For Life and Freedom: A Political Proposal For 2016

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(Nov. 12, 2014)

[UPDATE: Feb. 1, 2016. Note the original posting date of this essay: Nov. 12, 2014. Since then, the Supreme Court has extended equal protection to same-sex couples. Around the turn of 2015-2016 Russell Shaw wrote Catholic Voters and 2016 and George Weigel wrote Looking Toward November 8, both pointing out that the next president will likely be able to reshape the Supreme Court in a manner which, in Weigel's words, could deal "potentially fatal hammer blows [to the causes of life and religious freedom] for the foresseable future." Some pundits want to relive 1820 to 1865 ( the year a bloody civil war ended) by ignoring Supreme Court rulings. In 2015, Fr. Frank Pavone published a book, Abolishing Abortion etc., just in this writer's hand, in which he addresses the Johnson Amendment to the IRS code. It remains to be seen if pro-life grass-roots/legislative tracking organizations, such as NCHLA / Human Life Action, will continue to be incompetently reticent about future federal judicial nominations. And the presidential race has certainly gotten interesting, hasn't it? If a reckless, wildly swinging wrecking ball with angry white males clinging to it is what it takes to keep a proabortion president out of The White House, so be it. Eventually I will write an essay that supercedes this.]

There have been many presidential elections of which I have said that it doesn't matter who wins. One year I opined that the only difference one candidate or the other winning would make is in how fast gasoline got to $5.00 a gallon.

In a 2012 essay entitled "Paul Ryan, Literary Idols and Catholic Wonk Words" (1), I argued in the sidebar that bishops should avoid being seen with politicians, including those who are sympathetic to Catholic causes.

However, regarding the 2016 presidential election, I cast these attitudes aside. In 2016, it matters very much who wins the U.S. presidency because we have come to a crisis point for pro-life progress and the freedoms of religion, speech and press.

The Nominating Power

A president is not just one person. He or she is all the people he or she appoints, the judges or other unelected policymakers such as those who make regulations for federal agencies. A Democrat candidate who wins the White House in 2016, no matter how moderate he or she may seem, will have to please the Democratic Party's powerful base of pro-abortionists and anti-faith sexual expressionists (2), To do so, that Democrat president will appoint judges and bureaucrats who will make abortion an absolute right and who will rule and regulate away our freedoms to express and live by our beliefs.

The 2016 election must be won by the Republican presidential candidate, no matter how much a schmendrake he or she is (and is likely to be). Catholic bishops, priests and leaders of other faiths must, where and when necessary, take an active role in persuading voters to vote for the Republican nominee, even if it means flouting Internal Revenue Service regulations for non-profits.

A growing number of evangelical Christian pastors, more than 1600 in 2014, are taking positions in campaigns, mostly endorsing Republicans (3).

What About 2014?

That the Republicans have captured the Senate in 2014 should not be cause for a sigh of relief. While a Republican-controlled upper chamber can refuse to confirm the nominations of Obama or a Democrat successor elected in 2016, there is no guarantee that it will. It is much preferable to have a president who does not nominate pro-abortion, sexual-expressionist totalitarians in the first place. A bicameral Republican congress may also get into mischief, such as leading the country into unwanted foreign wars, that hands the White House to the Democrats in 2016.

The Crisis

As I mentioned at the outset, a crisis has developed because of the following converging trends against pro-life progress and freedoms of religion, speech and press:

1) Resurgence of American Anti-Catholicism. While the suspicion that the Catholic church is a criminal conspiracy (not entitled to any rights) out to oppress free people has not been expressed as much as it was before the First Civil War and in the 1920s, it still dwells in the American psyche. As American as apple pie, anti-Catholicism is again bearing its teeth. However unlike the old bigoted dogs, the new breed of secular anti-Catholics are sexual expressionists unrestrained by Christian ethics. Their accusation against the church is that it is out to stifle sexual freedom. They are as dangerous and potentially as deadly as the ancient Roman pagans.

