A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pastors Double-Dog Dare the IRS... Will it soon be a Triple-Dog Dare?

From Christianity Today:
When Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, endorsed presidential candidate Rick Perry on his church's website in October, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State promptly asked the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an investigation.

Since passage of the Johnson Amendment in 1954, churches "may not participate in, or intervene in … any political campaign," according to the IRS.

Churches that don't comply could lose their tax-exempt status.
I have to confess, I have a difficult time getting worked up over this one, and I have little interest or sympathy with both sides wondering why they even bother.

It is beyond me why any pastor would publicly endorse any candidate for president or any other political office. As a pastor I have more important things to do with my time than to spend one minute of it endorsing any politician, let alone stump for her or him.

It also defies logic why Americans United for Separation for Church and State even care. Trust me when I say that most of Rev. Jeffress' parishioners don't care who their pastor thinks they should vote for. Most of them have likely already made up their minds anyway. Too many people in the public eye, whether clergy or celebrities or commentators think they are more influential than they really are. Recent surveys suggest that most pastors and church goers side with neither side.

About 85 percent of Protestant pastors believe the IRS should stay out of policing sermon content, according to an August survey by LifeWay Research. Yet a 2010 survey found that the same majority believe that pastors should not endorse candidates from the pulpit, said president Ed Stetzer.

I'm going to put this one in my apathy file.


Bruce Hitchcock said...

Alan, agreed for the most part. Don't like the IRS attempting to police pulpit content. They have no right to do so.

Jim Jensen said...

Agreed. That said, I think Alan is right--the pulpit isn't the place for endorsing candidates. Issues like gambling and health care for the poor, yes. Candidates, no.