Pulpit Freedom Sunday Is Once Again Upon Us

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Dr. Wankler, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    This Sunday, pastors from 1300 churches will, in violation of IRS rules, endorse candidates (oh, who am I kidding. Will endorse Mitt Romney). This is the 5th PFS, but this time, many churches will record the precedings and send them to the IRS.

    http://www.speakupmovement.org/Church/LearnMore/details/4702

    At least one conservative minister disagrees ( actually, quite a few do)

    http://www.christiancentury.org/blogs/archive/2012-10/why-pulpit-freedom-sunday-misses-point

    Oh, and it should be clear why it's here and not in the Religion subforum. As far as I can tell, this TNR piece does a pretty good job exposing other problems...

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/107788/churches-obama-tax-us-we-dare-you
     
  2. Cascarino's Pizzeria

    Apr 29, 2001
    New Jersey, USA
    All I have to say is that Obama the Centrist probably could sic the IRS on these churches, but he'd never do it. They basically can say whatever the hell they want nowadays without worry.
     
    bigredfutbol repped this.
  3. argentine soccer fan

    Staff Member

    Jan 18, 2001
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina

    What do you make of this?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/22/rabbis-for-obama-launch-e_n_1822724.html

    And what do you make of this?

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/28/first-lady-implores-black-churchgoers-to-get-political/

    And this...?
    http://wpln.org/?p=38710



    As far as using religion for politics, is it only wrong when Republicans do it?
     
    Mr. Conspiracy, Moishe and Ismitje repped this.
  4. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc Member+

    Sep 7, 1999
    First time posting here I see.
     
    Mr. Conspiracy and soccernutter repped this.
  5. soccernutter

    soccernutter Moderator
    Staff Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    Aug 22, 2001
    Don't drink beer but like cheese
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Not around here, at least in parts. I would actually be amused to attend the various churches to see who gets endorsed by whom, if it is done.
     
  6. Cascarino's Pizzeria

    Apr 29, 2001
    New Jersey, USA
    I think you're confusing the encouragement of people getting involved with the political process with pastors, priests or rabbis saying "vote for ___" There is a big difference.

    The Catholic church tries to dance around this by saying "vote for the pro family (hate teh gays) and pro child (luv the fetuses) candidates" I don't take voting advice from people who don't actually have families or children and have actually harmed more real, born children than just about anyone.
     
  7. Barbara

    Barbara BigSoccer Supporter

    Apr 29, 2000
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    There's a difference between those things you posted and ministers actually politicking from the pulpit with the express purpose of taunting the IRS.
     
    Auriaprottu repped this.
  8. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Edit:
    Edit: Already covered.

    Participating in politics in the public square is the right of all people, religious or not. And as one of the links I posted pointed out, ministers CAN treat politics as doctrine from the pulpit, BUT then they are supposed to forfeit their tax exempt status.

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/107788/churches-obama-tax-us-we-dare-you

    Glenn Beck, who has trumpeted the Pulpit Freedom cause in the past few years, held a tele-conference on Tuesday night that was sponsored by CatholicVote.org. According to a Commonweal magazine reporter who was on the call, Beck said there should be no limits on what priests and other religious leaders can say about politics, telling listeners: “If priests can’t speak out on public issues, then what’s the Church good for?”

    Let’s consider this claim. In order to believe that churches are being censored by the government, you have to accept that religious organizations have not only the right to engage in partisan speech and activities but also the right to be exempt from federal taxes and the right to accept donations that are tax-deductible. There simply is no constitutional right that covers the latter. The tax-exempt status for churches is a monetary benefit given to them by the government, as is the rule allowing individuals to deduct their contributions to religious organizations.

    It’s quite simple. If a church wants to endorse a candidate and engage in campaign activities, there are absolutely no restrictions preventing it from doing so. But it must pay federal taxes, and its donors cannot deduct their contributions. Additionally, a pastor can preach about same-sex marriage or immigration reform or abortion or economic justice. But he cannot tell parishioners that they must support a particular candidate because of their views on one of those issues. Thechurches involved in Pulpit Sunday want to have it both ways. They want to use tax-deductible donations to participate in campaigns, and no doubt there are plenty of political donors who would prefer to deduct their political contributions by sending them through religious organizations..​


    This is part of the problem: it further corrupts the political system by turning political contributions into "charitable" contributions. And when Stephen Colbert was interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air, he pointed out a second, and to me great risk: the door that opens to allow pulpit preaching to pass as politics swings both ways, and soon you risk politicing passing as religion, and that has never, ever resulted in anything good.

