Mike Huckabee News
Aug 01 2014
Did someone drop the Bill of Rights into a paper shredder when we weren’t looking? I can’t think of any other way to explain the news that the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the IRS (the same fair and objective squad of public servants that was once headed by Lois Lerner) has agreed to appease atheists by promising to “monitor” church sermons for any forbidden expression of opinions on matters of public morality. For instance, if a minister speaks out against gay marriage or Obamacare paying for abortion drugs, his church might lose its tax-exempt status, because those are political issues. Of course, they are also basic moral issues, the type of things you might expect would be addressed, oh, I don’t know…in CHURCH!!
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based atheist group, cited in its complaint the 1954 Johnson Amendment that bars tax-exempt groups from endorsing candidates (two points: speaking out on a moral issue that has a political component is not endorsing a candidate, and besides, I don’t see them complaining about all the liberal candidates who practically live in black church pulpits during election season) and a 2009 court ruling that requires the IRS to have a staffer to monitor churches to prevent them from politicking. The IRS claims this latest move is just to comply with that ruling that they’d been ignoring.
But they should have been ignoring it. The First Amendment contains five key freedoms, and for the government to monitor what’s said in church pulpits and punish them for it makes a mockery of at least two of them: freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If the IRS bans the sermon from being printed in the church bulletin, we can add freedom of the press to the death list, too. The only thing left of the First Amendment would be the rights to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. So if this latest assault on conservative churchgoers by the IRS makes people decide to assemble in Washington with tar and feathers, just consider it an exercise of the two-fifths of the First Amendment that are still in force.