Via Pam at Pandagon, the religious right, led by the Alliance Defense Fund, is actively challenging the law that says pastors can't endorse political candidates from the pulpit.

The effort by the Arizona-based legal consortium is designed to trigger an IRS investigation that ADF lawyers would then challenge in federal court. The ultimate goal is to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out a 54-year-old ban on political endorsements by tax-exempt houses of worship.

“For so long, there has been this cloud of intimidation over the church,” ADF attorney Erik Stanley said. “It is the job of the pastors of America to debate the proper role of church in society. It’s not for the government to mandate the role of church in society.”
For starters, I want to acknowledge that we're talking about a relatively small percentage of the total churches in the US who are pushing this issue. But they're a loud group, with some pretty far out positions. They're Dominionists, whose primary goal is to replace the system of government we have with a religious one, with themselves as the leaders of the government. Yes, fascism in this case is flying the cross. So I don't want there to be any misunderstanding--I'm not going after all churches.

And I have a reason for that. Most churches in the US understand the deal that the First Amendment provides for them. The contract is that the government doesn't try to establish a state church and doesn't try to interfere in the church's internal business--even to the point where churches are tax-exempt institutions--and in return, churches don't try to run the government.

This doesn't mean that religious people can't run for office--there's a difference between individuals and churches, after all. Personally, I think we'd be a lot better off as a nation if there were more un-religious people in office, but that's just my opinion. What it means is that in return for the government staying out of church business, the church agrees to stay out of government, and the government has sweetened the deal with tax exemptions. Now, if churches want to back out of their side of the bargain, that's fine with me--they can start paying taxes like everyone else, and I'm sure federal, state and local authorities will gladly start sending out tax bills. But you can't have it both ways.

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