Ur Video: Pulpit Freedom Sunday
This Sunday, pastors across the country will endorse a candidate from the pulpit.

Pastor Jim Garlow is leading an effort this Sunday to defy the IRS regulation preventing pastors from endorsing political candidates or risk losing their tax-exempt status. Known as "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," Garlow was on The Colbert Report last night to discuss the issue. Despite Garlow's stunt, 87 percent of pastors surveyed by LifeWay still believe they should not endorse a candidate from the pulpit.

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Pulpit Freedom Sunday - Jim Garlow
www.colbertnation.com
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October 03, 2012

Displaying 1–10 of 12 comments

bil_

October 11, 2012  10:24am

I came here based on the title expecting a far different article (shame on me for forgetting that EVERYTHING must revolve around politics right now). Every time this comes up John 19:15 comes to mind: The religious leaders replied,"We have no king but Caesar." So the question in my mind is, 'Who does my pulpit serve?'

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Anonymous

October 09, 2012  12:54pm

The problem with endorsing a candidate is that no candidate, as well as no political party, embraces Biblical truth completely. There are aspects of conservatism that are in harmony with Biblical principles, but there are other aspects that are not. The same holds true for liberalism. By endorsing one candidate or one ideology over the other, you lose the credibility to speak prophetically to either side.

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Nate

October 05, 2012  10:43pm

The founding fathers clearly considered the press something different from other for-profit businesses, because they gave it special protection in the bill of rights.

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Reader

October 05, 2012  2:25pm

Elegance, I agree. I'm just not sure that endorsing a candidate ever reaches the level of "speaking the truth."

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elegance

October 05, 2012  8:27am

Reader, you are correct. Still, I think the church should speak the truth at all times anyway.

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Reader

October 05, 2012  6:21am

Elegance, you are making two different points. Tax-exempt status for churches has nothing to do with federal income tax. I am a pastor and I pay my income tax every year. The tax-exempt status for churches refers to property tax and donations.

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elegance

October 04, 2012  7:32pm

I think that churches should not care one whit about 'tax-exempt status' and then they could say anything they please. Of course, when this nation was founded and until the Civil War, there were no federal income taxes at all. Somehow, Congress managed to run the place anyway - no Meidicare, no Social Security, no WIC, no welfare, and still, the whole world wanted to come here, go figure.

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Reader

October 03, 2012  2:41pm

I'm with Sheer, in that this pastor has every right to do so. The IRS, then, has every right to revoke tax-exempt status. Frankly, that's an agreement we have with the federal gov't. You can break the contract, but don't cry "persecution" if the natural consequences play themselves out.

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Kevin

October 03, 2012  1:04pm

Tax exempt status is not necessary to the mission of the church, but from a policy standpoint, churches are non-profit organizations that serve. The press, on the other hand, for the most part is profit driven and privately owned. Big difference. I've always felt pastors, churches and individual Christians should think long and hard about publicly engaging in politics. It's hard to spread the Good News if you alienate half the people before you give them the Good News. When hearts turn to Christ, right decisions and life choices will come regardless of politics. But no matter the policy/politics, wholesale change will never come if hearts aren't changed.

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Nate

October 03, 2012  11:25am

This strikes me as much less of a religious/theological argument, and much more about the way the U.S. ought to be governed. Jim Garlow is essentially saying the founding fathers believed (and a later supreme court upheld) that religious institutions ought to be given a tax exemption, implying that they intrinsically hold a civic benefit. Funny that tax exemption doesn't apply to, say, the press, which is also given first amendment protection. The problem, of course, is that the boundaries that distinguish a "religious" organization from a non-religious is fuzzy. The enlightenment-thinking founding fathers may have thought there was clearly a distinction, but it is not so clear now. Garlow isn't saying anything about what pastors ought to do, because pastors ought to do what God is leading them to do, regardless of the implications on tax exemption status. I'd be wary of someone who claims that a tax-exempt status is necessary to the mission of the church.

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