Thursday, August 6, 2009

Conservative churches not satisfied with IRS decision

Posted By on Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 11:01 AM

Contrary to popular belief, in some circles, political leanings and religious belief are not one and the same. The founders intended the church and the state to be kept separate. (Just look to Iran if you wonder why.)

Back in the fall of 2008, the conservative Christian group the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) organized "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," a sort-of civil disobedience event for which pastors were encouraged to use their pulpits to endorse John McCain and challenge IRS regulations prohibiting such political activity by tax-exempt institutions. Now, in a somewhat surprising move, the IRS has informed some of the several dozen churches that participated that they are no longer under investigation.You might think this would please those who stood to lose their tax-exempt status. Oh, no. Disappointed, the ADF has announced plans to hold another Pulpit Freedom Sunday on September 27, in the hopes of more successfully baiting the IRS.

In a letter to pastors notifying them that it is dropping the more recent investigation, the IRS has cited a "procedural problem" in going forward. It's unclear what that might be. But it was an open secret among religious conservatives that Pulpit Freedom Sunday would provide a handy Plan B in the event of Obama's election: If the IRS acted as expected and revoked the churches' status, they could then declare that "Obama's IRS" was muzzling pastors in their pulpits. For whatever reason, the administration has not given them that easy talking point just yet.

Read more from TIME Magazine's "Swampland" blog.

How did the Founding Fathers feel about the separation of church and state? Obviously, they weren't for it, or they would have created a state church while they were busy laying down the laws of the land.

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