Tag Archives: separation of church and state

Mark Of A Beast: Government Tells Church Charity ‘No Food’ Unless They Dump, Prayers, Bibles and Jesus

No-Christians,-No-Missionaries

Officials says a church charity will not be allowed to receive any USDA food unless they removed portraits of Christ, the Ten Commandments, a banner that read “Jesus is Lord” and stopping giving Bibles to the needy.

The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. – 

Revelation 13:15-17

The more lukewarm and immoral we become as a nation – the more the government will force Christians to surrender and abandon their faith if they want to conduct business earn a living or feed themselves.  For now, they attack charity, because charity often requires government oversight.  But it will move on from there.
Separating the country from God is the agenda because empowering and worship of the State is the god of the Secularists and the Left.

USDA Tells Christian Charity To Kick Jesus To The Curb

By Todd Starnes

Todd’s American Dispatch

A Florida ministry that feeds the poor said a state agriculture department official told them they would not be allowed to receive USDA food unless they removed portraits of Christ, the Ten Commandments, a banner that read “Jesus is Lord” and stopping giving Bibles to the needy.

“They told us they could no longer allow us to have any religious information where the USDA food is going to be,” said Kay Daly, executive director of the Christian Service Center.

So why did the government have an issue with the religious group’s religious decorations?
A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Agriculture told me they were following the guidelines written by the USDA.

“This program is a USDA-funded program and the requirements were outlined by the USDA,” spokesperson Amanda Bevis said. “This agency administers the program on the state level. Our staff did provide a briefing to CSC following turnover in leadership at CSC and did review the USDA requirements.”

Daly said they were told it was a matter of separation of church and state.
A USDA spokesperson told me that “under current law, organizations that receive USDA nutrition assistance can still engage in religious activities so long as the activity is not used to create a barrier to eligible individuals receiving food.”

The USDA referred to an Executive Order providing equal protection for faith-based organizations. That order guarantees those groups the right to provide assistance without “removing or altering religious art, icons, scriptures or other symbols from these facilities.”

For the past 31 years, the Christian ministry has been providing food to the hungry in Lake City, Fla. without any problems. But all that changed when they said a state government worker showed up to negotiate a new contract.

“The (person) told us there was a slight change in the contract,” Daly told me. “They said we could no longer have religious information where the USDA food is being distributed. They told us we had to take that stuff down.”

Daly said it’s no secret that the Christian Service Center is a Christian ministry.

“We’ve got pictures of Christ on more than one wall,” she said. “It’s very clear we are not social services. We are a Christian ministry.”

Daly and her staff sat in stunned disbelief as the government agents also informed them that the Christian Service Center could no longer pray or provide Bibles to those in need. The government contract also forbade any references to the ministry’s chapel.

“We asked if we had to change the name of the organization but that said we could leave that,” Daly said. “But we had to take our religious stuff down.”

Daly said they were told they could continue distributing USDA food so long as it was somewhere else on the property – away from anything that could be considered religious.

In other words – the Christian Service Center had a choice: choose God or the government cheese.

So in a spirit of Christian love and fellowship, Daly politely told the government what they could do with their cheese.

“We decided to eliminate the USDA food and we’re going to trust God to provide,” she told me. “If God can multiply fish and loaves for 10,000 people, he can certainly bring in food for our food pantry so we can continue to feed the hungry.”

In a nutshell, Daly said the Christian Service Center would not be compromising.

“We are a Christian ministry,” she said. “Our purpose is to help people in need and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are going to pray with them. We are going to offer them a Bible. We are going to counsel them in Christian help. We are going to use our chapel.”

Churches across Lake City have stepped up to the challenge – filling the void left when the government took away their cheese.

“I’m called to do what the Lord tells me to do,” Daly said. “I’m not called to worry about it. I pray about it. The Lord answers our prayers and we move forward one day at a time, one person at a time.”

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When America’s Leaders Called For Prayer and Fasting

From my friend William J. Federer – a look back at why America was blessed with victory over our enemies – and blessed above any nation before us.

When suffering the evils of tyrants, the first order of business was to call for a day of Prayer and Fasting.

In these dark days of tyranny from our own leadership – where are even the church leaders on this score?

Fast asleep and lukewarm in the comfort of pews filled with donors.

God bless us with Repentance.

Or this experiment in self-governance is doomed.

When our leaders used to call us to prayer and fasting

By William J. Federer
© 2010

To punish Massachusetts for the Tea Party, King George III decided to destroy its economy by blockading Boston’s harbor on June 1, 1774.