2) Reason Yielding To Sentimentality. St. Thomas More said, "I'd give the devil the benefit of the law for my own safety's sake." The protection of First Amendment rights won (largely by liberals) in the mid-20th century as well as the civic attitude of tolerance that was fostered by that protection is eroding. Fewer people accept the principle, "I don't agree with what you say, but I'll defend your right to say it because it protects my right to say what I believe." That attitude is giving way to a fickle, irrational, hypocritical, emotional mindset that is guided only by what it likes or abhors in the moment: "I don't like you, what you believe in, what you say, so you ought to be silenced and I'm OK with you being harassed and even destroyed." Or to use a real example: The sports team owner is a jerk, so it's OK if bullies and extortionists interfere with his property rights.

People who think like this don't understand that a pendulum wildly swinging every which way will eventually wrap around their necks and strangle them. Unfortunately, elites, who have often been the protectors of rights in the face of the fickle and ignorant, have dumbed themselves down to where they themselves are fickle and ignorant. Written laws that guarantee civil liberties eventually won't offer much protection if they are not bolstered by public belief in civil liberties, if not even judges understand or believe in them.

3) Growing Intolerance. That East and West Coast urban liberals harbor an intense hatred for white Christians is nothing new. However, coupled with the abandonment of principle for sentiment and of the Christian vision of human dignity, it has become dangerous. Many urban liberals are convinced that white Christians are an inferior species, insects out in the hinterland. They cannot conceive that there are devout Christians like this writer living and working in their midst.

As one of these infiltrators, I can tell you that there are urban liberals, ordinary people, who would have no problem with the persecution of Christians and who would indeed cheer it. I am certain that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in his dissent in U.S. v Windsor (133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013)), the gay marriage case, was referring to this hatred when he wrote that the majority had characterized opponents of gay marriage as hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race. That is what the Romans called the accused Christians of being whenever they persecuted them.

4) Evil and Stupid Academics. For years many university and law school students have been indoctrinated by radical feminists and aging hippy professors in militant political correctness and sexual expressionism. For these students, rabid intolerance of differing viewpoints and harassment of those with whom they disagree is normal, heroic behavior (4). These people who shout down guest speakers on their campuses, who invent crimes such as "micro-aggression" and who call wearing sombreros an act of racism do not believe in freedom of speech or of religion or of conscience. They have been graduating and taking their brutal attitudes into careers in the grievance industry. These are the types who seek power, gain it and make policy. They are obsessed with their anti-male, pro-abortion and pro-homosexual agenda.

A coming trend may be academics in charge of accrediting agencies threatening to discontinue the accreditation of Catholic and Christian colleges and universities if those institutions continue to proclaim the church's teaching on sexual matters (5).

As of Nov. 2014, the justices currently sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court were born between 1933 and 1960. All but two were born in 1950 or before. During the presidential terms beginning in 2017 and 2021, there will be many retirements from the supreme bench, a majority turnover.

5)"The Supreme Court, The Supreme Court, The Supreme Court." (6) Liberal Democrats are much more savvy about courts -- and the political process in general -- than pro-lifers and other social conservatives. Because they have contempt for democracy and average Americans, liberals rely heavily on courts, upon which many of their elitist comrades sit, to get their way. If liberals don’t like a law that a majority of the people have enacted, they know they have a chance at getting that law struck down in court.

As of Nov. 2014, the justices currently sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court were born between 1933 and 1960. All but two were born in 1950 or before. During the presidential terms beginning in 2017 and 2021, there will be many retirements from the supreme bench, a majority turnover. The president sitting during those eight years who replaces those retirees will have an impact on how much religious and other freedom we have -- or don't have -- for decades.

The Stakes

By now every informed person of faith should know how Obama's Affordable Care Act placed persons and charities such as the Little Sisters of The Poor between violating their conscience by providing coverage for contraception or by paying severely punitive fines (7). Because the U.S. Government could provide contraception for all without involving religious institutions, there is well-founded suspicion that the Democrat government is colluding with sexual expressionists to oppress people of faith who disapprove of the sexual expressionists' agenda. This is sure to continue and expand if another Democrat administration is elected in 2016.

