Saturday, September 11, 2004

GOP renews push to lift IRS 'muzzle'=The Hill.com=

GOP renews push to lift IRS 'muzzle'=The Hill.com=:

According to the website posted in connection with this, Montana's Denny Rehberg has signed on to this bill which would enable the preachers of Montana and the rest of the country to tell their congregations that God wants them to vote for one candidate or another, quite possibly Denny. And we thought it was only George W. Bush who thought God spoke through him. It would seem to me that Rehberg, who the last I knew sleeps in his office at taxpayer expense rather than rent a place in D.C. where he can put his feet up at his own expense rather than the taxpayers', should disqualify himself from voting on this as being a conflict of interest.

No matter what anyone says about free speech, this would violate the constitutional separation between church and state. How can they render to God what is God's when they're busy rendering to Caesar? We've already seen the Catholic bishops trying to influence the election. And we know that even without preaching, pastors are sure to be talking politics.

I think that preachers should be able to talk politics if they wish. However, if they do it from the pulpit, the church is then engaging in the secular life and should, as a result, pay taxes for that privilege. I have to. Other organizations I belong to have to. Why not churches? Are we not subsidizing churches with this kind of free pass? At the least, they should put the time down as campaign contributions and pay taxes on their worth. Of course, that might be zero.

According to the website below, Wyoming's Barbara Cubin has also signed on to this piece of unconstitutional action.

You can find the link here at: http://www.hr235.org/view/article.asp?id=400-2003-07-04-59571-03

6 Comments:

Blogger bedrocktruth said...

"However, if they do it from the pulpit, the church is then engaging in the secular life and should, as a result, pay taxes for that privilege."

How do you square this, Chuck, with the fact that the ACLU not only avoids taxes as a "nonprofit" organization but receives millions in federal subsidies?

Is the ACLU not, "in secular life"? Do they not have a decided, and pointed, political agenda?

5:49 AM  
Blogger Chuck Rightmire said...

Bedrock, I had thought I would not bother to answer your trolling any more since you seem to ignore reasonable comments. However, this last one is factually incorrect. The ACLU is not a religious organization, it is a non-profit that operates under a different set of rules. It's employees, for instance, cannot opt out of paying social security and medicare taxes. If it was to earn a profit, it would have to pay taxes on it. If I buy a membership in the ACLU, I cannot deduct that from my taxes because the ACLU is a lobbying organization. If churches want to lobby or influence politics, then they should also be prepared to pay for it. Donations become non-deductible. If I give to the ACLU Foundation, which is an educational group and has to prove it each year to the feds, then it is tax deductible. But they don't advocate from that foundation.

11:40 AM  
Blogger bedrocktruth said...

"If I give to the ACLU Foundation, which is an educational group and has to prove it each year to the feds, then it is tax deductible. But they don't advocate from that foundation."

And this is where it gets all fuzzed up Chuck. Frankly it appears to be a dodge whereby they can qualify as a tax deductible organization and still carry on all the political and advocacy activities they want, as well as qualify for federal funds.

I wish I had time to really get into this. If a church was doing it, you'd call it phony as hell, I believe......

12:38 PM  
Blogger Chuck Rightmire said...

I doubt it. I might not like it, but I couldn't fault it. The IRS, which monitors these groups rather closely as I happen to know, is pretty careful about monitoring groups which have lobbying sides and education sides. It well be a dodge, but perhaps making churches tax exempt is also a dodge that violates, in the same way, the First Amendment.

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