Thursday, September 1, 2016

Liberty Counsel is encouraging pastors to break the law

Mat Staver
Hate group leader Mat Staver has provided the grounds for his own disbarment. He is encouraging pastors to break the law and engage in political campaigning. The press release from Liberty Counsel reads: “Church Leaders Refuse to Be Intimidated Regarding Political Activity.”

Some selected highlights:
As Americans prepare for the upcoming election, pastors and church leaders must not be silent on the candidates' positions regarding biblical and moral issues. Clergy should encourage people to vote and even assist them to the polls. There will never be a perfect candidate for office. Voting is a privilege and a duty and we must vote for the candidate who will best support core values.

No church has ever lost its tax-exempt status for opposing or supporting a candidate for political office. Churches and pastors may speak on biblical and moral issues. They can educate about the candidates' viewpoints. They can encourage people to vote and can assist them in getting to the polls. Liberty Counsel's "Patriot's Handbook of Political Action for Pastors and Churches" is a thorough resource for pastors' rights.
[…]
“I encourage pastors to remove the muzzle that secularists want to put on them and exchange it for a megaphone to speak biblical truths regarding social and moral issues,” said Staver.
That handbook is for sale for three bucks if anyone wants one. While Staver is not directly telling pastors to violate the law he is certainly encouraging them and that should be ground for ending his unhinged law career.
 
Allow me quote the Internal Revenue Service:
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.
The Service does a piss poor job of enforcing the code but that's not an invitation to break the law. Among other things the Johnson Amendment eliminates funding campaigns with tax deductible funds. One cannot write off a campaign contribution but if one donates to a 501(c)3 like, say, Liberty Counsel that is tax deductible. If LC then uses that money to run campaign ads against Hillary the donations that funded it are tax deducted.

In any event that is the law. Staver is an officer of the court and he should not be encouraging unlawful behavior.

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