Other things that will be threatened by a Democrat president who empowers anti-Catholics and sexual expressionists include:

1) Pro-Life Progress. Over the past several years, the Pro-Life Movement has made great strides in reducing the number of abortions by getting enacted, on the state level, health-of-the-mother legislation that holds abortion facilities to higher cleanliness, safety and professional standards. Most facilities, because they are run by butchers and not genuine health-care professionals, would rather close than meet the standards. The abortion industry, wearing its glittering bling, Planned Parenthood, has exchanged gloves for brass knuckles. It is countering the Pro-life arguments that life begins at conception and that abortion can be regretted act for women with "Yes, we know life begins at conception and we don't care," and with women who had an abortion and who testify: “A first trimester abortion takes three to five minutes. It is safer than giving birth...I feel good. I’m done. Yay.” (8)

Beyond the battle for hearts and minds, even if the pro-life side is gaining ground in public opinion, the pro-abortion people are planning to take down pro-lifers and their legislative victories in the courts. These are arenas in which public opinion, uplifting stories and how many young people show up at the marches and rallies do not matter. Every chance they get, pro-abortion lawyers will argue that an absolute abortion right is necessary for women to enjoy protection of the laws equal to men and that regulation of clinics outright deprives women of this right or deprives them indirectly by imposing "undue burden" as vaguely defined in guiding Supreme Court abortion decisions. See my essay, The Pro-Life Movement And The Equal Protection Iceberg (9).

Right now (Nov. 2014) four of nine Supreme Court justices, including all three women, solidly support the absolute abortion right. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has made it her life project. As explained above, a Democrat president elected in 2016 will likely have the chance to nominate one or more justices during his or her term. Because judicial appointments are of particular interest to the Democratic Party's pro-abortion base, the Democrat president, to please that base, will surely appoint pro-abortion justices. There will then be a majority on the highest court who can strike down all abortion regulation, setting the pro-life movement back decades and causing the deaths of tens of millions of unborn children.

2) The Freedom to Preach and Teach. The Internal Revenue Code and IRS regulations, which I discuss further below and in the sidebar, grant non-profit, tax-exempt status to churches, religious groups and organizations provided, among other requirements, that they do not endorse or oppose specific political candidates. However what constitutes electioneering is open to interpretation and determined by IRS bureaucrats. For decades, pro-abortion groups including The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) have been arguing to IRS bureaucrats that bishops, priests and ministers preaching against abortion and Obamacare and preaching for freedom of conscience, even though they don't mention specific candidates in their communications, constitutes electioneering in violation of regulations made pursuant to 501(c)(3).

In 2012, the FFRF filed suit against the acting commissioner of the IRS (10) complaining that the agency was not enforcing its political intervention prohibitions. In 2014, the FFRF filed and was granted a motion to dismiss the suit without prejudice, meaning it can be revived again. The motion was filed after the pro-abortion group was copied a letter from an IRS examinations director to one of Obama's assistant attorney generals, that is a subordinate to Eric Holder (11), the William Cecil of the 21st Century.

The IRS has truly been lax in moving against churches who violate the intervention prohibition. Even pastors who have sent tapes of their sermons to the agency hoping to be sued are disappointed at the lack of response. However as Quin Hillyer wrote in “The IRS' God Complex,” (12), Obama's IRS may be starting to listen to the FFRF. The aforementioned letter between Obama's IRS and Obama's DOJ, the missive that appeased the FFRF, promised that the IRS was reviewing its examination procedures and notified that it has a list of about 100 churches that it is going to examine.

Democrats are becoming bolder about using offices and agencies for raw political purposes. If Obama's IRS doesn't go after churches with a ludicrously stretched electioneering net, the IRS of more earnest totalitarian Democrats such as Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, Andrew Cuomo and Elizabeth Warren will.

There are also state laws regulating non-profit advocacy group's' relationships with candidates. For a commentary on how "bad laws and bad bureaucracies [are] susceptible to abuse by bad people," see George Will's Oct. 24, 2014 column, "The nastiest political tactic this year." (13)

3) The Seal of The Confessional. Likely future assaults against religious freedom will also be directed at the Catholic confessional. Why? Because we are living through a flare-up of feminist rape hysteria and Catholic priests may know who rapists and other are types of criminals are. <sarcasm> We can't let principle and law and some perverted church's crazy seal of confession stand in the way of catching these monsters.</sarcasm>

In the very Catholic State of Louisiana, parents of a molested girl sued a Catholic priest and the Diocese of Baton Rouge on the grounds that what the girl told the priest in the confessional was not really a confession and that therefore the priest was obligated to report the crime under La.'s mandatory reporting laws (14). The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled in Mayeux v. Charlet that a trial court in an evidentiary hearing, that is, the state, must decide whether or not the dialog that took place between the priest and the girl was an actual confession. As of Nov. 2014, The Diocese of Baton Rouge has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court (15).

