Political pulpitry

Did you know today was Pulpit Freedom Sunday

Decisions about what is preached from the pulpit of a church should not belong to the government but to the individual pastor and church itself. That is why I support Pulpit Freedom Sunday, to be observed on Sept. 26, in which pastors across America will take a courageous stand and boldly challenge the IRS’s restrictions on their freedom of speech when it comes to political candidates and issues. If the IRS threatens their tax-exempt status, ADF [Alliance Defense Fund -*Rick] attorneys will file lawsuits on these pastors’ behalf with the hope that they will eventually lead to the Johnson Amendment being declared unconstitutional. ADF believes that if these cases ever come to trial, this will be the likely result.

Of course, the usual suspects were up in arms:

The ADF and those who back their project say this is about “freedom of speech.” They claim the law has “silenced” the church and hope a violation will lead to a court challenge that ends in changing the law.

But Americans United – and, indeed, the vast majority of Americans – believe pulpit politicking is a very bad idea.

“Clergy serve as spiritual advisers, not political bosses,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “Pulpit politicking violates federal tax law and offends the vast majority of church-goers.

“The nation is already bitterly divided over politics this year,” he continued. “Now, Religious Right political hacks want to haul that divisiveness into America’s houses of worship.”

Oh yes Mr. Lynn, Religious Right political hacks like… Barack Hussein Obama… mmm, mmm, mmm:

With nothing else working, President Barack Obama is asking religious leaders to help him sell the public on health care reform.

POLITICO listened in to an Oval Office conference call Tuesday, where Obama and top administration officials, beseeched thousands of faith-based and community organizations to preach the gospel on new insurance reforms, chiefly the Patients’ Bill of Rights.

“Get out there and spread the word,” Obama told leaders from across the religious spectrum on the conference call, organized by the Health and Human Services Center for Faith-Based and Community Partnerships.

“This is something that we’ll be able to look back on, just like we do on Medicare and Social Security, as a cornerstone that improves the security of millions of Americans, at the same time lowers costs and gets control of costs, both at the government level, but also for families and businesses,” he added.

Obama instructed faith leaders to treat the new law as settled fact and use their perches of power to convey that message to congregants and friends.

“The debate in Washington is over, the Affordable Care Act is now law … I think all of you can be really important validators and trusted resources for friends and neighbors, to help explain what’s now available to them,” he said.

No mention that I can find of Obama’s directive to Religious Leftists over at Barry Lynn’s place… he must’ve simply missed it… I’m sure…

And I’m sure this sort of preaching, in a Catholic church no less, is A-OK with Mr. Lynn and his ilk:

Visitors at a different parish this morning. Treated to a homily on global warming, which had what to do with the rich man and Lazarus I’m not sure. Thank you, Father, for making my pre-teens cynical about the Church because they know the facts of the case better than you, and for making my weekly opportunity to refresh my soul tedious. I’m sure you meant well.

The priest, who seemed a perfectly nice fellow, avuncular in aspect and tone, said we could talk about the environment “leaving politics aside,” and then proceeded to repeat a set of political talking points which might have been credible three years ago but are thoroughly discredited now. I suppose like many pastors he doesn’t have time to keep up. Which suggests some things, but that’s not my purpose here.

There’s a different attitude sweeping the country these days… an attitude informed by alternative media, an attitude that won’t tolerate the double standards and the hypocrisy put on by those who decry political pulpitry when liberalism is targeted and turn a blind eye to it when the target involves conservativism.

Hats off to the ADF and Pulpit Freedom Sunday.

Might it lead to a most productive reversal of current law.

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