Saturday, September 13, 2008

ADF's Actual Statement: You be the Judge

September 9, 2008
You may be aware of a special project we’re undertaking here at the Alliance Defense Fund, culminating in an event on Sunday, September 28 called Pulpit Freedom Sunday. We are excited about this opportunity that will, God-willing, give us the opportunity to restore now missing aspects of the First Amendment to our nation’s spiritual leaders. It’s no surprise that not everyone agrees and we have recently come under attack.

Many Americans’ attitudes and actions toward slavery, child labor, civil rights, and even the American Revolution itself started in the pews of our nation’s churches. As pastors preached and taught Biblical principles related to those issues and evaluated the politicians who promoted or decried them, their parishioners could decide their own stance in light of Scripture. Starting in 1954, that most basic right was ripped away from our pulpits.

The U.S. Congress amended IRS Code 501(c)3 without debate or analysis to restrict the speech of non-profit tax exempt entities, including churches. So, for the last 54 years, out of fear of losing their tax-exempt status, our nation’s pastors and priests have largely remained silent. Rather than risk confrontation, pastors have often self-censored their speech, ignoring blatant immorality in government and too often pronouncing their aversion from speaking about public policy. Those pastors who have longed to be relevant to society, to preach the Gospel in a way that has meaning in modern America, have studiously ignored much that has gone on in every tumultuous election season lest they drew wrath from the IRS.

On Pulpit Freedom Sunday, pastors from 20 states will reclaim their constitutional right. From the pulpit, they will advise their congregation what scripture says about today’s issues apply those issues to the candidates standing for election just like their forefathers did for 150 years. This week, the Washington Post reported opposition to Pulpit Freedom Sunday spearheaded by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. You can read that article by clicking here. (You can read a response to that article from ADF Attorney Erik Stanley by clicking here.) Those who oppose us publicly demand “separation of church and state” when it suits their agenda. They claim to defend “free speech,” when, actually, they want the government to monitor, censor, and control what happens in our churches and punish those whose speech violates their dark vision for America’s future.

At ADF, we do not welcome attacks but understand they will come as we humbly seek to do God’s will to defend these pastors who love God and want to serve Him. We expect complaints will be made to the IRS. We will pray and stand firm. We will represent these pastors should they come under fire and we will fight this battle all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary. It is just that important. As theologian Dr. John Frame notes, initiatives of this type are part and parcel of our constitutional legal system:

“In some systems of law, including the United States, the only way to establish the unconstitutionality of a law is by means of a test case. Someone must break that law, undergo trial, and then use as a defense that the law is unconstitutional. Such test-case lawbreaking is not a violation of the overall system of law… but rather attempts to purify the system by eliminating inappropriate legislation.”

We will fight this battle because it is the right thing to do. Our pastors and priests should be able to use their knowledge of Scripture to advise us in all areas of life, even in politics. By God’s grace, we will win this battle, but we cannot do it alone. We need your prayers, your support and the Lord’s blessing and protection. John 15:5.

One thing the ADF has forgotten apparently----the tax exempt status is derived from the IRS Code---I have one piece of advise for them myself:


No comments: