Catholic church don't vote for Obama, St. Raphael Catholic Church El Paso, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State IRS complaint, Bulletin recension
Catholic church don’t vote for Obama, St. Raphael Catholic Church El Paso, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State IRS complaint, Bulletin recension
“Führer, my Führer, give me by God. Protect and preserve my life for long. You saved Germany in time of need. I thank you for my daily bread. Be with me for a long time, do not leave me, Führer, my Führer, my faith, my light, Hail to my Führer!”…Recited by Hitler youth
“Red and Yellow Black and White, all are equal in his sight, MMM MMM MMM, Barack Hussein Obama.”…Recited by school children in 2009
“However, when the CHD funds Alinsky-style, church-based community organizations as in the best interest of the poor and supports organizations which advance other agendas, it divests the poor of their right to an authentic voice. This process tends to treat the poor as exploited units of human capital, rather than as human beings created in the dignity of God’s image.”
“To accomplish its goals, as outlined in the People’s Platform, ACORN has developed a political alliance with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Together with others, ACORN and the DSA have formed a political party, the New Party.”…1997 report to the Catholic Bishops
From the El Paso Times September 11, 2012.
“National group complains to IRS over St. Raphael Catholic Church bulletin”
“A national group has complained to the IRS over improper electioneering by an El Paso Catholic church.
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State on Monday sent its complaint to the IRS about the Aug. 5 bulletin published by St. Raphael Parish on the city’s East Side.
The pastor of the parish has issued a written statement recanting the Aug. 5 bulletin, but the leader of the organization that complained to the IRS said damage might already have been done.
Churches are tax-exempt, as are donations to them. But IRS rules say they cannot tell people whom to vote for or against.
Apparently in reaction to President Barack Obama’s mandate that Catholic hospitals and universities cover birth-control
for women employees who want it, a passage in the St. Raphael bulletin told parishioners to vote against the president. Obama later attempted to modify the mandate, but the gesture did little to mollify some Catholics who believe artificial means of birth control are immoral.
“I am asking all of you to go to the polls and be united in replacing our present president with a president that will respect the Catholic Church in this country,” the last two sentences in the Aug. 5 St. Raphael bulletin say. “Please pass this on to all of your Catholic friends.”
After officials at the Diocese of El Paso were alerted last week to the message, the pastor of St. Raphael, Msgr. Francis J. Smith, wrote a message which was inserted into its bulletin.
“I am recanting the last two sentences from this statement as it was published on Aug. 5, 2012,” the message says. “I apologize and ask for your forgiveness if I have offended anyone. The last thing I wish to do is be offensive to my faith and the faithful.”
The language was a blatant violation of the law, the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, said in his letter to the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS.
“The language that appeared in the bulletin — an official publication of the church — clearly encourages parishioners to vote against incumbent presidential candidate Barack Obama,” the letter says. “Since federal law prohibits tax-exempt, non-profit organizations (including houses of worship) from intervening in elections like this, I believe St. Raphael Church is in violation of the law.”
The Diocese of El Paso last week acknowledged that the passage violates IRS rules and the policy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. A spokesman said the diocese would instruct Smith to “re-address” the article in the church’s bulletin.
Smith and diocesan officials didn’t respond to calls and emails Monday.
In a telephone interview, Lynn said his organization files 15 to 20 complaints such as the one against St. Raphael in a presidential-election year.
Last year, the organization complained to the IRS that El Pas’s Word of Life Church was improperly involving itself in electoral politics by using its Tom Brown Ministries website to encourage voters to recall Mayor John Cook and city Reps. Steve Ortega and Susie Byrd. Brown was angered that the officials voted to restore health benefits for gay and unmarried partners of city employees after he led a successful ballot initiative to end the practice in 2010.
IRS spokesman Clay Sanford on Monday would not comment on the complaint against St. Raphael.
“I can’t comment about specific, tax-exempt entities,” he said.
But an IRS publication, “Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations,” says, “Churches and religious organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”
Lynn said it was good that church officials acknowledged IRS rules, but they should have been known in the first place to anybody overseeing the St. Raphael bulletin.
“It may be a partial corrective, but the damage might already be done,” he said.
U.S. Catholic rules also prohibit the use of church resources to tell people how to vote.
“The Church’s leaders are to avoid endorsing or opposing candidates or telling people how to vote,” says a document issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.”
The IRS can revoke churches’ tax exemptions and fine them for violating its rules, or it can levy milder sanctions that often are not public.
Lynn said religious leaders have broad latitude to discuss issues — such as abortion, birth control and execution — from the pulpit; they just can’t tell people how to vote. Churches also can invite candidates and their surrogates to speak to the congregation so long as they make a good-faith effort to invite both sides.
“There’s freedom of speech in the pulpit with modest restrictions,” Lynn said, adding that St. Raphael violated those restrictions.
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State last week filed a similar complaint against a Catholic Church in New York City — the Church of Saint Catherine. In its Sept. 2 bulletin, the complaint says, a priest urged parishioners to vote for Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Lynn is a minister in the United Church of Christ, although he now only officiates at ceremonies on a part-time basis. He said there are hazards beyond breaking the law when pastors and other religious leaders tell people how to vote.
“When you start getting into partisan politics, you start dividing the congregation very deeply,” he said.”
From Last Resistance September 12, 2012.
“The ban on political campaign activity by charities and churches was created by Congress more than a half century ago. The Internal Revenue Service administers the tax laws written by Congress and has enforcement authority over tax-exempt organizations. Here is some background information on the political campaign activity ban and the latest IRS enforcement statistics regarding its administration of this congressional ban.
“In 1954, Congress approved an amendment by Sen. Lyndon Johnson to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity. To the extent Congress has revisited the ban over the years, it has in fact strengthened the ban. The most recent change came in 1987 when Congress amended the language to clarify that the prohibition also applies to statements opposing candidates.”
This so-called ban is a direct violation of the First Amendment. The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law. . . .” In 1954, Congress made a law prohibiting churches from speaking out on political issues and endorsing candidates. The logic is simple. Since Congress passed such a law, then Congress violated the Constitution. This makes the law null and void.
If you are a pastor who believes in the freedoms outlined in the First Amendment and want to challenge these leftist organizations and the IRS, then I have a deal for you. The Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy group, will defend you.
“In response to more than 50 years of threats and intimidation by activist groups wielding the Johnson Amendment as a sword against the Church, ADF began the Pulpit Initiative in 2008. The goal of the Pulpit Initiative is simple: have the Johnson Amendment declared unconstitutional — and once and for all remove the ability of the IRS to censor what a pastor says from the pulpit.
“ADF is actively seeking to represent churches or pastors who are under investigation by the IRS for violating the Johnson Amendment by preaching biblical Truth in a way that expresses support for — or opposition to — political candidates. ADF represents all of its clients free of charge.”
Don’t be bullied. It’s time to take a stand for Jesus Christ. Your future and the future of your children are at stake. If you want more information, go to the Alliance Defending Freedom site at http://speakupmovement.org/church/LearnMore/details/4702″
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