4) The Expansion of "Hate Crimes." For centuries, it was a principle of law that a perpetrator's motive is not a factor in determining punishment. Vandalism was punished as vandalism. Assault was punished as assault. No extra penalties were added because someone vandalized a church or synagogue out of hatred for Christians or Jews or because someone had a racial motive for assault. It was a sad day for the rule of law and principle when the "hate crime" was codified, when criminal acts were aggravated that is, made more grievous by the motive of the perpetrator. If we now have crimes that are made worse by "hate," why not just take the next logical step and make hate itself a crime?

Why is that bad? Isn't hate wrong? Why shouldn't people be punished for it? First of all, hate is an extremely elastic term. The Catholic church's teaching about the immorality of homosexual acts is considered by many to be "hate." Others consider non-Mexicans wearing sombreros to be "hate." In countries such as the U.K. and Canada, where politically correct tyrants have bullied society farther along toward totalitarianism, a man (U.K.) was arrested (but released) for posting on-line a joke about Nelson Mandela (16), a joke that did not even include a racial epithet. A man in Scotland was fined almost $50,000.00 for the "hate crime" of declaring that homosexuality is wrong.

An example of hate may be a genuine example of vice, but as St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in Summa Theologica (17), you can't outlaw everything that is immoral including vice, only those acts such as murder and theft which are more grievous and harmful to the order of society. Thomas’ reasoning was that imposing too much on imperfect men would cause them to despise the precepts, i.e., lose respect for the rule of law, and “break into evils worse still.”

Bishop William E. Lori

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori (left) and Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz at 2014 Fortnight For Freedom closing Mass.

5) "Open Season On Any Law"The liberal justices currently (2014) sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court have shown their willingness, in deciding cases, to not only consider motive but also judge that motive to be hateful. In the majority opinion in U.S. v. Windsor (133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013)), the decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, the majority called DOMA a "bare desire to harm," intended to "disparage and to injure" a law that instructs that "[gay] marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others."

The Supreme Court is supposed to judge laws according to what the U.S. Constitution permits or prohibits, not whether the laws are bad or good or because those who enacted them were being mean. In his livid Windsor dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia reminded, "It is a familiar principle of constitutional law that this court will not strike down an otherwise constitutional statute on the basis of an alleged illicit legislative motive [emphasis mine]. Or at least it was[emph] a familiar principle....[T]he majority has declared open season on any law that (in the opinion of the law's opponents and any panel of like-minded federal judges) can be characterized as mean-spirited (18).

In 2010, Francis George, Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago, said in a speech, "I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history" (19).

People dying in prison or in the public square may do so sooner than the cardinal envisions. And, unless martyrdom was truly a privilege granted by God, it would all be so unnecessary. Catholics, Christians and those of other faiths who are threatened by the spreading war on religion are not poor fish hiding in the catacombs of ancient Rome. We have education, money and power. We don't have to put up with this.

Why Bold Action In 2016 Is Necessary

The extraordinary and risky step of religious leaders endorsing the Republican presidential candidate in 2016 is necessary because, despite the encouragement of 2014 victories and the sensible strategies behind them, the party that still harbors some respect for human life and liberty can easily slide back to where it needs virtual divine intervention to capture the White House.

The Catholic Church has a special responsibility in this matter. White and Hispanic Catholic Democrats were the deciding vote that gave the White House to Obama in 2008 and 2012 (20). In the 2014 midterms, Catholics voted in the same percentages as in 2012 (20). They will be the deciding vote in 2016.

