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UCCtruths

Every denomination needs one of these...

Pulpit Politics

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm still amazed by the IRS vindication of the United Church of Christ but I'm even more amazed that the IRS also vindicated Southern Baptist minister Wiley Drake who blatantly endorsed Mike Huckabee on church letterhead.

The offenses identified by the UCC complaint to the IRS are arguably peripheral next to the complaint against Drake, but that doesn't mean that the UCC didn't walk into a gray area by identifying Obama as a Presidential candidate in promoting his General Synod speech on the UCC web site - an action expressly prohibited by IRS guidelines. In the grand spectrum of all church-state offenses that are possible, it was probably minor.

The only logical conclusion I can make is that the IRS is giving churches great latitude in their freedom of speech before threatening their tax-exempt status. That may be the more prudent approach. As long as they are consistent, I can live with it although I think it should be clearly reflected in their guidelines.
posted by UCCtruths, Wednesday, May 21, 2008

7 Comments:

"but that doesn't mean that the UCC didn't walk into a gray area by identifying Obama as a Presidential candidate in promoting his General Synod speech on the UCC web site - an action expressly prohibited by IRS guidelines"

This is getting down-right absurd. The UCC obviously did NOT walk into a "gray area" nor did it violate ANY IRS regulation. That the church was been entirely vindicated by the IRS should be entirely clear. The partisan motivated attack on the UCC failed. Move on.
commented by Blogger David, 8:26 PM  
IRS regulations state:

• Neither the individual nor any representative of the organization makes any mention of his or her candidacy or the election;

Barack Obama, speaking at the UCC synod, said:

"t's been several months now since I announced I was running for president."

If that's not enough, later in the speech he said:

"I have made a solemn pledge that I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family's premiums by up to $2500 a year."

Why the IRS decided to conclude that neither the UCC not Wiley had violated IRS regulations is anybody's guess. I expect James is correct is thinking that the Revenooers are loosening up. But to say that those statements by Obama didn't violate the regulations is to use language in a manner worthy of Humpty Dumpty.
"I'm still amazed..."

The IRS is not as picky as you are about every sin/error of Cleveland, James. Of course, a case can and was made. But it might well be that the IRS understands the difference between a foot fault and throwing the game. It might well be that the IRS takes into account evidence of sincere effort to not violate the law and what was and was not under the control of the Synodites.

Here. Have crow croissant and stop being amazed. :-)
commented by Blogger Don Niederfrank, 9:09 AM  
It will be interesting to see when a future presidential candidate from the other side of the political spectrum gets invited to speak as a candidate at a national event for evangelical churches if the IRS takes a similar position. During the Clinton Presidency it has been reported widely that he used the IRS to silence critics. Let us see if history repeats itself.
commented by Blogger Andrew, 9:56 AM  
James,

Thank you for your fair coverage of this development.
commented by Blogger Freedomnow, 11:09 AM  
Well, I guess that this decision should irritate the heck out of Americans United. Their whole reason for being is snagging churches on this rule.
commented by Blogger Firezerk, 6:01 PM  
The IRS is not as picky as you are about every sin/error of Cleveland, James.

IRS rulings are now to be considered as though they constituted the Magisterium of the UCC.
Who knew?

I believe James is exercising his right to dissent from Government actions, which is indeed, a right not only granted by the UCC Magisterium, but a required practice by them under all Republican administrations in order to be absolved from mortal sin.

You wouldn't want to be questioning his patriotism would you?
commented by OpenID revlittlebopeep, 12:29 PM  

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