Well, the news is finally out. According to the Jewish Daily, the Alliance Defense Fund has recruited 50 pastors to deliver sermons in September that will include direct endorsements of political candidates.
Pastor Gus Booth of Warroad, (Pastor Booth was our guest on a trip to David Barton’s Congressional Pastor’s Briefing last fall.) was the first shot across the bow.
Caution – separation anxiety ahead.
This bold move is sure to cause a severe case of separation anxiety for the IRS, the First Amendment and revisionist history. But let’s start with a short history lesson.
I want to encourage everyone that has a dog in this hunt to educate themselves regarding the origins of the IRS code. It's an historical fact that it was legal for pastors to endorse candidates and preach on the political issues of the day until then Senator Lyndon Johnson inserted language into the IRS code that prohibited non-profits, including churches, from endorsing or opposing candidates for political office.
“The history of Johnson’s IRS gag order is instructive,” writes Kasey Kelly. "It began with what some historians believe to be a fraudulent election of Johnson to the Senate in 1948. It has been maintained by both conservative and liberal historians that Lyndon Johnson’s election to the Senate in 1948 was won by massive voter fraud. Known as “Landslide Lyndon,” this aspiring politician was “elected” by only 87 votes. His challenger, Coke Stevenson, challenged his election and presented credible evidence that hundreds of votes for Johnson had been faked. Johnson, however, was successful in blocking Stevenson’s effort by the clever use of “cooperative” court injunctions.”
“In 1954, Johnson was facing re-election to the Senate and was being aggressively opposed by two non-profit anti-Communist groups that were attacking Johnson’s liberal agenda. In effect, Senator Johnson used the power of the go-along Congress and the IRS to silence his opposition. Unfortunately, it worked. Some in Johnson’s staff claimed that Johnson never intended to go after churches, only the two “nonprofits” in Texas. Nevertheless, his sly amendment to the tax code affected every church in America, and it is a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.”
Although the law has been tested, recent decisions have actually strengthened it by prohibiting political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one "which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."