HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Twitter:
@digby56
@DavidOAtkins

emails:
Digby:
digbysez at gmail
David:
isnospoon at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic
Common Dreams
AmericanPoliticsJournal
Smirking Chimp
CJR Daily
consortium news

Blog-o-rama

Eschaton
BagNewsNotes
Daily Kos
Political Animal
Driftglass
Firedoglake
Taylor Marsh
Spocko's Brain
Talk Left
Suburban Guerrilla
Scoobie Davis
Echidne
Electrolite
Americablog
Tom Tomorrow
Left Coaster
Angry Bear
oilprice.com
Seeing the Forest
Cathie From Canada
Frontier River Guides
Brad DeLong
The Sideshow
Liberal Oasis
BartCop
Juan Cole
Rising Hegemon
alicublog
Unqualified Offerings
Alas, A Blog
RogerAiles
Lean Left
Oliver Willis
skippy the bush kangaroo
uggabugga
Crooked Timber
discourse.net
Amygdala
the talking dog
David E's Fablog
The Agonist


Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014 05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014 06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014 07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014 08/01/2014 - 09/01/2014


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Saturday, May 10, 2008

 
Signs of Christianist Desperation

by tristero

So it looks like a group of rightwing nuts are going to challenge the IRS over the tax status of churches that endorse specific candidates:
The Alliance Defense Fund of Scottsdale, Ariz., is recruiting ministers to make political sermons Sept. 28, a few weeks before the presidential election, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The group hopes to challenge the constitutionality of the tax law, the report said....

"The government should not be telling the church what it should or should not be saying," [the Rev. Steve] Riggle said. "As a pastor, a private citizen, I can speak for myself. The IRS cannot quench my voice."
But this is a lie because the reverend knows very well that the IRS is not banning him from endorsing a candidate. He is quite free to do so. Likewise, his church is also free to endorse whoever they want to.

All they need to do - and it's no big deal, really, unless the reverend and his church worship filthy mammon above all - is to forgo tax-exempt status:
Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State said the tax exemption granted churches "comes with conditions."

"So if any pastor out there feels he is gagged or can't speak on partisan politics ... forgo the tax exemption and say what you want," said Boston.

Federal law prohibits churches from endorsing political candidates, but they are permitted to advocate positions on issues.
And the head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the REVEREND Barry Lynn goes on:
Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, “This is a truly deplorable scheme. Federal tax law rightly requires churches and other tax-exempt groups to use their resources for religious and charitable purposes, not partisan politics. When the faithful put their hard-earned dollars in the collection plate, they don’t expect it to wind up pushing some politician’s campaign.

“The Religious Right leaders who lust for political power in America will apparently stop at nothing, not even the sacred character of the church,” Lynn continued. “The vast majority of clergy do not seek to turn their incense-filled sanctuaries into smoke-filled political backrooms.

“I think very few clergy will yield to the Alliance Defense Fund’s worldly temptation,” Lynn concluded. “And those who do will find their churches’ tax exemptions in jeopardy. I assume the ADF will provide a list of congregations unwise enough to join this move, and we’ll be ready to report those churches to the IRS.”

Lynn noted that clergy know they are free to speak out on religious, moral and political issues. But they cannot use tax-exempt resources to support or oppose candidates for public office, which includes statements from the pulpit by church officials and other indications of campaign intervention.

In May of 2000, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously held that the IRS properly revoked the tax exemption of the Church at Pierce Creek, a congregation near Binghamton, N.Y., that bought newspaper ads in 1992 opposing presidential candidate Bill Clinton. (Americans United filed a complaint with the IRS about this clear violation of tax law.)

The court ruled in Branch Ministries v. Rossotti that “the revocation of the Church’s tax-exempt status neither violated the Constitution nor exceeded the IRS’s statutory authority.” (The three judges were Reagan appointees, and the opinion was written by James Buckley, a scion of the ultra-conservative Buckley family and brother of William F. Buckley.)
The Alliance Defense Fund, which is organizing this nonsense, has among its founders radical christianists Bill Bright, James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, and Don Wildmon. Here's the Wikipedia entry for ADF. And
here is a good short report of one of their more notorious actions, the infamous press release entitled "Declaration of Independence Banned from Classroom" (scroll down). Of course, that was a lie.

Coincidence they're from the same state as St. John McCain? Maybe, but it is an indication of how desperate christianists are becoming that they would solicit churches to lose their tax exemptions. For many christianist "churches," that is the holiest of sacraments.* And there is no better illustration than this that there is nothing religious about the so-called "religious" right. This is first and foremost a political movement that has co-opted religious symbols and tropes merely for secular gain.

Yes, I'm aware that if this gets to the current Supreme Court, they very well could rule in ADF's favor. But I sincerely doubt that, first, it would ever get that far and second, that they would overturn this exemption rule. For one thing, Scalia, Thomas and Alito have little interest in further lining the over-moneyed pockets of the legions of catholic-hating Pastor Hagees out there. I could be mistaken, however, especially if one of the churches who takes up ADF's call is Catholic. It takes a lot of money to pursue such a stupid challenge up to the Supremes so it's not out of the question that Scalia, Alito, and Thomas signaled ADF that the "right case" would have a chance.

Needless to say, if churches and pastors can endorse candidates while retaining their tax-exempt status, it will immediately establish an American theocracy. In which case, I'll see you at the queue for the stake.

---

*I am speaking quite specifically here about those groups whose sole, or main, reason for being is to serve as organizing center for the ambitions of theocrats. That won't stop certain readers from interpreting this as a malicious smear on all religious belief. As mentioned numerous times, my own public record of respect and tolerance for religious practice is extensive and my personal beliefs, or lack of them, are as private as my contempt for christianism is not. It simply is impossible to infer what I believe, or don't, from my public comments.


Search Digby!