Posts Tagged ‘Pulpit Initiative’

Don’t be Intimidated by the Playground Bully

March 30, 2010

Many of us have been there – playing on the school playground when suddenly you find yourself in the cross-hairs of the school bully.  There you are minding your own business when the bully comes up to you and perhaps demands your lunch money or just wants to pick on you to satisfy their own cruelty.  Maybe you stood there with sweaty palms and a racing heart and gave in.  Or maybe you chose to fight back.  But the passage of time gives us a perspective that perhaps many of us lacked in those playground situations.  As we get older and more experienced in life we realized that the bully was really nothing more than a weakling who made up for his own weakness by being loud and obnoxious.  Perhaps that reality dawned on you if you refused to be pushed around by the bully and stood up to him.

Whatever the case, playground bullies still exist today, and one of the organizations that gets a kick out of trying to bully churches is Americans United for Separation of Church and State.  ADF was recently the subject of an AU blog post full of bellicose bullying.  AU basically yells at anyone who listens to them, that ADF’s Pulpit Initiative is a failure and that we should just give up. 

Basically, AU’s blog post boils down to threats and intimidation by the “playground bully” of churches.  And bullying churches is something that AU is very good at.  Every election cycle, AU sends letters to churches trying to scare them into not addressing the issues of the day, and breathing threats that any church who crosses AU’s imaginary line in the sand will get reported to the IRS (put another way, “if you don’t do what I say, I’m going to tell…”).  AU also reports churches to the IRS that it believes have violated the IRS rules and regulations.  What AU doesn’t tell you, though, is that the IRS almost never acts on any complaints AU files.  And what they don’t tell you is that the only substance behind AU’s threats against churches is their own say-so, which doesn’t amount to anything and certainly is not in line with constitutional law.

AU says that the Pulpit Initiative is a failure yet they continue to yell and scream about it to anyone who will listen.  This is the classic behavior of a playground bully who knows deep down inside that his only method of control is to scare people and who actually understands a threat to their regime of fear and intimidation.

And AU is wrong.  The Pulpit Initiative has been a success.  The Pulpit Initiative is a growing nationwide movement of pastors who refuse to be silenced and who refuse to let government agents look over their shoulder and censor what they preach from the pulpit.  And whether AU likes it or not, the Pulpit Initiative has opened to door to a new day where only pastors and the church leadership determine what is preached from the pulpit – and the government has no say-so in what a pastor preaches.  AU says it is an organization dedicated to preserving the separation of church and state yet it argues to continue a system of massive government entanglement and control of churches.  The inconsistency of their arguments is laughable.

Pastors, never let yourself be intimidated by the “playground bullies” of this age.  Preach the Gospel as God lays it on your heart to preach.  As Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season.”  Never let anyone scare you into silence on the vital moral issues of the day.  ADF will stand with you as we have stood with other pastors, and together we will see that the threats and intimidation by today’s bullies are nothing more than empty words.  And when we stand together, we’ll send these bullies packing.

Show the bullies you cannot be intimidated – sign up today for the Pulpit Initiative.

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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.

Rep. Michele Bachmann: “Repeal the Johnson Amendment”

March 12, 2010

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a radical leftist organization bent on intimidating pastors and churches into silence is making noise about a recent radio appearance by Rep. Michele Bachmann.  Rep. Bachmann came right out and said what most pastors believe when she stated that Congress should repeal the Johnson Amendment.

Here is what she said, as reported by the Minnesota Independent, that has AU so worked up:

“The reason why clergy are afraid to be involved is because of an amendment that former President Lyndon Johnson passed when he was a senator from Texas… that stops 501(3)c [sic] organizations from saying anything political from the pulpit. Now, churches can be political from the pulpit. They can talk about issues all they want. What they can’t do is endorse a candidate from the pulpit. But the ACLU has been all over the backs of churches… Christian and Jews and people of faith are not second class citizens… but these radical leftist organizations have been intimidating Christians for so long and pastors don’t generally now that they do have the right to speak out from the pulpit. Congress should repeal that amendment from Lyndon Johnson… We need to repeal that and give Christians back their first amendment rights to free speech in the church.”

I say a hearty “Amen” to Rep. Bachmann’s comments!  The Johnson Amendment has been used for far too long as a tool of intimidation and coercion against churches and pastors.  That is why ADF launched the Pulpit Initiative – to allow pastors to speak freely from their pulpits without fear of intimidation and censorship from the government, or anyone else for that matter.

Click here to sign up for the Pulpit Initiative.  Stand with ADF and hundreds of other pastors across the nation to regain the right of pastors to speak freely.

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.