    So to answer your question: it's bad when anyone does it, regardless of party. I'm not that concerned with religion damaging politics. I'm very concerned what open political participation does to religion.
     
    luftmensch, taosjohn and GiuseppeSignori repped this.
  9. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This Sunday will be a great Sunday to be ELCA. We're gonna talk about Jesus and shit.
    Wow. This disease that Schapes is carrying has gotten to roadkit, and appears to have infected our moderator.
     
  10. argentine soccer fan

    Staff Member

    Jan 18, 2001
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina
    I am not confusing anything. What I was trying to point out was merely that people tend to be selective in terms of the news they post. I didn't expect somebody to go as far as to actually try to justify one party over the other in terms of using religion to promote a particular political party or candidate. But I guess I was wrong, you actually do try to justify one side over the other when they do the same thing. Do you really think that what I linked to was "the encouragement of people getting involved in the political process"?

    Sure, you can perhaps try to split hairs and say that "Rabbis for Obama" are endorsing Obama as individuals, not as Rabbis, but even the name of the group itself contradicts that. And when, for example, at the AME convention -apparently timed to coincide with the elections years btw- Bishop Larry Kirkland enthusiastically brings up Obama and health care to the chorus of Hallelujahs and then breaks into "Victory Shall be Ours", you are very naive if you think that he's not promoting politics under the guise of religious worship. Or are you going to tell me that he actually means spiritual victory?

    I think this is the right answer. Politics from the church harms the political process and it also harms the religious experience. (And I don't mean fighting for civil rights or giving opinions on moral issues that are also debated politically, but fighting for specific candidates or political parties.) I find it distasteful regardless of whether it's done by those I agree with or by those I disagree with.

    The good news is that many Christian ministers and religious leaders from other religions will agree with this, and refrain from politicking. But you'll find that many liberal preachers do not agree with this point any more than many conservative preachers do. There are religious leaders who do see part of their role as a political role, and I suppose if that's what they believe, then maybe it's less hypocritical to openly protest and defy the law as the OP describes than to try to hide under hair splitting technicalities and still do the same thing.
     
  11. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Are you being intentionally obtuse? "Rabbis for Obama" do not have a designated national day of violating IRS guidelines. In order to say "The other side does it too," the other side, you know, has to do 'it.'

    EDIT: OK, that was too harsh. But IMHO this is really about an organization thumbing its nose at tax law.
     
    argentine soccer fan repped this.
  12. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I think ASF raises a valid point. And I agree endorsing from the pulpit is wrong regardless of what party it benefits because in any case the purpose of the service is violated. And not just because it violates the IRS code. I agree with the evangelical minister in the link I posted, and I suspect you do, too. at least to some extent.

    I preach real politics--Jesus, cross, resurrection, church, kingdom-- and I refuse to substitute such proclamation for second-rate presidential endorsements. The gospel is about Jesus and nothing less. If the gospel becomes less than that from the pulpit, it is not the gospel; and those entrusted with the message are responsible and accountable for what they say. It is a dangerous thing to lead people away from the kingdom politics of Jesus, and political endorsements from the pulpit do just that.

    Barack Obama may win a second term as president. Mitt Romney may win a first. Whatever the outcome of the election, Jesus will still be Lord just as he has always been. On the Sunday after the election, I will be proclaiming the same gospel I did the Sunday before.


    One of the things I like about being Catholic: this Sunday will be Respect Life Sunday, and there will be some parts of the homily that sound awfully Republican. But other Sundays will come along, and the other aspects of the Church's social teaching will be featured, and those will strike people as awfully Democratic. Right now, the some Bishops are on record as not wanting to offend Republicans. But most priests and deacons who do the day to day preaching are a lot more like the guy quoted above.
     
  13. Cascarino's Pizzeria

    Apr 29, 2001
    New Jersey, USA
    Where's that Catholic Church hiding?

    The "vote for the person who respects life..hint-hint" stuff has happened in several dioceses this year and if you recall they gave John Kerry a hard time for being pro-choice. What is almost ALWAYS missing with this crop of JPII butt buddies is the disdain for pro-death penalty pols or those who support torture. If they actually refused communion to RC pols who support the DP, I'd say they're being even-handed. They're not doing that.

