More than 75,000 gay marriage supporters have signed a petition to strip churches that were involved in the repeal of Maine’s gay marriage law of their tax exemption.
According to this gay support group:
“The IRS clearly forbids churches from participating in political campaigns in any form.”
There were many church organizations involved including the Catholic Church in the effort to pass the ballot measure, Question One, which rejected the state’s same-sex marriage law.
Maine Marriage Equality is urging supporters and gay rights advocates to file an IRS complaint against those churches.
Response: Interestingly there were also quite a few churches who actively supported gay marriage in Maine (see picture above) and opposed the measure–do the activists want those groups censored also? Recently the Mormon Church actively supported some gay rights laws in Salt Lake City–should they be in trouble too?
There is no provision in the law that require churches to refrain from speaking out on moral issues and supporting provisions that are a major part of their belief system. When laws are passed that do restrict teaching and preaching in churches on certain issues than ‘free exercise of religion’ is for all intense and purposes over.
Earlier this week some liberal Democrats in Congress were upset with church organizations and particularly the Catholic Bishops for pressuring the congress to drop abortion from the Health Care bill. Several threatened to call into question the IRS exemption for churches in that situation.
Also when Prop 8 in California overturned Gay marriage the same outcry went up and legal actions were taken on that basis to no avail. The statement above– “The IRS clearly forbids churches from participating in political campaigns in any form.”—is not entirely correct. Churches are restricted from supporting particular candidates or political parties but not from speaking out on issues. There is still freedom of speech and religion in this country which so far continues to be guaranteed by the Constitution.
Recent threats should cause some concerns however for those of us who support religious freedom particularly since some of the activist courts are populated by liberal secularist judges who may not fully appreciate the role of religion as part of the foundational strength that the country was built upon.