Thomas Jefferson drafted a Resolution for a “Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer” to be observed the same day. It was introduced in the Virginia House of Burgesses May 24, 1774, by Robert Carter Nicholas and supported by Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee and George Mason, passing unanimously:

“This House, being deeply impressed with apprehension of the great dangers, to be derived to British America, from the hostile invasion of the City of Boston, in our sister Colony of Massachusetts … deem it highly necessary that the said first day of June be set apart, by the members of this House as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, devoutly to implore the Divine interposition, for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights. … Ordered, therefore that the Members of this House do attend … with the Speaker, and the Mace, to the Church in this City, for the purposes aforesaid; and that the Reverend Mr. Price be appointed to read prayers, and the Reverend Mr. Gwatkin, to preach a sermon.”

George Washington wrote in his diary, June 1, 1774: “Went to church, fasted all day.”

Virginia’s royal governor, Lord Dunmore, interpreted this resolution as a veiled protest against King George III and dissolved the House of Burgesses, resulting in legislators meeting in Raleigh Tavern where they conspired to form the first Continental Congress.

On April 15, 1775, just four days before the Battle of Lexington, where was fired “the shot heard ’round the world,” the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, led by John Hancock, declared:

“In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as men and Christians, to reflect that, whilst every prudent measure should be taken to ward off the impending judgments … the 11th of May next be set apart as a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer … to confess the sins … to implore the Forgiveness of all our Transgression.”

On May 15, 1776, Gen. George Washington ordered:

“The Continental Congress having ordered Friday the 17th instant to be observed as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, humbly to supplicate the mercy of Almighty God, that it would please Him to pardon all our manifold sins and transgressions, and to prosper the arms of the United Colonies, and finally establish the peace and freedom of America upon a solid and lasting foundation; the General commands all officers and soldiers to pay strict obedience to the orders of the Continental Congress; that, by their unfeigned and pious observance of their religious duties, they may incline the Lord and Giver of victory to prosper our arms.”

At the Constitutional Convention, 1787, Ben Franklin stated:

“In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection.”

Proclaiming a Day of Prayer, Ronald Reagan said Jan. 27, 1983:

“In 1775, the Continental Congress proclaimed the first National Day of Prayer. … In 1783, the Treaty of Paris officially ended the long, weary Revolutionary War during which a National Day of Prayer had been proclaimed every spring for eight years.”

Maybe Americans should once again, as Reagan concluded: “… seek His help for the challenges we face today and in the future.”

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American Imperative To Separate Mosque and State

My friend Mr. Federer – makes some excellent observations of militant Islam.  For all the clamoring from the secular Leftists to separate “church and State” in America – it’s enlightening to see how silent they are when it comes to Islam in America.

They will silence Christian church bells and ban Christmas displays – but they are silent when minarets blast out calls to prayer over loudspeakers in cities and suburbs of America’s cities.  

Hypocrisy?

No.  It’s far worse than hypocrisy.   The Marxist and Secular Left – are defacto allies with Jihadist Islam, as they work together (for the time being) to destroy the Capitalist West and especially, Christians in America.

Fort Hood and separation of mosque and state

William J. Federer examines Muhammad’s life as a ‘candidate for change

 

Thanks to liberal judges everywhere, virtually everyone has heard of the “separation of church and state.” But what about “separation of mosque and state?” 

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an outspokenly aggressive Muslim, yelled “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “Allah is great,” before killing 14 (a victim was pregnant) and wounding 31 at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5. 

He had reportedly praised Muslim suicide bombers on the Internet; refused, in the name of Islam, to be photographed with female colleagues; listed his nationality as “Palestinian,” and dressed as a fundamentalist Muslim when not in uniform. In 2007, his supervisor at Walter Reed Army Medical Center wrote an evaluation that said of Hasan, “The Faculty has serious concerns about (Capt.) Hasan’s professionalism and work ethic. … He demonstrates a pattern of poor judgment and a lack of professionalism.” As National Public Radio reports, this memo was sent to officials at Fort Hood when Hasan was transferred there. 

Even with all of this, some still question whether Hasan’s killing of U.S. soldiers was motivated by his belief in Islam or whether he got a pass from politically correct superiors fearful of accusations of religious bigotry. 

Before we condemn as “hateful” those who dare ask such questions, it should be determined what is meant by the term “Islam.” 

