Pulpit Freedom

This upcoming Sunday, October 7th, is Pulpit-Freedom Sunday.  This day has been chosen by the clergy across these United States as a day to defy the Internal Revenue Code and to speak the Truth from the pulpit in terms of government policy, politics, and political issues of the moment.

The website above describes the point of the day as one where the clergy “explore what Scripture says about the selection of our national, state, or local leaders and applies Scripture and/or church doctrine to candidates and the issues held by the candidates such as life, marriage, and family,” (What happens on Pulpit-Freedom Sunday?).

Most people do not know that this is a violation of the Internal Revenue Code that classifies churches as tax-exempt.  This tax-exempt status is dependent on the church not advocating any particular politics or political philosophies though.  So the church, in order to avoid taxes, has for the most part stayed out of political messages from the pulpit, but at what cost? 

Simply, the moral decay of our entire country.  How can men called to serve the Truth and the Word stand by as men fall victim to sin and fall away from His Glory every day?  Christ came to save the lost, He came for the sinner.  If the church is unwilling to interject itself in the public conscience, then it is failing at one important aspect of it’s role in the world.  But how can we rectify the church being civilly disobedient when the Scriptures tell us to obey the governing authorities?

As a corollary to the proposition that all institutions must be subordinated to the law of equal freedom, we cannot choose but admit the right of the citizen to adopt a condition of voluntary outlawry. If every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man, then he is free to drop connection with the state—to relinquish its protection, and to refuse paying towards its support. It is self-evident that in so behaving he in no way trenches upon the liberty of others; for his position is a passive one; and whilst passive he cannot become an aggressor. It is equally self evident that he cannot be compelled to continue one of a political corporation, without a breach of the moral law, seeing that citizenship involves payment of taxes; and the taking away of a man’s property against his will, is an infringement of his rights.

Herbert Spencer

As long as by being civilly disobedient, we do not impair someone else’s God-given rights, then we are justified to be disobedient to the civil authority if that authority is threatening to violate what Spencer calls the Moral Law.

Politicians and bureaucrats, in service to themselves, have written into law that it is illegal for churches to be used for political purposes or they would forfeit their tax exempt status.

In a country where the seeds of revolution and liberty were planted and nurtured from the pulpit, this is an abomination.  I have written before (here and here) how this is a Christian country, despite calls and arguments against that statement.  The Founders own words, actions, and deeds prove otherwise.  I hardly think it reasonable that men of faith would approve of the inability of other men of faith from speaking about politics from the pulpit.

IN most Countries, they who blind and enslave the People, are popular, and reverenced; they who would enlighten and free them, hated and persecuted… It is with Measures as with Men; they are praised, or condemned, not because they are Right or Wrong, Beneficial or Hurtful, but because they come from this Party, or the other. Evil is turned into Good, and Good into Evil: Truth passes for Falsehood; Falsehood is dressed up in the Guise of Truth: The best Actions are decried as the worst, if they arise from one Quarter; the worst Actions adored as the best, if from the other. The Resisting of lawless Tyrants, is, at one time, Rebellion and Damnation: To rebel against the most lawful Authority, is, at another time, Duty and Glory… When we have taken a Fancy to a Man, and choose or consider him as our Chief and Leader, we are disposed to see all Excellency and no Fault in him, to think him every way able to serve and support us, and quite uncapable of betraying or hurting us, or of ill serving us. We represent him to ourselves, just like ourselves, full of warm Zeal for Us and our Cause, without any Views to himself, or any Motives that are personal… Party Principles are therefore substituted for moral Principles; the sure way to destroy all Morality, and to confound the Characters of Men, and even those of Good and Evil. In truth, Morality, with Sense, is the only true Standard of Popularity, and the only just Recommendation to it. A virtuous Man can never endanger Liberty, nor hurt Society; nor is a wicked Man ever to be trusted with the Support of either. Yet from this Spirit, this baneful and pestilent Spirit of Party, the ablest and best Men are often precluded from the Service of their Country; the weakest, the worst, and most contemptible, employed in its Service; and the best Men often forced from that Service, to make room for the worst.

Thomas Gordon

If those that we trust with explaining and exposing us to the Truth and the Word of God are not allowed to speak about the contemporary issues facing us today without fear of persecution via taxation, then we must force the issue.  Without this moral compass projected on to the national stage from our churches, then we are adrift in an amoral sea of opinion and vicissitude.  This is why each election seems like the choice between the lesser of two evils.  Our own civil laws are insulating us from the Truth and it’s role in our political fate.   By not advocating God’s Word openly about everything in the world today including political issues, we are offering a pinch of incense for Caesar rather than giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s.

I stand with these clergy, and I hope more and more say “ENOUGH. I will not stand silently by as my country descends into moral darkness.”  I hope that they will stop hiding from persecution and embrace it as edification of a job well done and the friction of a fallen world to the Truth and Glory of the Risen Lord.

Maybe one day we will be able to say we have the choice between the greater of two good men rather than choice between the lesser of two evils.  If only we would shine the light of Truth on all candidates and policies advocated from the pulpit, where the origins of this country’s freedoms and liberties were first planted.  Then we could see the end of the indulgences, of bondage to the state as the arbiter of good and evil, and see the restoration of Liberty and Freedom.

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