from religion!"
Concerned Women for America is the nation's largest public policy women's organization.
Priests For Life Founder says:
a priest or minister is preaching the Word of God, would you agree that he
should be free in this country to say what needs to be said in order to apply
that Word of God to the circumstances of our times? That's exactly what Martin
Luther King, Jr.
thought, and he said this the night before he was assassinated: "It's alright to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God's preacher must talk about the new New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis,
"The Second Vatican Council also defended the freedom of the preacher in these words in the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: "...At all times and in all places, the Church should have the true freedom to teach the faith, to proclaim its teaching about society, to carry out its task among men without hindrance, and to pass moral judgment even in matters relating to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it" (GS 76).
"But in 1954, this freedom was threatened when Lyndon Johnson introduced an amendment into the tax code to protect himself from anti-communist groups that were threatening his re-election. Johnson was not targeting Churches, but his action affected
them, because the amendment said that tax-exempt groups could not intervene in political campaigns. This amendment to the tax code was inserted without hearings or debate; it was done literally within a few minutes.
"Now, many bishops, priests, and ministers are confused and intimidated about "preaching about politics," to the point that some Church attorneys even gave legal advice in the last election cycle saying that Churches should not quote the President talking about the "Culture of Life," because, after all, he was running for re-election.
a piece of legislation has been re-introduced in Congress to restore some sanity
to the situation. The Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act (HR 235)
will protect the contents of the sermons and religious teachings delivered in
Churches by insuring that such content does not become the basis for challenging a Church's tax-exempt status.
"Freedom of speech is a bedrock of our Republic. It takes on an even greater dimension when considered in the context of Churches. Those who preach and teach the Word of God are carrying out a mission not given to them by an earthly authority,
but rather entrusted to them by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The content of a sermon or religious teaching, therefore, has to be protected in order to insure that religion can be freely and properly exercised, that the preacher can fulfill the sacred
duties to which he is solemnly committed, and that the congregation can receive the clear and robust teaching of their religion, free of distortion, dilution, or apology.
"That's why each of us should contact our Representative in Congress and urge support for HR 235, the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act."
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Rep. Jones' had a press conference today, March 3, 2005, on Capitol Hill when he introduced his bill.
Speakers included Senators Sam Brownback, (R-Kansas) and Tom Coburn, (R-Okla.),
Rep. Joe Pitts, (R-Pa.), Chairman of the House Values Action Team and
Congressman Mike Pence, (R-Ind.), Chairman of the House Republican Study
Committee and a number of minority pastors who also support this commonsense
The Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act of 2005 amends the Internal Revenue Code to protect churches from losing their tax-exempt status because of the content, preparation, or presentation of any homily, sermon, teaching, dialectic, or other presentation made during religious services or gatherings. Rep. Jones' bill will permit church leaders to express personal views on political matters or elections during regular religious services without violating campaign finance laws, as long as such views are not disseminated beyond the members and guests assembled at such services.
The President of Christian Coalition of America, Roberta Combs said, "It is long past due for Congress to pass a law giving clergy the freedom to educate their congregations on the issues such as protecting traditional marriage and to inform them as to how their elected officials vote on such issues. Christian Coalition commends Congressman Walter Jones for his determination to pass critically-needed legislation."
John Paul II says the new evil is political
John Paul II writes that "in our times evil has developed outside all limits. The evil of the 20th Century was of gigantic proportions, an evil that used state structures to carry out its dirty work, it was evil transformed into a system. --- "anti-evangelical currents" strike at the foundations of human morality, "influencing the family and promoting a morally permissive outlook: divorce, free love, abortion, contraception, the fight against life in its initial phases and in its final phase, the manipulation of life." He pointed to Eastern Europe as upholding the faith and fingered the West as having institutionalized the "ideology of evil" (including through homosexual marriage) and lamented that man has "remained alone: alone as creator of his own history and his own civilization; alone as one who decides what is good and what is bad."
Churches can take back governments both local and national and that will be the thrust of Unity Publishing over the next year. Christians, take back your governments.