I.R.S. to monitor sermons now? Yoohoo, they may be saved!

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If the article linked is true there will be many interesting and rather unexpected results. The immediate one is that some black churches will be hurt the most as they are the ones who invite candidates that not necessarily share their faith, ¬†but promise (and never fulfill) to fight for what African Americans consider to be their issues. However, if this becomes a manner in which Pastors will dedicate their very short time with their congregation to the exposition if the Gospel exclusively, it may not be such a bad thing. The problem is that most pastors who resort to political speech from their pulpits often choose to do so because of their lack of theological preparation to do anything other than to rant on Sunday mornings against issues that are not exactly leading to “eternal life”, and do not pertain to “life and Godliness”.

The poster of the article on Facebook, makes the following pertinent comment, to which I agree:

This whole article is based on the assumption that 501c3 is even necessary for churches. As the author noted but didn’t fully explain, churches are automatically tax exempt. But they don’t need to file for 501c3 status. The disadvantages are they there is not certain “liabilities protection” that come with the 501c3 status since they would not be a “non profit organization.” The other disadvantage is there is no “tax exempt number” to allow the churches to not have to pay sales tax on purchases. Everything else is the same including the right for congregants to deduct their tithes and offerings if they qualify for itemizing on their annual tax returns.”

I decided that my church that I pastored in the past would not apply for a 501(C3) because I felt that the government has no right to “recognize” an organization as a church when the people who congregate together calls their congregation a church; I also believe that the only motivation for a Christian to give to the work of the ministry must be exclusively the love and interest for the work of the ministry. Do not give to my church expecting a tax exempted letter at the end of the fiscal year. I also believe that it is not the role of the government or the I.R.S., or through the I.R.S. or any other governmental organism to police and censor what is said by a group when they¬†decide to assemble enjoying the constitutional right to assemble. So, I have mixed feelings about this measure (if proven true, again I say) since I think that God prompts men to enact certain laws and rules when He feels that it is necessary to keep His people within the boundaries of that which they are called to do. Not everything that man does that appears evil is evil resulting… remember the story of Joseph… but let’s wait and see. What thinketh Thou?


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4 Replies to “I.R.S. to monitor sermons now? Yoohoo, they may be saved!”

  1. A number of points here. Since churches receive the benefits of government services, churches should pay taxes. This is especially true since much of what church members pay for are services for themselves. There is little in terms of charity to the outside world that is practiced by many churches.

    Besides, if churches paid taxes and contributions to them were not tax deductible, the following would occur:

    Ministers would be free to speak truth to power without worrying about having their sermons monitored for political content
    Churches could see who gives to them out of sincerity rather than for the tax breaks.

    As for the IRS monitoring sermons, then either those listening will be saved or will catch up on their sleep

  2. Great points Curt! Allow me to emphasize two: Churches can’t say that they are free from government while, at the same time, receiving government benefits. This is akin to women to say “I want the government out of my bedroom” while asking the government to pay for for protection on that which is made, more often than not, in the bedroom. I believe in Churches totally independent from the government. You are also right: there is very little charity practiced by churches today, not within or without their boundaries. This is sad because it is disobedience to the Apostolic command: “those within and those without” and in another passage “especially those of the household of faith…” speaking of charity, charitable and general reputation.

  3. I think a good start would be to look into the special exemptions that churches get, such as the parsonage exemption. There is in fact an ongoing lawsuit and it may soon be declared unconstitutional.

    However, we could also go too far and start putting churches at a disadvantage relative to other nonprofits. Many of them are not unlike churches in that they also seek to advance a certain viewpoint (e.g. ‘foundations’ that promote political views). All democratic countries recognize that churches have the right to acquire corporate personhood and be treated on equal footing with other kinds of non-profit organizations, which they closely resemble. Even France, which has a very restrictive view of the separation between church and state, allows for tax-deductible donations to churches.

  4. Milton,
    But churches can’t be totally independent from the government. They rely on the government for law enforcement, emergency services, protection against foreign enemies, education, and, in part, the general welfare of the society. That is why churches must pay taxes.

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