Insisting Upon Freedom

Lake Park Baptist Church Steeple

Today is Pulpit Freedom Sunday. A growing number of pastors from around the country have committed to speaking freely about political issues and will send video of their messages to the IRS in order to challenge the Johnson Amendment, enacted in 1954.

About the Johnson Amendment – From, by Barbara Ritchie Pond:

“In 1954, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, faced fierce re-election opposition from anti-leftist groups and conservative Christians.  He successfully changed the IRS code, prohibiting non-profits and churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates.  Such language was a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — the law of the land which states,  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…” Johnson’s IRS insertion was then, and is now, a violation of our individual rights of freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion.  Prior to this time, no restrictions on the free speech of church entities and their members existed.  This is all condoned under a false view of Jefferson’s so-called “wall of separation” doctrine.”

Speaking up on Pulpit Freedom Sunday – From more:

“Since its passage in 1954, the Johnson Amendment has been applied to prohibit what a pastor says from the pulpit concerning candidates who are running for elective office. This means that under current IRS regulations, a pastor cannot say anything from the pulpit that may constitute support for – or opposition to – a political candidate.”

While some churches are warned about their speech and others are intimidated by IRS penalties into censoring the content of their messages, the political advocacy of others is encouraged with a proverbial blind-eye and deaf-ear being turned to their speech. Speaking about issues of the day that are clearly addressed biblically and which are central to teaching faith values is the kind of ground that is now carefully tip-toed around in many churches due to intimidation placed upon them by the IRS… and of course by political correctness.

“It has not always been this way. For almost the first 200 years of America’s history, pastors frequently spoke out with great boldness about the great moral and social issues of the day and about the candidates running for office.”

The goal is to make freedom of speech available to all once more, to allow everyone speak and to allow debate and ideas to find their voice from every front in our communities.

“The Pulpit Initiative is not about turning churches into political machines; it is about restoring the right of pastors to speak freely from their pulpits about all matters included in Scripture – even when Scripture is deeply relevant to a pending election or the quality of a candidate for office.”

For 57 years, the Johnson Amendment has been muffling and threatening churches.

Guard your Freedoms. Know who a candidate is and what they stand for before you vote for them (beyond their campaign slogans, and based upon their actions). Elect those who value your constitutional rights. If you do not, the result can have a profound impact upon your liberty for years to come.

Repeal The Johnson Amendment by Joseph Farah