| an Adonesian beauty
EVEN IF A CHURCH ISN'T TAX EXEMPT
First, let's realize that if your church wants to give up its tax-exempt status it can
get just as politcal as any other organization. To people that say the Constitution guarantees separation of church and state,
it just plain doesn't. It mentions religion only two places: Article Six, which prohibits religion from being a test for holding
public office, and Amendment One, which prohibits Congress from passing any law respecting an establishment of religion or
prohibitting the free excercise thereof.
Both of these articles place constraints on Government, not on Religion. So if your church decides
to fight something they deem to be evil, or even viciously cruel, go ahead, but they might have to start paying taxes
and you might not be able to claim your offering plate dollars as tax deductions.
Remember, martyrs of the past have given up far more than tax exemption for their faith.
Churches have the Constitutional freedom of political speech, press, and petitioning of government,
but to use it they might have to give up their tax-exempt status.
By the rules of the Internal Revenue Service those non-profit organizations classified
as 501(c)(3) - that includes churches and many other organizations - are tax exempt and voluntary contributions to them are
also tax exempt, but there are a couple of Got'chas:
1. They may not lobby to any "substantial" degree. "Lobbying" doesn't just mean sending
a smooth-talking con man to Washington to wine and dine congresspersons. It also includes 'Please, fellow church members.
Call or write your Senators and ask them to vote for the Freedom for Adonisians bill.'"
2. Also, 501(c)(3)s may not take part in most election campaigns for public office.
This is true for Federal, state, or local contests.
click and scroll down to Prohibitted Activities.
LOOPHOLE: But churches have the right of Issue Advocacy,
speaking out for or against the issues of the day, as long as they don't attempt to influence legislation or elections. But
there are still LOOPHOLES!
"We can't push this legislation to a substantial degree? What the heck does 'substantial'
mean?" I don't know. Neither does anybody else. This word has been in the IRS regulations since 1934 and it's never occurred
to the IRS (whom we all love and admire) that maybe they should give us a definition.
click and scroll down to "Prohibitted Activities"
In 1976 Congress passed the LOOPHOLE, the 501(h) law, allowing 501(c)(3)'s
who elect coverage under the "(h) election" to spend up to a certain percentage of their total expenditures (for example,
20% but a maximum of $1 million) for lobbying. click,
scroll to 6th from last paragraph.
"Then all our church has to do is sign that (h) election thing whatever it is and we can
lobby to protect the Adonisians?"
Not so fast. There's a LOOPHOLE to the LOOPHOLE. That (h) election clause applies to most
501(c)(3)'s but it doesn't apply to churches.
click and scroll to 188.8.131.52.4.1
"Then we can't lobby (substantially)?"
Well maybe. The (h) election doesn't apply to churches but it does apply to Religious
Organizations. And if that doesn't make sense remember it's the IRS we're talking about.
and scroll to page 2; The IRS says that (Non-church) "religious organizations typically include non-denominational ministeries,
interdenominational and ecumenical organizations, and other entities whose principal purpose is the study or advancement of religion."
LOOPHOLE: Since Interdenominationalism is part of IRS's own definition of
a Religious Organization, a church could help organize a religious group made
up of people moved with compassion for the enslaved Adonisians. If Pastor Atkins would get the support of Father
O'Brien at St. Mary's and Rabbi Goldman at B'nai Abraham it would help.
Now back to that second rule: that 501(c)(3)s may not take part in most political campaigns
for public office.
But there's still something that might be called a LOOPHOLE. Even during an election campaign
a 501(c)(3) may publically support or oppose particular elements of a candidate's political platform, without mentioning
him as an individual.
But there's a vacancy in the U.S. Supreme Court and the President has nominated Judge Nutberger
who'se on record as saying "The Adonesians are clearly a sub-human species, nothing but animals." Well, even though Nutberger
is campaigning hard for the confirming votes of the Senate the IRS says it's an appointment, not an election, and 501(c)(3)s
are welcome to jump into the middle of the fray.
LOOPHOLE: 501(c)(3)s can get as political as they want to in a battle for confirmation
But they may not take part in most election campaigns for public office. They may not campaign
for an individual candidate from the date he announces his candidacy or otherwise becomes officially a candidate (for example,
being certified as a candidate by the Board of Elections). This is true for Federal, state, or local contests.
Let's use a real example.
One way to learn the loopholes is to watch what is being done by "Americans United
for Separation of Church and State" whose self described mission is to be a "watchdog" for "Separation of Church and
State." They need to keep their own tax-exempt status and have attorneys in house, and you can bet they'll stay on the sunny
side of IRS rules.
(click )The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) says:
in Political Campaigns
1. IRC 501(c)(3) precludes exemption for an organization that participates
in or intervenes in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition
to any candidate for public office. This is an absolute prohibition, with no requirement that the activity be substantial.
| Ann Alito in tears
In Jan. 2006 Samuel Alito, nominated by President Bush for Supreme Court Assoc. Justice,
was undergoing Senate Confirmation hearings. Sen. Ted Kennedy insinuated he was a bigot, as having been a member, while at
Princeton, of an organization accused of bigotry. The charge put Mrs. Ann Alito in tears and she had to leave the
The person (arguably) most hated by Americans United is James Dobson, founder of Focus on
the Family. He extended comfort and encouragement to the Alitos. And in the meantime the Americans United website came
down hard on the Judge Alito, (click here and here and here).
