Today is Pulpit Freedom Sunday, that day when the wingnut churches were all planning to preach endorsements of political candidates in defiance of the restrictions imposed on them by their tax-exampt status. I hope the IRS harvests a windfall here — it’s simply absurd that they can demand freedom from taxation because they are religious organizations caring for the spiritual needs of their flocks, and then turn around and demand that they also be given the right to be a political organization. It’s one or the other. Let the preachers preach for McCain/Palin, but not on the government’s dime.
The organizers of Pulpit Freedom Sunday are convinced that the protest will result in a court challenge to the law. Mr. Stanley said the law was so unclear that, “I anticipate getting to federal court, certainly the appeals court.” But Robert W. Tuttle, a professor of law and religion at the George Washington University Law School, found that unlikely.
“It’s settled law,” Professor Tuttle said. “People can unsettle law that’s settled, but I think that it is very, very unlikely that a lower federal court would reach any other conclusion except that religious organizations have no constitutional right to engage in political speech while accepting deductible contributions.”
Speaking of settled law, wouldn’t it be nice to really shake things up and strip all churches of their tax exemptions? I know there’d be an immediate roar of protest from all churches everywhere that would have some political cost, but after 9/10ths of the churches fold, and after cities enjoy the sudden filling of the voids in their municipal tax base, and after the financial crisis is resolved, we’d be better off.