Bryan Fischer
IRS has good news for pulpit prophets
By Bryan Fischer
May 14, 2009

America's pastors, who week and in week out instruct the faithful in the truths of the Scripture, are the hope of America's future. If they recover their prophetic voice, and teach their flocks that God's truth is true in all places at all times, including in the political arena and at the ballot box, America has a future.

On the other hand, if pastors succumb to the temptation to play it safe, dumb down the gospel to attract a larger audience, and take all the edges off the message of the word of God, where will America hear a clarion call on behalf of the truth?

Perhaps America's pastors, who tend to be a timid lot by nature, will take courage from ruling released yesterday by the IRS that ministers do not risk losing their tax-exempt status for engaging in public policy advocacy of traditional values.

Many pastors have been intimidated into silent acquiescence because they themselves have believed that the mythical wall of separation between church and state makes it illegal for them to discuss things such as the definition of marriage, the sanctity of life, and the immorality of the homosexual lifestyle from the pulpit.

Or out of fear, they don't want to speak to such issues, desperately afraid someone in their pews will be offended, apparently having forgotten that the gospel message itself, properly presented, is an offense to those who have adopted the worldview of cultural elites. What the Bible teaches about marriage, life and sexuality is as much a part of the "gospel," the "good news," as what it teaches about salvation.

The IRS told the Niemoller Foundation of Houston yesterday that it did not violate its tax-exempt status when it brought together pastors and politicians to champion moral issues during the 2006 campaign for governor in Texas and when it organized rallies in Texas and Florida in support of constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.

While churches still are prohibited from endorsing particular candidates and spending substantial portions of their budgets on lobbying, churches are in fact free, according to the IRS, to engage in political activity on behalf of traditional moral values. And they are free to urge their congregations to get out the vote based on moral issues and values.

Naturally, the nattering nabobs on the left are appalled, and responded by saying the IRS ruling allowing churches to "us(e) faith as a political weapon is sleazy." Conservative legal scholars happily pointed out that the ruling is "the liberals' nightmare," and that the effort of liberals to get the Niemoller Foundation in trouble with the IRS backfired big-time.

Lutheran pastor Lawrence White, the director of the Niemoller Foundation, said, "The IRS has unequivocally affirmed the right of pastors nationwide to come together as spokesmen for the Word of God, to interact with political leaders, historians and scholars in discussing the moral issues under debate within our culture, to assert their Biblical responsibility, to address such issues from their pulpits."

Here's the question of the day: now that pastors know they can fearlessly proclaim the truth on the pressing moral issues of the day, will they? America's future hinges on the answer to that question.

Moral-values groups hail tax ruling — Washington Times

© Bryan Fischer


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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