IRS Strikes Deal with Atheists to Monitor Churches
Churches aren't supposed to endorse candidates . . . but now we can't talk about abortion or gay marriage? There are a lot of articles out there on this agreement, and I've only read this one, but even if it doesn't cover the whole story what it does cover is scary enough. Here's a quote from the article:
A lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) asserted that the Internal Revenue Service ignored complaints about churches' violating their tax-exempt status by routinely promoting political issues, legislation and candidates from the pulpit. The FFRF has temporarily withdrawn its suit in return for the IRS's agreement to monitor sermons and homilies for proscribed speech that the foundation believes includes things like condemnation of gay marriage and criticism of ObamaCare for its contraceptive mandate.Here's the thing. This is about something far bigger than politics. It is about the moral fabric of our nation. If there is no God then there are not absolutes. Nobody has any right to say anyone else is right or wrong. And everything about any issue is simply "politics." But . . . if there is a God, then there are absolutes. We can choose to ignore them, but it doesn't make us right. God defines right and wrong, good and bad, truth and lies.
This is at the core of it all. Again, it is world view. The issue transcends politics. It is not political. It is an issue of supreme truth. If God is real then we are fools to ignore Him or what He says. If we put ourselves or politics above allegiance and submission to God we have become fools. When we speak against something God speaks against, or stand for something God stands for (providing we are Spirit-led), we are not being "political," we are putting God forth as supreme. But to someone who doesn't recognize then we are, inherently, being political. It comes down to who we recognize and who we are serving in the action and words.
That is the ultimate question our nation faces. We can say nobody can be discriminated against for their religious or non-religious views, and that is fine (see next paragraph for caveat), but if we don't submit to some higher standard of right and wrong we will crumble in the decay of society as we inherently seek our own selfish good. The only other alternatives to determining right or wrong are things like a dictatorship, or majority rule, or simply saying that the strongest/biggest/baddest will prevail. All of these have been tried and are scary.
At some point we must decide, "What is discrimination?" This is a huge question, far bigger then we might realize. The reality is we all—even atheists—advocate discrimination at some level. We discriminate against people who want to murder and rape. We discriminate against people who want to steal. The issue isn't discrimination, it is what is right and wrong. Then, in the realm of right we don't discriminate, but in the realm of wrong we all do by forbidding that action. Where those realms divide is the question of the ages, but all the "tolerance" people are being hypocrites. They all have things they don't tolerate, they just have a different line then others do. The key question is who, or what, draws the line? That is at the heart of it all. For those who see homosexuality as OK then it is discrimination against them to forbid marriage. To those who see it as sin in God's eyes, it is legislation against a wrong (and everyone legislates against wrongs—the real issue is, "What is wrong?"). The same for abortion causing contraceptives. If you see the baby as simply a fetus then you see it as discriminating against women and their choices. If you see the baby as a life then you see it as legislating against wrong and sin and protecting the defenseless.
Atheists are ticked because churches have tax exempt status and can then talk about, in their eyes, politics. Well, can you imagine the pressure the government could bring on churches if they could tax them? Especially this government in this era? They could drive them out of existence as recognized organizations. But are we, as they see it, talking about politics when we talk about a candidate or issue in terms of God's laws and heart? Or are we, as we see it, talking about God and bringing His views into the issues we face? It is a key, pivotal question that there is no way to come together on with such divergent world views. No way. Period.
What kind of pastor could truly lead and equip a fellowship if he didn't talk about the issues that we face and how God sees them? If our faith is simply for stained glass windows and seminaries and funerals then we've missed the faith Jesus brought. He came into this world, into its pain and brokenness, into its people, and He brought the Father's heart and words and life into it. Our faith can—and it must—impact every area of our lives or we are not being true to it and our world view. If we compartmentalize God into the "proper" boxes then we've missed the God who breathes out stars and speaks life. My God can't be boxed, and He is interested in and involved in every issue of my life.
Who is right, or who is wrong, in this issue? It is a question that will define our nation and our future.