October 5, 2012

Time to Stand Up for Church-State Separation

October 7 is being called "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," and this is the day when roughly 1,400 Christian pastors in the U.S. are planning to break the law by endorsing political candidates. Such an act is expressly prohibited by the IRS for tax-exempt organizations and ought to lead to the revocation of the tax-exempt status of those churches that participate. And yet, some observers do not expect any such consequences to be forthcoming. It seems that those with the responsibility of enforcing this law rarely do so.

The churches have a reason for doing this. They are hoping to force the IRS to enforce the law so they can simultaneously cry persecution and seek to overturn the law in court.

So what can those of us concerned about separation of church and state do? Should we simply refuse to have the law enforced, or should be be preparing for a fight? As far as I'm concerned, this should be an occasion for activism.

I think this legal fight is going to happen sooner or later. By refusing to enforce the law, we are giving up without a fight. I don't think that is wise. Separation of church and state is too important.

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