The Johnson Amendment

The place to discuss politics and policy issues that are not directly related to matters of faith.

Moderator: KeithE

Re: The Johnson Amendment

Postby Rvaughn » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:28 am

Speaking of Facebook, Trump, Sputtering and Twitter, I thought the following cartoon was one of those "That's funny, I don't care who you are" ones. (But then I resisted posting it on Facebook because I decided some might not think it is funny. Don't think that will be a problem here.)
http://bizarro.com/comics/february-17-2017/
User avatar
Rvaughn
 
Posts: 625
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 5:54 pm
Location: East Texas

Re: The Johnson Amendment

Postby Haruo » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:47 pm

That is pretty good! ;-)

BTW wish you could be up here for the Sacred Harp Convention. We did the Cooper book at last night's social (will do Christian Harmony this evening, but I'll probably miss it, worse luck.)
Haruo (呂須•春男) = ᎭᎷᎣ = Leland Bryant Ross
Repeal the language taxLearn and use Esperanto
Fremont Baptist ChurchMy hymnblog
User avatar
Haruo
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11702
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 8:21 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: The Johnson Amendment

Postby Rvaughn » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:24 am

Some day I hope to get up there. Any chance y'all sung my song on 514 (Cooper)? It's been getting some pretty good mileage in places. I think I saw Karen Willard post on Facebook that she was going to have miss the singing.
User avatar
Rvaughn
 
Posts: 625
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 5:54 pm
Location: East Texas

Re: The Johnson Amendment

Postby Haruo » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:58 am

I don't know if they sang 514; I was only there for about an hour out of a three-hour Cooper session. This evening I made about an hour and a half of the Christian Harmony.

I gather Karen is in Europe. Not sure if it's shapenote-related.
Haruo (呂須•春男) = ᎭᎷᎣ = Leland Bryant Ross
Repeal the language taxLearn and use Esperanto
Fremont Baptist ChurchMy hymnblog
User avatar
Haruo
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11702
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 8:21 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: The Johnson Amendment

Postby Sandy » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:29 pm

Rvaughn wrote:Thanks for clarifying. I figured that was what you meant, but wanted to be sure. To me a church having their own voice independent from the government's oversight -- whether I like that voice or not, and whether or not they use it wisely -- is more important than the tax issue. If they must be taxed for that to happen, let them be taxed.

The Wade Burleson quote was a general observation and not directly related to what you said. Here at BaptistLife the preponderance of members seem to be opposed to endorsing candidates in the pulpit/church (as am I). Dave Roberts stated above, "The endorsement of candidates kills ministry to those who would not agree with the endorsement." This is very likely true in most cases. Yet I find it interesting on the other hand that most BaptistLife members are also fairly vocal about politics and that the Politics Forum is one of the more popular. I don't think it is likely that, given the amount of social media most people are on, that our views are unknown to our churches and our friends and those to whom we minister. (I make it a habit to not talk about politics on Facebook, though I occasionally slip up. I have too many friends on different sides of issues. And I guess I'm too old to interested in Twittering and Sputtering and such like.)

Maybe most people will never find their way here to see what we write. :o


I think this really puts the whole issue in perspective. As individuals, we have a constitutionally protected right to free speech and expression, and that extends to any public forum. A church is a group that is defined by its spiritual mission and purpose, and there is no Biblical precedent or argument for one linking to an individual politician or to a political party. It can't be done either Biblically or philosophically. Since the constitution defines the relationship between the church and state as a separated one, churches and their related institutions do not pay taxes.

I believe that the church should set its own rules when it comes to political involvement, and having grown up in Baptist churches, what that meant was that political endorsements, statements, and activity were not to be a part of anything that the church did, because it would distract from the ministry of preaching the gospel and take resources away from those things which belonged to God. And though many of the high profile mega church pastors and denominational leaders have abandoned this principle, tempted by the perception of their own "celebrity" status and ability to influence, most Baptists still seem to follow this rule. When I moved to Pennsylvania, and joined a Christian and Missionary Alliance church, I found out that not only to they hold tightly to this principle, but it is a denominational expectation as well, largely due to the fact that 80% of their churches and members are outside the US, the result of their missionary outreach, which is their priority.

If a church steps out of its spiritual mission and purpose, and getting into political endorsements is doing exactly that, then it should be subject to the same taxes other groups, which are involved in political endorsements, pay. That's only fair.

This issue goes well beyond tax exemption. Evangelicals who have become involved in right wing politics have abandoned most of Jesus' teaching, sucked in by one or two hot button issues but abandoning almost every other principle, especially if it is related to his teaching on wealth, the poor, and ministering to the most needy. Each succeeding election has involved giving up more and more of the standards that they claimed were non-negotiable previously. With both Bushes, they gave up insistence on naming court justices committed to overturning Roe, and tried to make evangelicals out of a couple of men who were committed to liberal Episcopalian faith. With Romney, they compromised the core theological beliefs of the gospel itself, and gave a cult a platform to legitimacy. With Trump, they abandoned all moral principles and values, and caved in to the money interests. Giving up tax exemption is a reflection of reality of ceasing to become a church with a prophetic voice to a political action committee with a worldly outcome.
Sandy
Sandy
 
Posts: 8193
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 5:10 pm
Location: Rural Western Pennsylvania

Re: The Johnson Amendment

Postby Jim » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:15 pm

The church/denomination, like Planned Un-Parenthood, pays no taxes because it is a non-profit institution and like all such is exempted. This has nothing to do with or without religion. A preacher can say anything he likes anywhere he likes. Anything curtailing that right is or should be un-Constitutional...except, of course, yelling “fire” in a theater if there is none.
Jim
 
Posts: 3607
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 3:44 pm
Location: Lexington, Ky.

