David Miranda and Michael Ramey of #ParentalRightsOrganization join the program to discuss the erosion of parental rights and how the government continues to seek more control over the welfare and education of children. Host: Dave Kistler
Archive for month: January, 2017
Now that President Donald Trump has officially taken office, will pastors and churches be affected at the pulpit and in the pew?
American Pastors Network certainly thinks so. In fact, one action by President Trump will return decades of freedom to churches.
For more than 60 years, the Johnson Amendment, proposed by then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and passed by Congress in 1954, has prohibited tax-exempt organizations—including churches and other nonprofits—from lobbying elected officials, campaigning on behalf of a political party and supporting or opposing candidates for office. The Johnson Amendment has instilled fear in pastors, wary of losing their church’s tax-exempt status if they speak truth into cultural, societal or political issues.
“For six decades, the Johnson Amendment has restricted the free speech of pastors and churches,” said APN President Sam Rohrer. “On the campaign trail, Donald Trump and Mike Pence vowed to work on behalf of pastors to restore their pulpit freedoms, especially at a time when Christians need biblical truth and God-centered guidance spoken into their lives regarding the pressing issues of the day.”
New research by George Barna of the American Culture & Faith Institute found that three out of four SAGE Cons (Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservatives) turned to resources such as voter guides, websites and other resources to gain information about their choices on the ballot this election season. Overall, 61 percent specifically identified voter guides as a resource they used to help them decide how to vote.
The research, Rohrer says, is a telling indicator that Christians are looking for guidance on important issues, and will likely look to the church.
On “Stand in the Gap Today,” a radio ministry from APN, co-hosts Rohrer, Dave Kistler of the North Carolina Pastors Network (NCPN, www.ncpastors.net) and Gary Dull of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN,www.papastors.net) recently discussed the Johnson Amendment and how a repeal of this legislature will affect pastors and churches.
“The Johnson Amendment is believed to have stifled and stymied many Christian leaders from being more outspoken with respect to what are deemed ‘political issues,’ when, really, these are moral issues,” Kistler said during the program. “If President Trump is successful in removing or repealing the Johnson Amendment, will that affect the speech of pastors in the pulpit? Some say yes, while others say no. In some cases, it may not be solely the Johnson Amendment that has muzzled preachers across America. Those in the pulpit who have not spoken out forthrightly have not been motivated by fear of violating a tax code law. They have been motivated by fear of something else.”
The Johnson Amendment does a number of things, Kistler noted, but it does not do the following:
- It does not prohibit pastors from speaking out against political corruption.
- It does not prohibit pastors from speaking out against LGBT activism.
- It does not prohibit pastors from speaking out against controversial subjects such as abortion or marriage.
- It does not prohibit pastors from speaking out against other moral or culturally relevant issues.
“So if pastors are not speaking about these things and addressing them from the pulpit now,” Kistler asks, “then the question is, if the Johnson Amendment is repealed, will they speak out about it at all? This is a question we will be addressing through the pastors’ networks and on our radio program, and we pray that pastors are emboldened by these truths.”
Dr. Dean Haun, Pastor and former board member of the IMB (International Missions Board) with the Southern Baptist Convention, recently resigned over their support of mosque building in NJ. What are his reasons and how do they demonstrate the lack of understanding over Trump’s immigration policies? Host: Dave Kistler
Now that the baton has been officially passed to Donald Trump, who is now the official President of the United States, what has he been given and what will his legacy be? Former US Representative Michele Bachmann, joins the program to discuss the Inauguration and the various alignments Trump will take on with the UN, NATO, and the EU.
What are the essentials of an enduring legacy? What did the Obama administration lack and what are the Biblical principles behind this concept? Host: Sam Rohrer
What parting “gift” did President Obama leave to Israel? And what is the post-inauguration attitude there and in the Middle East? Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, host of Prophecy Today, gives an update on today’s program. Host: Dave Kistler
What message did President Trump send to radical Islamists on Inaugural day? #JohnGuandolo from Understanding the Threat joins the program to discuss the steps necessary to “eradicate radical Islam from the face of the earth”. Host: Sam Rohrer
Christian evangelical voters were key in electing newly inaugurated President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Among the reasons for their votes were the promises Trump and Pence made to the faithful on the campaign trail and the support they showed to pastors and churches.
One of those commitments was to peel back the Johnson Amendment, which for more than 60 years has restricted the free speech of pastors and churches.
Stated Trump at the Republican National Convention in July, “An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson many years ago, threatens religious institutions. I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans.” According to the Daily Caller, he echoed that sentiment at the Value Voters Summit in September: “We’re going to get rid of that law … we’re going to get rid of it so fast.”
“Pastors are charged by God to always speak biblical truth from the pulpit,” said APN president Sam Rohrer. “From abortion and marriage to tyranny in office, the Bible is very clear on social, cultural and political issues. Efforts by government to intimidate pastors on preaching biblical truth not only violate God’s direct command but are also unconstitutional. We encourage pastors to stand up for truth by continuing to urge President Trump and Vice President Pence to make good on their commitment to repeal the Johnson Amendment.”
Proposed by then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and passed by Congress in 1954, the law prohibits tax-exempt organizations—including churches and other nonprofits—from lobbying elected officials, campaigning on behalf of a political party, and supporting or opposing candidates for office. Reports the Daily Caller, “Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code bestows tax-exempt status upon nonprofit groups as long as they don’t ‘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 office.’ (The ‘in opposition to’ clause was added in 1986.)”
So, for example, a church opposed to abortion is prohibited from explicitly supporting a pro-life candidate running for Congress.
Research from the American Culture & Faith Institute has found that while 90 percent of pastors believe the Bible has much to say about today’s pressing political and societal issues, less than 10 percent are talking about those issues from the pulpit. Rohrer noted that many pastors fear losing their church’s 501(c)(3) status and, therefore, avoid preaching on political issues.
“Churches, by their very nature, operate under God’s jurisdiction and as such have historically been tax-exempt,” Rohrer said. “They predated the IRS and any another-man made provision such as incorporation or 501(c)(3) status, and these rights remain inviolate. When it comes to preaching the truth of God’s Word, the pastor’s obligation is to God, not government. This chance to repeal the Johnson Amendment is an ideal opportunity for pastors across this nation to reaffirm their biblical duty and constitutional rights.”
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