Today is Pulput Freedom Sunday, when nearly 500 pastors across America will re-assert their God-given, constitutional freedom to address the moral excellence and/or moral failings of government policies and procedures in our nation.
In doing so, they will be challenging a 57 year old tax code provision prohibiting tax exempt organizations from exercising their right to free speech–and in the case of pastors and churches, their right to freedom of religious expression. This tax code provision was added to our nation’s tax law in 1954 by Senator Lyndon Johnson in a self-serving move to silence his political critics.
This prohibition has nothing to do with the U.S. Constitution. This prohibition has nothing to do with the First Amendment. This prohibition has nothing to do with the so-called “separation of church and state.” It has everything to do with silencing political (and moral) speech that is unwelcome by those who have asserted enough power to quash it.
And it’s time this assault on freedom came to an end in this great country.
In taking this action today, these pastors will also be re-asserting a rich heritage going back far more than even the 235 year life of our country. They will be acting in the greatest tradition where the moral and religious leaders of our society speak out against moral ills and attacks on God-given freedoms in our society. Indeed, if pastors had not been willing to engage in “political speech” from the pulpit, there would have been no American Revolution and none of the unique Biblically-based freedoms we have enjoyed in this nation for more than two centuries. It’s no wonder the American independence effort was called the “Presbyterian Revolution” in England, for it was initiated and fueled by Presbyterian and other pastors.
Today, as our nation’s moral fiber is in tatters and our freedoms are held in contempt by those who rule us from our own capital, we desperately need a new, modern Black Robe Regiment who will step forward unafraid of a hostile government and speak what is right. We need a group of pastors who are not afraid to lead the way in being the salt and light Christ commanded all Christians to be, so that lay Christians can follow their example.
Thank God for the pastors who are participating in Pulpit Freedom Sunday today!