The very day Alito was confirmed Americans United came down hard again. here.).
But by opposing a candidate, vigorously campaigning for the Senate vote of confirmation, weren't
they endangering their own tax-exempt status?
No. The IRS code states as follows:
for Public Office
1. Attempting to influence the Senate confirmation of an individual nominated
to serve as a federal judge does not constitute intervention or participation in a political campaign within the meaning of
IRC 501(c)(3), since a federal judgeship is an appointive office, rather than an elective one. Notice 88–76, 1988–27
LOOPHOLE: Thus 501(c)(3)'s are free to campaign for or against Federal Judge nominees.
This probably holds true of other appointees whose offices require advice and consent. But the advice
of legal council would be called for.
Justice Alito wrote to Dobson to thank him for his support. Was this proper or no?
(Not for me to say.) Americans United answered loudly NQ! (Click here.)
1. Prohibited political activities include, but are not limited to, the publication
or distribution of written or printed statements or the making of oral statements on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate.
ISSUE ADVOCACY PERMITTED:
The key words above are "in behalf of or in opposition
to a candidate." Nothing in the IRC prevents a church or other 501(3)(c) - certainly not Americans United! - from discussing
political issues. They all retain the right of Issue Advocacy - Such hot-button issues as Adonisian slavery or abortion or
homosexual marriage or gun control are fair game for anyone to take a strong stand on, whether based on religious reasons
or any other reasons. It's only the intervention in individual campaigns that could throw tax exemption into question.
Churches are completely free to enter the political arena as long as they don't enter an
individual's political campaign.
Coulter Versus Barry Lynn
March 7, 2007 Americans United Website
Americans United Urges Florida TV Ministry To Disavow 'Loathsome' Remarks By Ann CoulterColumnist Made Anti-Gay
Slur, Condoned Murder Of Abortion Doctors At Christian Group's Ft. Lauderdale Event
March 7, 2007 Americans United for Separation of Church and State today called on the Center for
Reclaiming America to publicly disavow extreme statements made by Ann Coulter during a recent Center conference in Fort Lauderdale.
The Center, the political arm of TV preacher D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries, hosted Coulter during
a “Reclaiming America for Christ Conference” March 2-3. During her March 3 remarks at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Coulter
issued an anti-gay slur and excused the murder of doctors who perform abortions. The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans
United executive director, sharply criticized Coulter’s incendiary rhetoric and called on Gary Cass, head of the Center
for Reclaiming America, to publicly repudiate it.
“Ann Coulter’s statements can only be described as loathsome,” said Lynn. “It is astounding to me that this
type of vitriol was unleashed before a religious organization that claims to be ‘reclaiming’ America for Christ. This rhetoric
must be repudiated immediately.”
In her remarks, Coulter made light of the murder of abortion doctors and clinic personnel.
Noting that seven doctors and clinic personnel had been killed, Coulter said, “Those few abortionists were shot,
or, depending on your point of view, had a procedure with a rifle performed on them. I’m not justifying it, but I do
understand how it happened....The number of deaths attributed to Roe vs. Wade: about 40 million aborted babies and seven abortion
clinic workers; 40 million to seven is also a pretty good measure of how the political debate is going.”
whether her remarks were “loathsome” or not depends largely on one's definitions. Is a human fetus a pre-birth
baby or just a lump of protoplasm? If the former then wouldn't it be even more"loathsome" for someone to say “I’d
far rather see 40 million babies killed than seven abortion clinic workers?” Was that Rev. Lynn's implication? Coulter didn't
justify the murder of the seven but put the murder of the babies in perspective.
remember that this isn’t a First Amendment issue. Evangelical Christians can be anti-abortion but so can Jews. So can
Atheists. (Columnist Nat Hentoff is a good example.)
in a humorous vein (I think) uttered the word "Fagot." It means a bundle of sticks for starting a fire but since about the
60's has been used to mean a homosexual. And it may or may not have a "slur" conotation.
I would have
thought "queer" had a slur quality but obviously not when a TV show had that word in its name (Queer Eye for the Straight
Guy) and the show was proudly run by, well, queers.
the word "gay" attained its present meaning at approximately the same time. Is it hate speech? And is it "incindiary" to call
a female homosexual a "dyke?" Well, a group of lesbian motorcyclists are proud to call themselves Dykes on Bikes.
not what we're about," said Soni Wolf, 56, longtime secretary for the Dykes on Bikes and a pride parade participant since the late 1970s. "That
word has been used for years to tear us down. And we said, 'OK, we're going to take it back.' "
The women call themselves "dykes" for the same reason many gays have laid claim to "queer" -- to defang
a word that has long been a slur."
Now, how did "fagot"
attain its present meaning? Well, it might be from the Bible. Romans 1:27 says "And the men instead of having normal sex relationships
with women, burned with lust for each other." And Amos 4:11 says (referring to two immoral cities punished by God)
"I destroyed several of your cities as I did Sodom and Gomorrah; those left are like half burned firebrands snatched away
from fire" (both from The Living Bible version). My dictionary defines "brand" as "a piece of burning or charred wood." Fagot
(sticks used to start a fire) doesn't sound to me like hate speech as much as queer does. Nor does Ann Coulter sound
more loathsome than Rev. Lynn.
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