Is Islam 1) a religious system, 2) a political system or 3) a military system? 

The answer is all three, as Muhammad was: 1) a religious leader 2) a political leader and 3) a military leader. 

One may ask, what relevance does Muhammad’s life 1,400 years ago have today? 

Well, since Muhammad was the best Muslim, those striving to be better Muslims are trying to imitate him, just as Christians try to imitate Jesus (WWJD, or What Would Jesus Do?). 

Muhammad’s life is called “the Sunna,” which means “the way” or “the example.” By examining Muhammad’s life, we can gain insights into his followers’ motivations. 

Muhammad was a religious leader in Mecca for 12 years, beginning in 610 A.D., making around 100 converts before being chased out. In 622, he fled 200 miles north to the predominantly Jewish city of Medina. The Jews rejected Muhammad, so he went into pagan neighborhoods where he made converts, gained a political following and, in a sense, acted as a community organizer. 

With his new following, he went back to the Jews as a candidate of change, promising to be objective and fair as he was a newcomer to the city’s heated partisan politics. The Jews made a treaty with him, and Muhammad became a political leader in Medina. When Muhammad’s followers back in Mecca were harassed, chased out and their houses confiscated, he permitted them to rob caravans headed to Mecca in retaliation. The Meccans sent 1,000 soldiers to protect their caravans. With just 300 warriors, Muhammad defeated them at the Battle of Badr in 624 A.D. This amazing victory while being outnumbered three-to-one convinced Muhammad that he was to be a military leader. He fought in 66 battles and raids in the next eight years before he died. In Medina, he slew or enslaved all the Jews in the city.

Muhammad sent his warrior, Abdullah, in 625 A.D., to lie to gain entrance into the military base of his enemy, Chief Sofyan ibn Khalid. When Abdullah had convinced Sofyan of his loyalty, Sofyan let down his guard. When the moment was right, Abdullah beheaded Sofyan. 

Since Muhammad was the best Muslim, those wanting to be better Muslims gravitate to following his example, religiously, politically – and militarily. 

Most Americans are not concerned about someone’s religion, or in which direction someone prays or if someone believes paradise consists of sex with 72 virgins. But Americans do care if their freedom of speech is taken away, if their wives and daughters are threatened if they don’t wear veils, if nations such as Israel face extinction or if terrorists attack our military bases or civilian targets. 

It is political/military Islam that concerns Americans, not the religion of Islam. When a political/military Muslim bows toward Mecca, he is effectively pledging allegiance to something other than the United States. 

For the sake of discussion, let’s go beyond the religion of Islam and, for the moment, examine political/military Islam. Political/military Islam has two features: 1) a global conquest aspect and 2) wherever it takes power, non-Muslims are not treated equally. 

The question is, what other political/military systems has America faced in the last 60 years that had 1) a global conquest aspect and 2) wherever they took over, non-adherents were treated unequally? 

Answer: Germany, Japan and Italy in World War II, and later the Soviet Union and other communist countries. 

During the Cold War, Americans said, “We love Russians, but we have to identify and resist the political/military system of Stalin’s and Khrushchev’s Soviet communism.” And, “We love Cubans, North Koreans, Vietnamese, Cambodians and Chinese, but we have to identify and resist the communist political/military systems of Fidel Castro, Kim Il-sung, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot and Mao Zedong.” 

Today, Americans have no problem with Arabs, Indonesians, Turks and Egyptians, but Americans have to identify and resist the political/military system of Islam, because it has a 1) global conquest aspect and 2) wherever Islam takes over, non-Muslims are not equal to Muslims. Unlike Nazism and communism, political/military Islam has been harder to identify and resist because it can advance under the cloak of religion. 

It’s increasingly obvious that some Muslims in America with a political/military agenda are taking advantage of the freedoms extended to Muslims who are simply practicing the religion of Islam. 

In order to prevent more tragic episodes, such as the killings at Fort Hood, more attention should be given to the separation of mosque and state. 

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Thank You For Our Food Amen = Jail Time

handcuffedprayer

If you pray or ask for a blessing over a meal in a public school – prepare to go to jail.

School Officials Face Jail Time For Meal Time Prayers

A principal and an athletic director are facing criminal charges for a lunch-time prayer.

 

Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Pace High School in Santa Rosa County, Florida. The ACLU claimed some teachers and administrators were endorsing religion, but the school chose to give in to the ACLU’s demands rather than fight them in court.
 
