This Sunday, Christian ministers in 22 states will join in defying a federal ban by campaigning for and/or endorsing presidential candidates during their sermons. The federal ban in question prohibits campaigning by nonprofit groups.
This ban is necessary for many very obvious reasons. For example: private citizens can only donate up to $10,000 to a presidential campaign. If nonprofit groups were allowed to campaign for a candidate they would receive tax exempt status, donors would be able to donate as much money as they choose, and “best” of all – donations would be 100% tax write offs. A child could understand how this system would quickly lead to a small number of wealthy individuals or corporations controlling the American government.
Most importantly, however, this ban is in place to PROTECT the interests of non profit groups. A presidential candidate or political party could quite easily threaten to revoke the non profit status of an organization if said organization did not support their cause.
Now let’s be clear on the issue. The government does not prohibit ministers from preaching about politics or endorsing a presidential candidate. Pastors are free to say what they want from their pulpit and enjoy the same First Amendment Rights as any other American. They simply – like all other nonprofit organizations – cannot receive federal tax exempt status if they choose to campaign for a political party or candidate.
This “Pulpit Initiative” is championed by such brilliant political minds as Rev. Wiley Drake of First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, “I’m going to talk about the un-biblical stands that Barak Obama takes. Nobody who follows the Bible can vote for him… we may not be politically correct but we are going to be biblically correct.” Genius… except lacking even an elementary understanding of the American political landscape (as an aside I’d love for good ol’ Wiles to send me a copy of the “bible” he’s reading) – and yes I would be saying exactly the same thing if Obama were swapped out for McCain.
In conclusion, I humbly request of your marvelously deluded Excellencies, please understand the issues you’re facing before going to battle… and while you’re at it, a small dose of tolerance wouldn’t hurt either.