Thursday, October 16, 2014

A quick note on tax deductions for the church and Caesar

The latest buzz in the world of religion, American style, revolves around is the unconscionable and frankly illegal political fracas in Houston where the lesbian mayor has decided to not only participate in the disenfranchising citizens (odd that the left is only concerned about allegations of disenfranchisement when it impacts people that vote for leftist candidates) but is pursuing the private and privileged speech of citizens that dared to hold a view contrary to hers.

This was instructive from National Review:

To understand the full extent of the city’s overreach, it is worth quoting the actual subpoena: The request for sermons, for example, seeks “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to H[ouston] ERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.” “Or in your possession” — suddenly a Billy Graham sermon is the legal equivalent of child pornography. 

 The inclusion of material that refers to Annise Parker makes clear just what is afoot: “political retribution,” says Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the five pastors. ADF has filed a motion to quash the subpoenas, and is now awaiting the city’s response. 

It is obvious to all but the most dense among us that this is an outrageous assault on liberty whether those being targeted are Christians or Jews or Muslims (or Hindu, Buddhist, etc.). This is the worst sort of government excess, combining an assault on free speech, freedom of religion and the right to free association with a blatant attempt to intimidate anyone who dares hold a contrary view on a contentious subject via a clumsy, overly broad and intrusive fishing expedition aimed at chilling free speech.

All that is true, crystal clear and completely expected by anyone who has even a cursory grasp of the Bible. What is also true is that the church has helped contribute to this situation by our parasitic dependency on favorable tax treatment from Caesar. In a classic example of having our cake and eating it too, the church in America demands the enjoyment of special and privileged treatment from Caesar while at the same time demanding that the state stay out of our business. Guess what? That is coming to a screeching halt and I mean like right now. The church in America will, like it or not, find herself in the position of choosing between remaining in the favor of Caesar by abandoning every fundamental truth of the Gospel or by choosing the truth over tax breaks. Some groups that already had a pretty tenuous grasp on the Gospel have already chosen the path of remaining in the cozy embrace of the world. Others will take the hard road and face the consequences. One thing is certain, the church better figure out how to get our fiscal house in order in a less tax friendly environment.


Aussie John said...


A dear brother in Oklahoma has emailed that the community outrage has caused the withdrawal of the subpoenas. His information is that the pastors have each sent the mayor a Gospel message.

Neil Braithwaite said...

When a community of believers chooses to incorporate as a 501(c)(3) they become a State sanctioned entity and must comply with State rules and regulations. That means adhering to restrictions on what they can say and do as a congregation. In essence, they replace Jesus with the State as the head of their church. Churches are not now, nor have they ever been subject to taxation by the government. Monies given to churches have always been tax deductible. It is an abomination for any community of believers to become yoked with the State! Sadly, most Christians are ignorant of the facts regarding this issue.