According to the settlement, all school employees are banned from engaging in prayer or religious activities before, during, or after school hours. Now two school officials are facing criminal charges for offering meal-time prayers at an appreciation dinner for adults who had helped with a school field house project. Principal Frank Lay and athletic director Robert Freeman are scheduled to go on trial next month on criminal contempt charges. If convicted, both are subject to fines and imprisonment.
 
Matt Staver is founder of Liberty Counsel, which will argue the court order prohibiting prayer at school-related events violated Lay’s and Freeman’s constitutional rights.

 

“In this particular case, Principal Frank Lay asked the athletic director to have a prayer for the meal at an honorary luncheon in celebration for some of the athletic achievements. And then in [another] situation, the clerical worker at an event where some employees of the school were present asked her husband, who is not an employee of the school, to have a blessing over a meal,” he explains. “Because of those two events, these individuals now face criminal contempt.”
 
Staver believes that the accusers in this case are students who recently graduated. If that is the case, he says the case is moot. However, Staver adds it is outrageous to punish a school official with potential jail time for simply praying.

 

 

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School Board Says That The Presence Of A Bible, Is An Establishment of A State Religion, and Must be Banned

Bible Ban

Wonder how soon they will dispense with all of these ridiculous bannings, and just get down to the brass tacks of what they REALLY want to do, and burn all the bibles and round up all the Christians for camps and elimination??

For now, it appears that the Separation of Church and State Religion trumps the Constitution. That’s why the government is used to step in and tightly regulate your use of and access to religious materials.

And we Emoting American Christians shrugs our shoulders, say a silent prayer and then hear a sermon about how we are better Christians by applying Romans 13 in order to condition ourselves to listen and obey the government, even when they strip us of our right to worship God.

Mount Vernon teacher can keep Bible in his room but not on desk top, school board president says

Jami Kinton
News Journal

MOUNT VERNON — The president of the Mount Vernon City Schools Board of Education said today a middle school teacher may keep a Bible in his classroom, but not on top of his desk.

John Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher, refused the district’s directive to remove his personal Bible from atop his desk Wednesday, calling it an “infringement on my deeply held religious beliefs.”

“He can keep the book inside his desk or have it out during his lunch or free periods,” board president Ian Watson said. “There is a lot of misinformation out there, which is to be expected, but we only asked him to remove the book from his desk top when students are in the room.”

Superintendent Steve Short said as far as he knows the Bible still is atop Freshwater’s desk.

Watson said Freshwater might face an insubordination charge if he fails to comply.

“If he doesn’t remove the Bible from his desk top, at some point, and I don’t know that point yet because we haven’t progressed that far, but some claim of insubordination could be made,” Watson said. “There would be penalties involved, which would vary depending on level of insubordination.”

Watson would not comment on the possible punishments, but said Short would make that determination.

Freshwater, who held a press conference on Mount Vernon’s public square Wednesday, could not be reached for comment today.

“Mr. Freshwater has not yet been placed on leave at this time,” Short said. “I’m still hoping that we can get this resolved, but as far as trying to guess when that would be would be conjecture at this time.”

A statement from the school board about the directive to Freshwater said, “The Mount Vernon Schools has not taken this action because it opposes religion but because it has an obligation under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to protect against the establishment of religion in the schools. As a public school system, the district cannot teach, promote or favor any religion or religious beliefs.”

Well that’s a plain damnable lie, and egregiously hypocritical since it appears only Christianity is singled out for such treatment in America today. Apparently, if it’s teaching the Five Pillars of Islam in Public School, or actually BEING a public school that teaches Islam but disguises itself as a public school is okay. If it’s the Bible, or a Christian prayer group, or a coach wanting to take a knee with his player – NOPE, that’s an establishment of religion according to the government. But dressing up American school kids as Muslims, giving them prayer rugs and bowing down to Mecca is just a “cultural exercise” or “history lesson”.

Yes. God forbid you mention George Washington’s prayer in history class, but let’s all play Muslims and get some culture, and start by praying to allah. Just don’t dare hold hands around the flag pole and pray in the name of Jesus because you will violate the Constituion if you do. And if you are brazen enough to leave a bible sitting on your desk – you are creating a State Religion and you must be punished, which they will do, right after they dress up the girls in class like mummies and teach the boys how to kiss the floor while facing Mecca.

Watson said the Bible on Freshwater’s desk became an issue when one family brought it to Short’s attention.

