I’ve witnessed the oddest thing in my lifetime—something I never could have imagined.
As a child, I attended an ultra conservative christian school where I was taught about the separation of church and state. The church in these United States of America was to enjoy a freedom from the tyranny of government. The church was to stay out of politics and government was to stay out of the church. To ensure this balance, churches were granted the extraordinary: they didn’t have to pay taxes!
Church, during my childhood, was deeply focused on doing good—specifically, helping people.
But then something new happened: Jerry Falwell created his Moral Majority, claimed the nation was heading to hell, and demanding money, tax-exempt money. Lots and lots of tax exempt money. (Money, power, and the good news of Jesus was a thing of the past.) This quickly morphed into a lucrative, booming, tax-free industry. More such organizations sprang up all over the country when they saw how profitable this was.
Today many, many (ultra-conservative) churches (and the off-shoot organizations they have spawned) care more about politics than they care about people. They care more about dogma than they care about people. They care more about raising money for politicians than they care about people. They research what trigger issues will cause their fearful congregants to open their wallets wide. As I have blogged numerous times in the past (see “Other related posts here @ tt.us:”) their actions speak very loudly: they are impotent when it comes to helping real people with real problems in the real world, and their political and fundraising activity distracts attention from this fact. Tragically, these people don’t know how to actually minister and serve!
In the past three election cycles I know of churches that have breeched the separation of church and state. They have used their pulpits to advocate for specific political causes and candidates. Their blatant efforts to function illegally are at a feverish pitch with 117,000 churches actively and knowingly banning together to defy the law of the land in this last election. Without doubt, this blatant illegal activity is unacceptable.
It’s time to stop them.
It’s time to defund them.
It’s time to tax them as the political organizations they have become.
I think of the horribly disrespectful way Franklin Graham has disgraced the good name of his father, Billy Graham, who stayed completely out of the political fray his entire life. But now that he suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, suddenly (and in all probability completely without his understanding) he endorsed Mitt Romney and took out a full page ad against marriage equality? I think not! (Franklin, don’t even try!)
I say it’s time to tax the Graham organization, and Franklin Graham needs to lose his funding. He has broken his father’s and the nation’s trust.
He’s not the only one. He’s just highly visible. For more examples, you can read the following posts:
- GOP, You Want to Know Why You Lost the Election? Because You Could Not Count on Evangelicals Like Me
- Billy Graham Group, Catholic Bishops Come Under Scrutiny For Blurring Election Lines
- Freedom From Religion Foundation Sues IRS Over Political Activity By Churches, Religious Groups
The culture wars are over, and the ultra-conservatives lost. They can choose to live their lives any way they want as long as they are not hurting other people, forcing others to live by their narrow lifestyle of choice, or interjecting themselves into pulpit politics. The sooner they are taxed, the sooner they die off, the sooner the church can get back to doing all of the things that Jesus Christ actually did talk about his followers doing: enacting social justice for everyone. (I don’t recall him ever saying a single word about abortion or gay people.)
This family proudly financially supports efforts to maintain the separation of church and state, and we will continue to do so until this horrible national scourge is dismantled! Our freedom from religious tyranny is at stake.
- IRS Not Enforcing Rules On Separation Of Church And State (huffingtonpost.com)
- How US churches exploit tax exemption to promote faith-based politics | Katherine Stewart (guardian.co.uk)
- Atheist Group Sues IRS Over Defiant Churches’ Tax Exempt Political Speech (addictinginfo.org)
- “Pulpit Freedom Sunday”: Hypocritical Preachers Attack the Separation of Church and State While Benefitting from the Separation of Church and State (slog.thestranger.com)
- Evangelist Franklin Graham Claims ‘Complete Economic Collapse’ May Be Needed To Fix America (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- IRS surrenders: Time for churches to get ‘political’ (wnd.com)
- Billy Graham speaks with his own voice, son Franklin says (wcnc.com)