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BTW, I think I might have said this before, but my priest often speaks out about the war and its immorality, but we don't hear much about abortion, and it'll be a cold, cold day when the word C-O-N-TRACEPTION comes out of his mouth from the pulpit. We do hear it from YOUNG visiting priests, thank you God. So you see, I think a lot of times it's where someone is or what the see/hear about a particular topic.
Mike, I can't help what individual Protestant churches do to get checked out by the IRS, nor can a lot of other Protestants! I agree that the Church should be our conscience, Mike, but it should be our conscience on feeding the hungry, protecting the environment, AND protecting all stages of human life. You won't like this statement, but some people don't know what's good or evil, they need to be guided in their thoughts and actions. The Church (and its members) must speak out to proclaim the Good News: feeding the poor and protecting babies is part of that message.I don't think John the Baptist thought twice about telling it in the streets that Herod was in an unlawful marriage. John was speaking the truth FOR HEROD'S eventual own good. Just because John was a practicing Jew/Christian and Herod was a non-practicing Jew who was in the government doesn't mean that Herod should not hear the message. Perhaps John could have said it in a better way- I think he still would have been beheaded. We should be no less bold today in speaking out on evils. Pat Robertson is a kook. My husband told me so long ago when I used to give money to Robertson. I finally saw through him on my own. The guy is not trustworthy. By giving his loyalty to Rudy, he is helping to set a precedent of having a pro-abortion Rep. nominee. While I believe that the Rep. Party is not the answer to the country's ills, I do believe that they can be useful in stopping abortion. Support Rudy, and pro-abortion Reps.who are taken seriously will be common. Mike, our church HAS spoken out on the torture of prisoners recently. I read the National Catholic Register, and there have been debates left and right about the use of torture. Check out ncr.org (I think is the web address) and type in torture. You will find some well argued pieces from those in the Church AGAINST torture. CNN/Fox News doesn't always cover what the Church teaches, or get it accurate.BTW, Benedict has repeatedly spoken out about this war. Yes, legislating for the people means all the people. I happen to believe that Muslim, Buddhist, Protestant and atheist babies deserve life, and their adults deserve to be fed. Just because my ideas are based in part on religion doesn't mean I should have to be quiet while those whose ideas are based on secularism can shout from the rooftops. ;-}
One of the earliest (and only) cases where a religious group had to be sanctioned by the IRS involved Christian Echoes National Ministry. Founded in 1951 by Dr. Billy James Hargis, it engaged in a wide range of political activity, all the way up to endorsing Barry Goldwater for president in 1964. That year the IRS revoked their tax-exempt status, an action which was affirmed by the Tenth Circuit Court in 1972. For the most part, however, the IRS has done little in reaction to religious organizations which have crossed the line into explicit political advocacy. In 1991, the IRS investigated Jimmy Swaggart and found that he was guilty of violating IRS rules because he had twice endorsed Pat Robertson for president. There was no fine, the tax-exempt status of his ministry was unaffected, and all he was asked to do was sign a pledge not to do it ever again. After that, however, the IRS seemed to start acting a bit more proactively. In 1993, the IRS investigated Jerry Falwell and found that his Old Time Gospel Hour had illegally funneled money towards a political action committee which, in turn, had given money to conservative political candidates. This time, there was a $50,000 fine and the tax-exempt status for the organization was revoked retroactively for the years 1986 and 1987, the time when the violations occurred. Also in 1993, the IRS investigated a small church in Binghamton, New York (the home church of radical anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, by the way). Pastor Daniel Little had been so outraged over the candidacy of then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton that he and his congregation took out a full-page ad that ran in USA Today and The Washington Times. With the headline Christian Beware, it accused Clinton of supporting policies that are in rebellion to Gods Laws, along with other vituperative attacks on the Democratic party and liberals generally. It ended with the question, How then can we vote for Bill Clinton? just before it solicited tax-deductible donations to help fund even more such advertisements (and it did result in hundreds of contributions from all across the nation). This was perhaps one of the most blatant abuses of a churchs tax-exempt status that the IRS had ever seen, and its no wonder that it attracted quite a lot of attention, both positive and negative. Eventually, in 1995, the IRS revoked the churchs tax-exempt status but the church sued the IRS to get it back, with the help of Pat Robertsons American Center for Law and Justice. Both a Washington, D.C. district judge and Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. ruled in favor of the IRS, however, dealing a symbolic blow both to the church and to Pat Robertson. Symbolic? Absolutely. If the church does not intervene in any future political campaigns, it can continue claim 501©(3) status and receive all of the attending benefits. http://atheism.about.com/od/churchest...Last night Pat Robertson more or less said it does not matter how Rudy feels about life its all about the judges. Yet, when Rudy had the opportunity to appoint judges he picked liberal judges. Robertson blamed the liberal administration. I see Pat Robertson, Dr. James Dobson, and others injecting themselves into this election without repercussions.I really expected the churches to stand up for humanity, when it was revealed that our country tortures, but they were all relatively quite. The church should be our conscience when it comes to the poor,disabled, the enviorment and let the government do the legislating because of the people means Christians and Non Christians.
I think the separation of Church and state is needed. BUT what does separation of Church and state mean? It does not mean muzzling the Catholic bishops or the evangelical preachers whose job is to lead the faithful, even those faithful who don't want to hear the message. We don't have a state Church in America like England and some other counries of Europe. If I am correct, the state church in England is the Anglican Church, the one good ol' Henry VIII started. Today, the queen is the official head of the Church of England. Also, we don't have government leaders appointing bishops, like the Chinese presently want to do, or Church leaders picking statesman. Sounds good to me.Yes, I know that the Catholic Church once mixed political power with religious power. I think the Church has been at its best when it was a spiritual force, not a political force. Politics can too easily tempt religious men and women.I think that the Catholic bishops have every right under the Constitution AND especially in God's eyes, to preach the Catholic truth to its faithful. Why do certain individuals or groups want them muzzled? They surely don't have to listen. Don't we have freedom of speech, and don't we have freedom of religion? If every Democrat was pro-abortion, and if every Republican was pro-life, some might have greater cause to be worried. Please let the Church get about its business of preaching the gospel to every creature, and teaching what Jesus has commanded. This is it's mission on Earth, not to get Republicans elected. (especially the Republican front-leader of today!)lolWhen it comes down to it, no political party is going to turn this country's morals around. Only the power of God can, and I know he writes straight with crooked lines. Roger, you mention the Vatican selling real estate. When you've been around since the time of Jesus, things tend to collect. Do you think that no Protestant groups have great real estate holdings? The Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization in the world, and the fixtures do NOT stand in the way of the Catholic faithful helping their fellow man.
I can only quote the great George Carlin......"You know what they ought to do with churches? Tax them. If holy people are so interested in politics, government, and public policy, let them pay the price of admission like everybody else. The Catholic Church alone could wipe out the national debt if all you did was tax their real estate".