Indeed we might not have reached this crisis had the U.S. Catholic Church not thus far done a lousy, inadequate job of educating its faithful about abortion and religious liberty. In an October 2014 essay on (21), former USCCB, lobbyist Mark Gallagher tells how liberal Democrats with priorities other than human life at the USCCB stifled anti-abortion efforts. Despite a pro-lifeward shifting of priorities and restaffing, the conference has yet to come out banging the drum on abortion loudly enough to wake up maintenance pastors, fourth-generation Democrats and soccer-preoccupied parents in the pews.

The same goes for religious freedom. The U.S. Catholic Church has settled into highlighting religious freedom for two weeks every June like there's all the time in the world. Again, because the issue isn't transmitted at a high enough amperage to even cause a tingling, let alone a jolt, most Catholics in the pews, and even most of their pastors, I would wager, have never heard of the Fortnight For Freedom. A 2013 Barna poll (22), showed that only 30% of practicing Catholics, compared to 70% of poll-defined Evangelicals, have concern that religious freedom is being diminished.

That 40% difference shows how far ahead of Catholics Evangelical Christians are when it comes to educating their faithful about which politicians take positions in line with Christian morality. The evangelicals have only one day a year devoted to religious freedom, Pulpit Freedom Sunday in October. However they are not shy about encouraging sermonizers to electioneer. As mentioned above, during the 2014 election run-up, over 1600 evangelical pastors participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday organized by The Alliance Defending Freedom. Many of these pastors continued to express their opinions of candidates on following Sundays.

IRS Regulations

Other than a lack of will, know-how and gumption, why don't some houses of worship endorse specific candidates? The answer is: money. These institutions don't want to pay taxes and they want their donors' donations to be tax deductible. The legal reason that religious organizations don't electioneer is 26 U.S. Code § 501: Exemption from tax on corporations, certain trusts, etc. (23). Section 501(c)(3) lists the types of tax exempt organizations with (3) stating [excisions mine] ", organized and operated exclusively for religious...purposes, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation...and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."

So there is no law, divine, natural or iron that gags religious organizations, that prohibits them from speaking for or against candidates. Religious organizations avoid speaking for or against candidates because those organizations may lose their tax exempt status. Or they may not. As written above, the IRS has not been enforcing lately, but that could change. If the Internal Revenue Service sues violators and prevails, the violators can appeal. If the violators lose their tax-exempt status, they can reapply for it. A president and U.S. Congress sympathetic to religious freedom can prevent enforcement of 26 U.S. Code § 501(c)(3). The IRS is very afraid of and easily cowed by Congress. Or, best of all, that president and Congress can repeal 501(c)(3) altogether.

For the interesting history and further discussion of § 501(c)(3), see the sidebar Repeal The Johnson Amendment!. 501(c)(3) is "bad law” in George Will’s words, “susceptible to abuse by bad people.” It was thought up by a bad man. As I warned above, the IRS under Democrat administrations is likely, even now, preparing to deploy that bad law in attacking religious freedom.

A Limited Effort

What I am offering here is a suggestion with little detail. An actual implementation would involve a great deal of legal, political and public relations planning. If any religious groups, particularly Catholic entities, take my proposal seriously and endorse the Republican presidential candidate, they should brace themselves for a category 5 hurricane of blowback from the left, particularly from the left in the pews of their own churches. They may also expect many years of bitter aftermath.

To minimize the dirtying of their hands in politics and perhaps even reduce the ferocity of opposition and resentment, religious leaders need not concern themselves with candidates other than the presidential. No other officeholders have the critical nominating power. Leave Democrat candidates for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and other local offices alone.

Religious leaders also need not make the endorsement of the Republican a national, general effort. It would be a foolish waste of time and resources to try convincing hardcore urban Democrats to vote Republican. They never will. Religious leaders can limit their persuasive efforts to certain geographic areas inhabited significantly by the following two groups:

1) Hispanics. Of all Catholics who vote for Democrats, Hispanics are, according to the Pew reports cited at Note 20, the largest group.

2) Blue-Collar Caucasian Democrats. Sometimes known as "Reagan Democrats," these white Democrats are conservative and traditional in their values. They tend to live in states with high numbers of electoral votes. They cling to the Democratic Party because it was their grandfather's or because they are union members or because they associate Democrats with their federal benefits. Because their local Democrat politicians tend also to be white, conservative and traditional (perhaps even pro-life Democrats), that is, unlike big-city radicals, blue-collar white Democrats are likely still not even aware that the Democratic Party is dominated by pro-abortionists, sexual expressionists and aspiring tyrants.