“The parents expressed concern on what allegedly occurred. Most recently, I spoke to the family at the first of this month,” Watson said. “We would like to see the Bible removed so that we can be responsive to parents, and we would like to reach a common ground with Mr. Freshwater that everyone can be OK with, but I don’t know if that will happen.”

When asked if Freshwater was preaching from the Bible during class, Watson would not comment.

“We are still in the fact-finding stage, so I don’t want to respond to that yet,” he said.
Short said talk concerning the issue has been prevalent throughout the community.

“We’re a good-sized town and fairly close-knit community, and I would assume this would be a very emotional topic for a lot of people. I understand that,” he said. “I have not had opportunity to talk with students and faculty, though, to gage their opinions.”

“We’re too early into the situation to make a determination on how people think,” Watson said. “And I’m not keeping score on either side.”

Short and Watson said they have no had recent conversations with Freshwater.

Short said the next school board meeting is May 12.

“But I would hope that we can come to resolution before that time,” he said.

Watson said he is concerned for students.

“This is really unfortunate timing,” he said. “We have state testing coming up and I’m not sure how well the students will be focused at this time, and that’s really frustrating for us.”

Oh yes, forbid that the Word of God be present during a test, it will distract the students from making high grades and cause the school district to lose precious state funding and subsidies!

Apparently, not only does the Bible by it’s very presence automatically create a State Religion if it is seen in a public school, but it automatically causes ADD in any student that comes near it and they might not be able to handle taking the tests while texting their freinds on their cell phones and listening to their iPods.

The horror!

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God’s Commandments BANNED Again.

The relentless march of the banning and removal of religious liberty and free exercise continues.

Clinton-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr., is again consistent with his record of being a Leftist stooge of the ACLU to ban any Christian religious expression. On Friday he issued a permanent injunction against a display of the commandments in Grayson County, KY, the latest in a series of high-profile decisions involving similar displays in Kentucky county courthouses.

The Grayson Fiscal Court had a “religious purpose” for erecting the display, and later efforts to depict it as educational were a “sham,” according to the ruling.

This is the same Judge in 2006 that banned student prayer at graduation ceremonies in Russel County that mention ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’, even if the student is exercising their own free speech, they have been forbidden to mention God at school functons.

So much for the First Amendment in the district this tyrannical judge presides.

It’s a death blow for freedom, when unaccountable judges appointed to office can run roughshod over the fundamental rights of religious exercise and speech enumerated and protected in the Constitution. While the government cannot establish a state religion, it may NOT ‘prohibit the free exercise thereof’. But this tyrant in robes has seen fit to do just that, applying the lie and myth about Separation to once again infringe upon the rights of countless American citizens to practice their community faith.

Let us not forget Benjamin Franklin’s admonition that “Disobedience to tyrants is obedience to God”

As long as Christians go along with these bans, it won’t be long before nooses and chains are placed on their necks.

As our nation suffers one crisis after another, can this people cry out to God for aid when they have discarded Him and expect help?

“But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you – when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.

“Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD”. – Proverbs 1:24-29

Federal court rejects display of Ten Commandments

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Obama Causes IRS Investigation of Church Denomination

obamapulpit.jpg

Incompetency? Gross neglect? Willfull defiance?

As Barrack Hussein Obama is a Christian “Progressive” candidate who fully supports the Separation of Church and State when it applies to Conservatives and Evangelical Christians, is it not interesting to note that the Democrats routinely violate the so-called “separation of church and state” doctrine when convenient for them – but unleash the hounds of hell on their political rivals if a mere mention of God is made by a Conservative candidate?

Then there is the blatant violation of supposed “rules” to prohibit campaigning from a pulpit, but here – as in his brush-off of the Tony Rezko real estate scandal as a “boneheaded mistake”, will the excuse be the same, or will Obama possibly anger his Separation of church and LGBT lobbies by suddenly going to bat for our First Amendment Rights?

Don’t count on it. As with the real estate scandal with Rezko, the mainstream media and the worshipping masses will bury and poo-pooh any legitimate concerns and fallout from another Obama gaffe, but an Open Letter to Barrack Obama from Jeffrey Lord addresses the damage and fallout the United Church of Christ now has to endure out of complete incompetency, or carelessness.

In an age of Jihad terrorism, hair trigger rogue states and nukes once again being armed up and pointed in anger – can we afford such an imbecile as this Obamacile?

