Posts Tagged ‘Pastor’

Have you Signed Up for the Pulpit Initiative Yet?

March 25, 2010

The Florida Baptist Witness recently posted an article about ADF’s Pulpit Initiative.  ADF has been speaking to pastors and church leaders across the country about the Pulpit Initiative, and encouraging them to sign up for Pulpit Freedom Sunday on September 26, 2010. 

The Pulpit Initiative is an opportunity for pastors to speak scriptural truth from the pulpit without fearing government censorship or control.  Something is wrong in America when we allow the government to step into the pulpit and censor a pastor’s sermon.  Whether you believe that a pastor should endorse or oppose a candidate from the pulpit is not the issue.  The issue the Pulpit Initiative was created to decide is who gets to make that decision for churches.  We believe that it is solely up to a pastor and the church leadership to decide whether to address candidates and elections from the pulpit and the government should not mandate that churches remain silent on this issue.  The Pulpit Initiative is intended to remove the government once and for all from the decison-making process of what gets said from the pulpit of a church.  It is time to remove the government from the pulpits of America.

Have you taken time to look at the information on our website about the Pulpit Initiative?  Have you prayerfully considered becoming part of this important fight?  If not, why not do so today?  become part of the movement to regain the sanctity and autonomy of America’s pulpits.  Join ADF in the Pulpit Initiative.

How Government Got Its Foot in the Door of our Churches

March 3, 2010

If asked whether their pastor is free to preach however he feels led to preach, many would say, “of course!”  And some might even view the question itself as ridiculous.

But perception is not always reality, and one subtle but potent threat to the freedom of the pulpit has been quietly infiltrating America’s churches since 1954. That was the year Lyndon Johnson – then a powerful senator from Texas facing a tough re-election battle – suddenly found his road to Capitol Hill effectively blocked when two influential private nonprofits distributed thousands of pieces of literature against his re-election bid.

To Johnson’s mind, the impact of that literature had to be neutralized, and he soon hit on an ingenious plan to silence his opponents. On July 2, 1954, he stepped out on the floor of the Senate to propose an amendment to a pending tax overhaul bill. His amendment (which included churches and Christian ministries within its reach) prohibited nonprofits from supporting or opposing candidates for office.  It passed unanimously, without objection or debate.

Pulpit

Johnson’s amendment did more than stop the opposition of these two non-profits in their tracks. It turned 200 years of American history on its ear. For the first time, the federal government was actually authorized to punish a pastor for preaching about candidates during an election season.

Now, whether you believe that your pastor should preach about candidates during election season or not, the point is that it’s not in the interest of religious freedom to allow the government to make that decision for us.  Nor is it the job of the state to decide how closely a church can follow the mandates of Scripture in governing itself and fulfilling the Great Commission.

If today the government can tell your pastor not to apply Scriptures to candidates and election issues, then tomorrow it will be able to restrict his Bible-based speech on other, non-election issues – like homosexual behavior – that the government decides it has an interest in protecting.  After that, it won’t be long before government will move to restrict the speech of your pastor on even the very basics of the faith.

That’s why ADF launched the Pulpit Initiative, where we are looking to kick the government out of the pulpits of America and protect a pastor’s right to speak freely from the pulpit without fearing any government censorship or control.  If you are a pastor, let us know if you are interested in the Pulpit Initiative.  It’s time we stand together to reclaim the freedom of the pulpit in America.

President Scolds Supreme Court for Opinion that Helps Churches

February 17, 2010

In his State of the Union Address last week, President Obama took the Supreme Court to task for its recent ruling allowing corporations to speak out about candidates for election.  What he didn’t say was that the company the Court ruled for in the case was a small to mid-size non-profit.

Citizens United sued the Federal Election Commission (FEC) because it prohibited corporations from endorsing or opposing candidates for office within 90 days prior to an election.  The non-profit group filed the lawsuit because it was prohibited from offering Hillary: The Movie as a pay-per-view option on cable networks.  The Supreme said the FEC rules violate the free speech rights of corporations and are unconstitutional:  “By suppressing the speech of manifold corporations, both for-profit and nonprofit, the Government prevents their voices and viewpoints from reaching the public and advising voters on which persons or entities are hostile to their interests.”  This is exactly what the IRS has been doing to pastors since 1954 with the Johnson Amendment.  That amendment prohibits non-profit charitable organizations – including churches – from encouraging their members to vote for or against a candidate based on church teaching.  ADF has organized a Pulpit Initiative for the past two years in an effort to bring attention to this unconstitutional law, and challenge it in court.

So far, the IRS has not attempted to enforce the rule against any of the 85 pastors that have participated.  But if they do, Citizens United gives Churches a great weapon.  It will be very difficult for the IRS to argue that corporations have a free speech right to endorse or oppose candidates, but churches don’t.