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Letter: IRS should stop muzzling pastors

The IRS bullies pastors. It started when two anti-communist, tax-exempt groups opposed Sen. Lyndon Johnson for his 1954 re-election. Johnson fought back with an amendment to a tax bill simply to benefit him. The amendment threatened tax-exempt or...

The IRS bullies pastors. It started when two anti-communist, tax-exempt groups opposed Sen. Lyndon Johnson for his 1954 re-election. Johnson fought back with an amendment to a tax bill simply to benefit him. The amendment threatened tax-exempt organizations endorsing political candidates with the loss of their 501(c)(3) status, without hearings to examine its effect on churches.

Under the First Amendment pastors have always had the right to determine what they preach, not the IRS. The political system in Jesus' day did not involve separation of church and state. Politics was at the center of His story. Crucifixion was used by Rome for those who rejected its governmental authority. His passion for the Kingdom of God created conflict with authorities and still does.

In the end we cannot blame Johnson or the IRS. It seems it has never stopped liberal pastors preaching politics or secular humanism in schools. Many brave pastors have sent their political sermons to the IRS. The law never should have passed, has never been enforced because it is illegal and should be repealed.

The 63-year self-imposed silence has come from pastors who fear the IRS more than God. They would not be afraid of losing their tax-exempt status if they trusted God to pick up the financial slack. So I have to disagree with Lloyd Omdahl. If the Johnson amendment is repealed, we will see more pastors being salt and light. We will not see campaign banners, balloons; fistfights, dogs and cats living together or mass hysteria.

Willem lives in Moorhead.

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