So, I was reading this story about these pastors who are trying to challenge the political endorsement restrictions of section 501(c)(3) of the tax code which provides tax-exempt status to churches and other non-profit organizations.
One of the rules under that section of the tax code is that these organizations cannot officially endorse or oppose a candidate, try to influence legislation, or engage in propaganda. And this is entirely fair. In theory, if this organization wasn't tax exempt and had to pay taxes on its income, I would benefit by paying less taxes or getting more services, therefore as a tax payer I am supporting this organization's tax-exempt status. Essentially, the taxpayers have made a compact with non-profits (and churches) to say "you don't get involved in politics and we'll subsidize you by making up the tax revenue that is lost via the tax-exempt money you collect."
It's so funny how the conservatives tend to talk about "entitlement" programs when their "core constituency" seems to think it's entitled to do whatever the heck it pleases. These churches that are challenging the political provisions of 501(c)(3) are under the mistaken belief that they're constitutionally entitled to tax-exempt status.
Nope. That's a privelege, not a right. The taxpayers have agreed to let you off the hook they place themselves on, but they've put some conditions on it. If you don't want to agree to those conditions, you're free to do so without penalty, but you have to pay taxes. You're not getting a right taken away, but surrendering a privilege.
And yes, candidates do come speak at churches, but that's under an equal time rule like broadcasters have to follow. If Obama goes to speak at a church, that church has to give McCain an equal chance to speak there if he wants to.
It just galls me what huge shmucks these pastors who are challenging this law are. They may claim to understand God's law, but they have no concept of the law of man and can't get it through their thick skulls that the tax exempt status of religious institutions is not guaranteed in the constitution, and just as we tax Muslims and Christians the same, we can tax Dry Cleaners and Churches the same. And with a Supreme Court that went for the habeas corpus rights of Guantanamo detainees despite being stacked with conservatives, do you honestly think they're going to re-interpret the First Amendment that "liberally" as to read a tax-exempt status for religious enterprises into it?
I understand you have a political opinion and that it is informed by your faith, and to the extent that you carry it out as a private citizen, I say "more power to you." But when you violate the conditions of your church's tax-exempt status from the pulpit, I say "double dumbass on you, you deserve to lose your priveleges."