Lastly endorsers should avoid building up the Republican candidate, saying he's a God-fearing family man etc. He or she will probably be a Wall St., energy company tool. It should be made clear to all, especially the candidate, that the only reason the Republican is getting the endorsement of religious faiths is because the Democratic party and its candidate have become dangerously hostile to the freedoms of religion, association, speech and the press.

I realize that what I am proposing herein is comparable to putting on the Ring of Sauron. It is just one of many less-than-ideal courses of action that people of faith are going to be forced to take in the near future for the sake of their churches and civilization. Also a little power-play, a bit of pushback now, may relieve tension in a polarized society prevent an all-out civil war in the future.

Sidebar: Repeal The Johnson Amendment!


As I write in the mainbar, churches in modern times no longer oppose or endorse candidates not because of some hoary principle of separation of church and state or some constitutional prohibition or God's law. Religious and other non-profits do not electioneer because of Section 501(c)(3) of The U.S. [Internal Revenue] Code.

For most of the United States' history there was no prohibition on church electioneering. In the presidential campaign of 1928, Protestant churches disseminated all kinds of invective against Catholic candidate and Democrat, Alfred E. Smith. However since a 1954 overhaul of the Internal Revenue Code, a provision has intended to use tax-exemption to gag non-profits from advocating or opposing candidates.

That provision, the (3) of 501(c)(3) was the brain-child -- you could say the bastard child -- of Senator -- later President -- Lyndon Baines Johnson of Texas. Johnson thought up this law of the land for the same reason he thought of anything else, his personal political advantage.

Prof. James D. Davidson of Purdue University researched and wrote a history (24) of Lyndon Johnson’s amendment to 501(c)(c)(3). In the early 1950s, liberal Johnson wanted to silence anti-communist organizations, particularly those who were supporting his political opponents in Texas.

An opportunity came in 1954 during a major overhaul of the Internal Revenue Code. In one of those Senate procedures in which legislation is passed with no debate or vote, Johnson offered an amendment to House approved text for 501(c)(3). His amendment replaced the mere words “influence legislation” with “influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”

So churches cannot legally engage in electioneering because a liberal wanted to silence anti-communist conservatives. Sixty years on, a godless ideology of lies, class hatred and statism descended from communism thrives in the U.S. It has damaged and hampered civilization. It has facilitated the deaths of millions of unborn children. In 2014, it is, more than ever, a threat to our freedoms.

Since 1954, churches have many times flouted 501(c)(3) by endorsing or opposing candidates. A notable defiance occurred in 1960 when a group of protestant clergyman opposed Catholic John F. Kennedy's candidacy. Kennedy got them off his back with his infamous speech in which he proposed the feat of separating one's Catholic conscience from one's public conscience. Once in office, Kennedy and his brother also magnanimously refrained from using 501(c)(3) to retaliate against those clergymen. Ironically two Christian publications lost their exempt status for endorsing Johnson's 1964 reelection run, but they were denied it only temporarily. In 2014, when 1600 evangelical pastors defied the law from their pulpits, more religious leaders than ever named names.

The Johnson Amendment is just plain bad law open to wide interpretation. For example, what is "influencing legislation"? There's a wide range of actions that can be interpreted as influencing legislation: from lobbying firms spending money to send congresspeople on junkets to pro-life non-profits telling voters to take action by contacting their representatives and senators about legislation. And why can those non-profits urge voters to take action about legislation but not about nominations?

Is the Johnson Amendment even constitutional? For years, the Alliance Defending Freedom has argued that it violates the Establishment, Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of The First Amendment.(25) The pastors who are violating 501(c)(3) and sending tapes of their sermons to the IRS are hoping that they'll be sued so they can take the case to The Supreme Court and argue its unconstitutionality. Bills to repeal it have been introduced in the House of Representatives as late as 2012.

Whether or not it is prudent for churches to engage in endorsing or opposing candidates, the Johnson Amendment should be repealed the next time a simultaneously Republican President and Congress are sworn in.