Re: The Johnson Amendment

Postby Haruo » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:20 pm

I wonder if it's legal to yell "Fake Fire!" in a crowded theater.
Haruo (呂須•春男) = ᎭᎷᎣ = Leland Bryant Ross
Repeal the language taxLearn and use Esperanto
Fremont Baptist ChurchMy hymnblog
User avatar
Haruo
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11702
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 8:21 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: The Johnson Amendment

Postby Rvaughn » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:56 pm

A "middle view" on the Johnson Amendment:
We should limit political activity by churches—but not speech from the pulpit...repeal the Johnson Amendment with respect to things that cost no money, and leave it in place for the things that do.

"Don't repeal the Johnson Amendment, fix it"
https://www.christiancentury.org/article/dont-repeal-johnson-amendment-fix-it
User avatar
Rvaughn
 
Posts: 625
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 5:54 pm
Location: East Texas

Re: The Johnson Amendment

Postby KeithE » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:09 pm

Rvaughn wrote:A "middle view" on the Johnson Amendment:
We should limit political activity by churches—but not speech from the pulpit...repeal the Johnson Amendment with respect to things that cost no money, and leave it in place for the things that do.

"Don't repeal the Johnson Amendment, fix it"
https://www.christiancentury.org/article/dont-repeal-johnson-amendment-fix-it

I’m in agreement with this article. Pastors and other spokespeople at church should be free to expressed their political viewpoints including who they would vote for. And as Christians, they should reflect the values of Christ as they see fit. Free speech is to be honored. This may not be “Baptist” but so what.

Now hearers of those words are free to choose who they believe. And no social pressure, bullying, etc. within a church (yes that happens) should be allowed, but I admit that will be difficult to control whether or not the pastor/other spokespeople chooses to speak politically.

But political contributions should not be given to a church (and sent to political campaigns) in order to make those contribution non-taxable or not count against campaign contributions limits. And a church itself should never contribute to a political campaign.

Leave the Johnson Amendment intact wrt to money. Clarify the Amendment wrt speech.

I think that is a fair summary of the article.

From the article:
A far better solution: repeal the Johnson Amendment with respect to things that cost no money {speech}, and leave it in place for the things that do.

The text in { } is mine.
Informed by Data.
Driven by the SPIRIT and JESUS’s Example.
Promoting the Kingdom of GOD on Earth.
http://www.weatherly.org/discoverycenter
User avatar
KeithE
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8409
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: The Johnson Amendment

Postby Rvaughn » Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:49 pm

Keith, I think this could be a good compromise. It touches on my greatest concern -- that government has no business regulating speech in the pulpit -- and also on the concerns of others -- that a political organization could possibly masquerade as a church to avoid taxation.
User avatar
Rvaughn
 
Posts: 625
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 5:54 pm
Location: East Texas

Re: The Johnson Amendment

Postby KeithE » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:28 pm

Rvaughn wrote:Keith, I think this could be a good compromise. It touches on my greatest concern -- that government has no business regulating speech in the pulpit -- and also on the concerns of others -- that a political organization could possibly masquerade as a church to avoid taxation.

I know in the short term progressive causes (that I agree with in general) will not benefit since conservative churches these days are strongly and adamantly conservative politically. I hope that some day church members will read their bibles and listen to the Spirit and show some love for the poor/sick/marginalized and care for the earth.
Informed by Data.
Driven by the SPIRIT and JESUS’s Example.
Promoting the Kingdom of GOD on Earth.
http://www.weatherly.org/discoverycenter
User avatar
KeithE
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8409
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: The Johnson Amendment

Postby Rvaughn » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:07 am

Pastor Bart Barber posted an article on his blog "About the Johnson Amendment." Someone might enjoy reading it.
http://praisegodbarebones.blogspot.com/2017/04/about-johnson-amendment.html
"Repealing the Johnson Amendment will have no impact upon what my church (or most churches) do. It is an empty gesture."
User avatar
Rvaughn
 
Posts: 625
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 5:54 pm
Location: East Texas

Re: The Johnson Amendment

Postby Sandy » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:34 am

Rvaughn wrote:Pastor Bart Barber posted an article on his blog "About the Johnson Amendment." Someone might enjoy reading it.
http://praisegodbarebones.blogspot.com/2017/04/about-johnson-amendment.html
"Repealing the Johnson Amendment will have no impact upon what my church (or most churches) do. It is an empty gesture."


That's a pretty good summary. Churches are free to discern, discuss and publicly proclaim their position in a doctrinal statement, or a political one, as long as it doesn't endorse specific candidates, and I see relatively few churches that openly state a political perspective. I don't think you would find very many churches, except perhaps very small, isolated, ingrown ones, where everyone shares the same political perspective, and not many that want to alienate a chunk of the congregation over something that doesn't relate to their mission and purpose.
Sandy
Sandy
 
Posts: 8193
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 5:10 pm
Location: Rural Western Pennsylvania

Re: The Johnson Amendment

Postby William Thornton » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:45 am

Will not affect me. A church can be as political as they wish and endorse until Jesus comes...and beyond. The potential is that their IRS status is potentially as risk but no church has ever had their status changed for political endorsements. This is the reddest of red herrings. I love metaphors so I'll toss in that the issue is red meat for some segments of society.
My stray thoughts on SBC stuff may be found at my blog, SBC Plodder
User avatar
William Thornton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11814
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Atlanta

Previous

Return to Politics and Public Policy Issues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests