I've been thinking a lot aboutfrom the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Their statement poses a direct challenge to the political-religious attitudes of the conservative Christian community in which I grew up. In the 1980s, tens of millions of US evangelicals, including my parents, flocked to support Ronald Reagan and his "trickle-down" economic policies. Apparently "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" resonated with many members of the Me Generation.
But how could followers of the Jesus who told us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and care for the sick have believed that the Christian thing to do was cut taxes for the wealthy, while cutting benefits for the poor? How did followers of the Prince of Peace come to support massive increases in military spending? How did so many US Christians come to treat a divorced Hollywood actor who rarely attended church as the closest thing to an evangelical pope? I was a kid back when this all started and I'm still trying to figure it out. What happened?
RLCC: Large-C Communism was still in its death throws. Also, the anti-Vietnam War movement was a mixed bag that included free love and lots of drugs. It ended up turning paranoid and greedy. Drug deals started turning violent. The so-called conservatives didn't have to do much good. All they had to do was complain about the Hippy culture that frightened people.
Carter didn't solve the hostage crisis. Many people believe in the October Surprise where Reagan's people, with Kissinger, made backroom deals with Iran (just as with Iran-Contra) to hold the hostages until Reagan's election.
The truth is that the anti-war aspect was right but the free love (sex) and drug addictions were wrong. Rather than choosing between all of that versus what Ronald Reagan was selling, the right way to go is pacifism, giving and sharing, and harmlessness in all things, including sexual. That harmlessness means doing nothing that knowingly spreads any diseases to anyone whatsoever.
Being as harmless as doves is Jesus's teaching. It's beautiful. It's completely unselfish. It's the only path that leads to God and the real Heaven. It's the only way of being that will manifest that Kingdom on Earth.
Justice and Compassion on February 18, 2008, 12:00amby Rachel from
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)