An Open Letter to Barack Obama
By Jeffry Lord

Dear Senator Obama:

Our common denomination, the United Church of Christ, has a suddenly serious legal and financial problem with the Internal Revenue Service. You, personally, are the cause of this problem. Candidly? I think you owe it to those of us who are your fellow congregants to help repair the damage that you have done.

As you know, on June 23, 2007, you gave a speech to the United Church of Christ’s General Synod during our church’s 50th anniversary celebration in Hartford, Connecticut. The invitation was extended well before you became a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. You are one of us, and while I disagree with you politically and could not be in Hartford, certainly I initially thought the idea of inviting you to speak was a good one. Contrary to the image our denominational leaders seek to promote, all members of our church are not liberals, and certainly I am not. Yet as a conservative I believe the exchange of ideas is what America is all about.

Everything changed with your formal announcement that you were running for president. Instantly your potential appearance posed a problem for the UCC, as the IRS has quite specific rules regulating the appearance of political candidates campaigning in front of church audiences. The rules are the result of an amendment to the tax code in 1954 by then-Senator from Texas Lyndon B. Johnson, the Democratic leader of the Senate. This law was, per Jill “J.R.” Labbe, the deputy editorial page editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, payback against “two non-profits in Texas that were actively campaigning against” LBJ’s re-election to the Senate. At the instigation of the UCC’s own Reverend Barry Lynn, the head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, various Christian conservatives have been penalized financially by the IRS for crossing over this line laid down by the Johnson law, most notably the late Reverend Jerry Falwell. While it is troubling that neither you nor the UCC expressed the slightest concern when a conservative’s freedom of speech was being repressed, this episode inadvertently opens a chance for everyone to come together on the basic issue of freedom of expression by supporting a repeal of the LBJ law, a law that clearly is about nothing more than intimidating people of faith into silence.

Be that as it may, the LBJ law is in place. It is the law, and the IRS must enforce the rules, taking the same approach to the UCC that the UCC’s own Reverend Lynn insisted be taken with Jerry Falwell and other conservatives. The moment your status as a candidate changed, both you and the UCC had two options. One, you could have gracefully refused the invitation, citing the Johnson law and your candidacy. Or the church could simply have withdrawn the invitation to you on the same grounds. Two, the church could have easily complied with the IRS rules under the Johnson law by simply inviting your competitors for the Democratic nomination. Yes, you would have been sharing the spotlight, but under the circumstances that shouldn’t have been too much to ask of you.

In the event, neither of these options — withdrawal or inviting other candidates — was taken. And so you went to Hartford. Almost immediately you violated IRS rules, discussing your presidential candidacy from what, under the circumstances, meets the legal definition of a pulpit. Addressing some 10,000 of our religious brethren you said:

“It’s been several months now since I announced I was running for president. In that time, I’ve had the chance to talk with Americans all across this country. And I’ve found that no matter where I am, or who I’m talking to, there’s a common theme that emerges. It’s that folks are hungry for change — they’re hungry for something new. They’re ready to turn the page on the old politics and the old policies — whether it’s the war in Iraq or the health care crisis we’re in, or a school system that’s leaving too many kids behind despite the slogans.”

Further on, you said this:
“I have made a solemn pledge that I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premiums by up to $2,500 a year.”

The statement on health care is what’s known in the trade as a campaign promise, and you made it from a UCC pulpit.

Senator, your campaign has now released a statement saying that you had only spoken about your “personal spiritual journey” at the UCC General Synod that day and were not campaigning for president. This is just not true. As if the exact quotes from your speech cited above do not show this to be considerably less than truthful, this decidedly was not what your campaign was saying before you delivered your speech. Quite specifically, the UCC website quoted your campaign officials as follows:
Joshua DuBois, the Obama campaign’s director of religious affairs, said the senator’s Synod speech on Saturday will be his first major address on faith and politics as a presidential candidate. The address, DuBois said, will combine personal details about Obama’s religious experiences with prescriptions for how religious Americans might put their faith into action. It will also focus on “the growing movement of people of faith” from a variety of traditions, “coming together around our connections as a people and using those connections to address our common challenges,” DuBois said.

Shaun Casey, an adviser to the Obama campaign and a professor of ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., said he expects the address to be “as detailed an account of how a person’s faith shapes his policies as I have seen from any presidential candidate.”

The UCC, filled to the brim with obliging liberal staffers, took its cue and obediently headed this announcement on its website of your impending appearance thusly: “Obama’s Synod speech will be his ‘first major address on faith and politics as presidential candidate.'”

