Recently, I wrote a letter to the Naples Daily News about how one politician motivated by revenge used the political process to silence the pulpits in America. The “Johnson Amendment” is just one of numerous unconstitutional attacks that have gone on for decades without even a whimper of opposition from the church. The continued attacks by our government and the silence of God’s people, reminds me of the biblical story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:29 (NKJV). Goliath (like our government) before meeting his defeat to David had been insulting God and His people in an attempt to entice one man to battle for the plunder of both nations. Out of fear no one would meet his challenge other than David. Before entering into battle David asked the question in faith “is there not a cause?” Certainly, defiance toward God is rampant in all aspects of the American public arena today. I pray against that dark cloud of complacent apathy that covers over our nation, that it would be replaced by a faith filled people asking as David did in his day “is there not a cause?” If we continue to allow America’s Godly heritage to be removed from our nation, we will also witness God’s hedge of protection collapse around our nation.
This time, I have included below my letter a few comments that appeared on the Naples Daily News website in response to my letter to the editor. These are examples of individuals who may have never had the opportunity to witness the light of truth as a result of the decades of complacent apathy amongst Christians in regard to defending America’s Godly heritage.
Thomas Hughes, Naples
Speak up, pastors
For nearly 200 years, pastors spoke freely and boldly from America’s pulpits on the most significant social and political issues of the day.
Pastors gave “election sermons” calling out the names of candidates, their party affiliation and then comparing scripture with the political issues the candidates supported.
In 1954, 200 years of church history were changed by one man (Sen. Lyndon Johnson) wanting to get back at two nonprofit organizations for criticizing his political affiliations and his private business dealings. The “Johnson Amendment” meant for the first time nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations and churches must stay out of the political arena or face losing their tax exemption status.
This law violates biblical and historical precedents, it violates the “Free Exercise Clause” and the “Free Speech Clause” of the First Amendment and must be repealed. Pastors once again need to address the social and political issues of today and be reminded “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts).
The Rev. Charles Finney reminded ministers in his day: “Brethren … If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree … If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.”
2 Days Ago
We certainly do not more religion in our government, and to say that the law prohibiting churches from endorsing particular politicians is unconstitutional as implied by the writer is ludicrous.
2 Days Ago
I also wonder how Mr. Hughes or any of his politically oriented preacher friends know exactly what God wants, unless He’s speaking directly to them, which somehow I doubt. Even Luke, the writer of Acts in the Bible, was only a man — the Big Guy in the Sky didn’t dictate the Good Book.
2 Days Ago
Thomas, Lyndon Johnson and the U.S Senate were correct in 1954. It’s too bad this law isn’t inforced more rigorously today. It’s bad enough that political candidates use religion in thier quest for political office. There is enough lying in politic’s without adding more with religion.
We need to keep religion out of politic’s and schools. Those tax breaks cost our country and ALL Americans billions of dollars every year.
Would all you bible thumping Repub’s think it was OK if another religion was in the majority or used these tax breaks more than ‘Christians’?
2 Days Ago
The preachers still have their free speech.
They just lose their tax-exempt status if they use it.
2 Days Ago
The separation of church and state is a good thing.
Without it we would be no better than Iran or any other Islamic State.
2 Days Ago
“This law violates biblical and historical precedents,”
Biblical? You mean based on that book which is full of truths, half truths, lies, fables, stories, innuendo, mis-interpretation, silliness and which has been edited, abridged, politically modified for the times and is victim to many omissions?
People in this country are allowed to believe whatever they want as long as they don’t stop others from doing the same. Is that concept buried anywhere in you book of stories?
Religious people are most certainly entitled to their opinions, even crazy ones, but we should make them pay taxes just as everone else who has the right to vote.
It’s absurd, when we consider that God (there, I said it,) knows how much we spend defending Israel’s right to steal Palestinian lands and kill their women and children, let alone how much we spend putting up with abortion rights deniers and other crazy people who, as a rule, vote Republican.
Hence, I propose that we tax all church property and income and also levy a “crazy tax” on Republican voters.
When pastors start preaching politics it’s time to tax them. There is already enough of this going on. Tax them all and our fiscal problem will soon be solved.
2 Hours Ago
Thomas Hughes – you say ….
“For nearly 200 years, pastors spoke freely and boldly from America’s pulpits on the most significant social and political issues of the day.”
Pastors, known as Mullahs in the Middle East are still doing it. Perhaps, if you need a religious person to think for you and believe a religious based society is best, you should move to Iran.
I would ask that you pray for these individuals in darkness.
Blessings – Thomas Hughes
Educate and Inspire Americans to restore our Godly heritage