    Just one example

    http://articles.cnn.com/2009-11-22/...ps-support-rep-patrick-kennedy?_s=PM:POLITICS
     
  14. argentine soccer fan

    Staff Member

    Jan 18, 2001
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina
    I don't think I'm being obtuse. But I should clarify that when I was talking about the rabbis "splitting hairs" I was not responding to an argument or information I saw here, but rather to an argument that was being developed at the Huffington Post, claiming that the rabbis posture was acceptable because they were endorsing Obama as individuals and not as rabbis, and that they were not necesarily going to use their synagogues as political venues.

    So, they would have us believe that the rabbis are not going to use their position as rabbis, when in fact even the name of the organization is referring to the fact that they are rabbis as a way to influence the Jewish vote by highlighting their position as religious leaders. I'd say to make that argument is obtuse at worse and extremely naive at best.

    As I said, I strongly disagree with religious leaders using their position to promote politics, and I find what the OP describes very distasteful and very harmful to both the political process and the religious experience. However, if some religious leaders do take the dubious -IMHO- view that it's their right or duty to have a role in politics, and if they are going to actually get involved, it does strike to me as at least a bit less dishonest to actually openly defy the law in protest than to try to split hairs and claim that you're not doing what you are obviously doing.
     
  15. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I can respect this point of view, but I still think the distinction matters. Put it this way--I think public school teachers should be allowed to organize and lobby politicians as teachers. I do not think they should be allowed to advocate political positions in the classroom.
     
    tomwilhelm and taosjohn repped this.
  16. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    That's why I said "priests and deacons" (I should have included the nuns too). It's interesting, though, when the Bishops decide to get tough on a politician, they get confrontational in public with Obama, not Republicans. But here's a link to an article about the Bishops on the GOP budget proposals that they didn't promote as much.

    http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-063.cfm
     
  17. argentine soccer fan

    Staff Member

    Jan 18, 2001
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina
    While I agree that ethically teachers should not use their classroom for advancing politics, I would also submit that teachers are in a very different category than religious leaders. Of course, I also believe that the odds that the "rabbis for Obama" are not involving their synagogues in politics are astronomical. But maybe you see it differently.
     
  18. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    They might be. But our former priest was a strong union guy who showed up at marches and strikes, marched in labor day parades etc. From the pulpit? You'd never know. Of course, that's because, had he put an especially pro labor spin on the social teaching, the Bishop would've been buried under letters and Emails of complaint.
     
  19. argentine soccer fan

    Staff Member

    Jan 18, 2001
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina
    I think showing up at Union marches is different. But how would you feel if your priest started an organization called Catholic Priests for Obama/Romney, appeared with the candidate publicly as a priest and actively campaigned for him?
     
  20. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I wasn't thrilled about Cardinal Dolan offering a prayer to the RNC. I wasn't too thrilled about Sister Simone addressing the Democrats. I don't think it's a good idea because, as in the post I quoted above suggests, it diminishes their callings.

    As far as pulpit Sunday, though, I don't think it's honest at all. Like the New Republic blogger points out, it is likely to be used to make political contributions look "charitable" and thus be tax deductible.
     
  21. argentine soccer fan

    Staff Member

    Jan 18, 2001
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina
    Yes, I agree.
     
  22. argentine soccer fan

    Staff Member

    Jan 18, 2001
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina
    It's debatable whether the prayer at a political event is appropriate, but I think that's a different argument than the issues you originally brought up, because -if it's limited to praying- the religious figure is performing the role he's meant to perform as a religious figure, rather than using the religious authority of his position to endorse a candidate or political party.
     
  23. ratdog

    ratdog Member+

    Mar 22, 2004
    In the doghouse
    Club:
    Chicago Red Stars
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    How would you feel if all those "churches" who go out of their way to flout the law got what they deserved and had their tax-exempt status yanked?

    I do know that the right-wing echo chamber (you know, those 'law-and-order' types) would have a collective shit fit.
     
  24. HerthaBerwyn

    HerthaBerwyn Member+

    May 24, 2003
    Chicago
    Today I learned that when a priest teaches an alter boy to masturbate its called 'Jack in the Pulpit'
     
  25. The Devil's Architect

    Feb 10, 2000
    The American Steppe
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I hope so.
     

Share This Page