UNSURPRISINGLY, ALL OF THIS resulted in a complaint being filed with the IRS following your presentation. In addition to your speech and the stories featured by the UCC’s own website, the complaint cites numerous media accounts describing your appearance as a campaign event. This is bolstered by photographs of volunteers manning Obama campaign tables at the entrance to the Civic Center, volunteers who were then ushered inside for the oldest of campaign rituals — a photo op with the candidate.

As a direct result of your actions, this last week the UCC — our mutual denomination — has now been notified officially by the IRS that it is under investigation.

Our national church suddenly stands in danger of losing its tax exempt status — because of you. Do you have any idea what losing our tax-exempt status could mean to a church like mine here in Pennsylvania if in fact we are tagged financially for federal, state and local taxes? I’ll tell you: this means choices about paying the heat bill versus the tax bill, paying the light bill versus the tax bill, paying for any number of church activities targeted at needy community or church members versus the tax bill and so on. Even more to the point, the president of the UCC, the Reverend John Thomas, has been abruptly forced to appeal to all of the UCC’s members for urgent financial help because of what you have done, informing us that “we will need to secure expert legal counsel, and the cost of this defense, we are told, could approach or exceed six figures.”

Exceeding six figures, of course, means we’re talking over a million dollars. A million dollars to cover for your personal mistake. Of which the UCC has so far managed to raise a paltry $43,847.37 in a special “UCC Legal Fund” as this is written.

You make much about America’s presumed inability to sustain the financial costs of the Iraq War. There is no way, by the admission of Reverend Thomas himself, that the United Church of Christ can sustain the financial costs of your decision to pitch your presidential campaign to the General Synod in violation of the LBJ law without doing serious damage to the most vulnerable in our society. Way down here on the bottom, if my church has to come up with the bucks to pay taxes as well as meet our basic obligations — well, sorry. No can do. You have put the life of every small and struggling UCC church in America — and perhaps some well-to-do ones as well — in danger. This at a time when UCC churches such as the Old First Church in Springfield, Massachusetts, founded in 1637, and St. Paul’s in Summit Hill, Pennsylvania are forced to close their doors, in part because they simply can’t afford the costs of keeping their doors open.

If members do not give to this newly-established-for-the-purpose “UCC Legal Fund,” the Reverend Thomas warns us darkly, there will also be an “impact” on the national church’s office of Our Church’s Wider Mission. Impact? What kind of impact? OCWM, as you well know, is the division of our church that is charged with support of missionaries, disaster preparedness, ministries to the disabled, scholarships and grants, child sponsorship and refugee resettlement, to name but a few of its functions.

The “impact” that Reverend Thomas is warning about is very easy to understand. Because of your decision to proceed with your appearance at the General Synod, on top of the effect on churches like mine, funds dedicated to the likes of missionaries, the disabled and children will have to be cut unless the rest of us pony-up to pay a six-to-seven figure legal bill to deal with this IRS investigation.

Frankly, Senator, this is shameful. You are a United States Senator. A potential President of the United States. You are conducting a campaign making judgment an issue — and this was exactly an issue of judgment and understanding. You of all people should have understood that your appearance in Hartford once you were an announced candidate for president would cause the UCC severe problems with the IRS. As someone who has worked for a president myself, I certainly knew this and said so in print at the time. This wasn’t — and isn’t — rocket science. Many others understood the fact that your appearance could attract unfavorable attention from the IRS, discussing this on the website UCC Truths, a site dedicated to seeing that dissenting UCC members have a voice in our church.

The UCC, by the way, maintains a list of almost 30 UCC-related websites on its UCC funded UCC News “Blog Roll.” Interestingly, the UCC administrator has barred UCC Truths from this Blog Roll, a blatant contradiction of the UCC’s indignant cries about freedom of speech. Did I mention that this administrator, an ordained UCC minister, has acknowledged that he is an Obama campaign worker? Specifically a writer for the People of Faith for Barack? Which means that the UCC is apparently allowing someone officially connected with your campaign to use his position as the church’s official blog administrator for UCC News to keep a church-related website critical of you off the church’s Blog Roll. Quite aside from being the very image of a conflict-of-interest and raising issues of censorship and a lack of diversity, this is what comes under the rubric of an “in-kind contribution” from the UCC to your campaign. Again. What does it take for everyone concerned to understand that the IRS is investigating precisely this kind of linkage between your campaign and the UCC?