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((1) Neal J. Conway, "Paul Ryan, Literary Idols and Catholic Wonk Words,", August 19, 2012.

(2) "Sexual expressionism" is Law Professor Helen Alvaré's term for "championing as a cherished right, any consensual sexual act, with an emphasis on those (acts) divorced intrinsically or technologically from having kids, and even often divorced from forming any lasting adult relationship.” Catholic News Service, "Helen Alvaré blasts ‘sexual expressionism,’ government interference," May 17, 2013.

(3) Rachel Bade, "Rogue Pastors Endorse Candidates, But IRS Looks Away,", Nov. 3, 2014.

(4) If you still think colleges and universities are where young people start their careers and grow to maturity in an environment that’s a mixture of Archie Comics and Animal House, read these experiences of Prof. Robert Oscar Lopez.

Robert Oscar Lopez, “The Devil Comes Home to Cal State Northridge,”, Oct. 6, 2013.

Robert Oscar Lopez, “Life on the Academic Animal Farm,”, June 20, 2014.

Dustin Siggins,"Bisexual prof raised by lesbians never knows ‘whether I’m going to get killed’ thanks to LGBT lobby,”, Oct. 27, 2014.

(5) Matthew Archbold, "Christian College Could Lose Accreditation. Guess Why," National Catholic Register, Oct. 3, 2014.

(6) Barbara Streisand's three reasons why a liberal democrat should be elected.

(7) The Becket Fund For Religious Liberty, "Frequently Asked Questions for Little Sisters of the Poor,"

(8) Anne Hendershott, "Defining Down the Deviance of Abortion," The Catholic World Report, Nov. 3, 2014.

(9) Neal J. Conway, “The Pro-Life Movement And The Equal Protection Iceberg,”, Oct. 1, 2013.

(10) FFRF v. Koskinen and Holy Cross Anglican Church, 3:12-cv-00818-lsa (W.D. Wisc. 2013). See also The Becket Fund For Religious Liberty, "Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Koskinen – Holy Cross Anglican Church"

(11) Letter to Tamara W. Ashford, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Tax Division, Department of Justice from Mary A. Epps, Acting Director, EQ Examinations, IRS (PDF).

(12) Quin Hilyer, "The IRS’s God Complex," National Review On-Line, Aug. 4, 2014,

(13) George F. Will, "The nastiest political tactic this year," The Washington Post, Oct. 24, 2014

(14) The case is Mayeux v. Charlet [Robert D. Mayeux and Lisa M. Mayeux v. George J. Charlet, Jr., deceased, Charlet Funeral Home, Inc., Reverend M. Jeffrey Bayhi and the Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Baton Rouge], 2013 CW 0316 La. App. 1st Ct. (Oct. 21, 2013).

(15) Matt Hadro, "Christian groups stand with diocese to protect Seal of Confession," Catholic News Agency, Sept. 30, 2014.

(16) "My computer is taking so long to shut down, I'm thinking of renaming it Nelson Mandela."

(17) Aquinas, Thomas, Summa Theologica Ia, IIae, 96. 2, “Whether it belongs to the human law to repress all vices?

(18) As quoted in Rice, Charles E. Contraception and Persecution, St. Augustine's Press, South Bend, Indiana, 2014.

(19) Tim Drake, "The Myth and the Reality of 'I'll Die in My Bed,'" National Catholic Register, Oct. 24, 2012.

(20) Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project, "The Catholic 'Swing' Vote," October 11, 2012. Id. "How the Faithful Voted: 2012 Preliminary Analysis," November 7, 2012. Id. "How the Faithful Voted: 2014 Preliminary Analysis."

(21) Mark Gallagher, "The Bishops’ Fateful Decision Respecting the Unborn,", Oct. 22, 2014.

(22) "Americans Concerned About Religious Freedom,", Jan. 18, 2013.

(23) 26 U.S. Code § 501

(24) James D. Davidson (Purdue University), “Why Churches Cannot Endorse or Oppose Political Candidates,” Review of Religious Research, Vol. 40, No. 1 (September, 1998).

(25) Alliance Defending Freedom, "Pulpit Freedom Sunday Summary of Legal Arguments" (pdf)

For Further Reading

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