THE FACT THAT YOU WENT AHEAD with your Hartford appearance says one of two things: you didn’t know this most basic fact of IRS procedure under the LBJ law that a great many other people knew, something astonishing for a one-time president of the Harvard Law Review (not to mention a sitting U.S. Senator) or, more troubling if true, that you did in fact know but decided to simply appear anyway, consequences to the needy recipients of OCWM’s charities and churches like mine be damned. If the first is correct, at a minimum it hints at an unsettling lack of intellectual curiosity that has directly resulted in serious consequences for our church. If the second is true it gives the disturbing illustration of a chilling arrogance of power and callousness towards both those dependent on OCWM’s good works as well as struggling UCC churches everywhere, both on your part and, yes, on the part of our church leadership.

Certainly the UCC’s leadership, beginning with the Reverend Thomas himself, also bears a considerable portion of the blame for this turn of events. It boggles the mind that a national leader of this very old and very treasured institution of faith that traces its roots to the earliest beginnings of America would so cavalierly risk its mission, finances, local churches and above all our reputation simply to indulge his personal passion for the extremism of far-left wing politics. Yet this is precisely what has been done. The fact that a member of your campaign staff serves as the church’s official blog administrator and is keeping a UCC-related site critical of you off its Blog Roll underscores a stunning inability by both church officials and your campaign to realize the seriousness of an IRS investigation for our church even now.

Be that as it may, we are where we are. While I am in fact both a member of my local church Council, and serve as president of the Council, I must emphasize I am speaking here only as an individual member of the UCC. So let me put this as plainly as I can.

I, for one, have no intention whatsoever of contributing a dime to raising a six-to seven figure legal fund to pay either for your appalling lack of judgment or the scandalous lack of common sense that was shown by Reverend Thomas and the national leadership of our church.

With respect Senator, there is one central question here: What are you going to do about this?

Will you personally raise the money the UCC now needs to pay for your mistake? Will you show the leadership you insist you can provide the country by stepping up and taking responsibility in a situation for which you, personally, bear considerable responsibility? Will you find a way to ensure that the members of the United Church of Christ do not have to divert funds specifically designated for the poor, disadvantaged and needy to pay high-priced lawyers in an investigation by the government that should never have been needed in the first place? An investigation set in motion because over five decades ago one of the preeminent leaders of your party had a felt need to repress free speech by sticking it to some political enemies in Texas? Finally, will you support repeal of the LBJ law and restore the rights of free speech to all churches — liberal or conservative?

The speech you gave that day in June was titled “The Politics of Conscience.” Several times in the course of your talk you told our fellow church members that “our conscience cannot rest” until various public policy concerns — the war in Iraq, health care and others — were met.

I would suggest that there should be a considerable problem of conscience for a presidential candidate who helps himself to a banquet of votes by using his own denomination — in a manner the IRS feels worthy of investigation — and then sticks his co-religionists with both the legal consequences and the check. If in fact your conscience rests over this episode, then the American people have just learned something startling about you, something that is as unattractive as it is dangerous in a potential president.

If this is not the case, if in fact you are willing to step up to the plate and be the leader your supporters insist you to be, then -well — way to go. Good luck raising the money and I certainly hope you repeal the Johnson law. While I won’t be voting for you — those pesky philosophical differences — I will be the first to applaud your leadership on these issues.

In fact, I will be happy to invite you to attend my UCC church while you are campaigning in the Pennsylvania primary. Doubtless there are Obama supporters in our small congregation and even those who may disagree with you who would surely give you a warm UCC welcome.

On another occasion, the revelation of a real estate deal in which you were involved inappropriately by your own admission, you said that you made a “boneheaded mistake.” Your words, not mine. Surely you cannot seriously think that what you’ve done with the UCC so far does not qualify as, well, another “boneheaded mistake.” May I make a professional suggestion? If these kinds of incidents repeat themselves, you have suggested for yourself a nickname your opponents will seize with gusto. It will require considerable amounts of church attendance on your part to pray for forgiveness — both of yourself for giving them the tip, and for those who may substitute the word for this dopey business of using your middle name.

Thanks for your time. I sincerely hope you can get moving on this. And if you do decide to pop into our church some Sunday morning, there would be only one request.

Don’t say anything.

Sincerely,
Jeffrey Lord

More from Mr. Lord on Obama’s appearance at UCC, and his declaration that “the “Christian Right” had “hijacked” the Christian faith”.

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