This Townhall.com article expresses sentiments with which I agree regarding the muzzle placed on political speech from the pulpit. The efforts of LBJ were without a doubt a violation of the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution. It's a wonder that he was not soundly rejected for stifling free speech. But then, it's not uncommon for the left to redefine and re-interpret the Constitution to better suit their motivations.
The tax exempt status of the church was intended to honor the importance of faith in our lives. Before this nefarious deed was forced upon us, the church was always a voice that guided in a positive manner. Indeed, the church was a major factor in persuading the populace of the importance of independence prior to our fight for it in the early days of our nation. It stood against slavery throughout our early history and supported the movement against segregation. The church was our national conscience.
But then Johnson found himself and his policy proposals opposed by the church, so he moved to silence them or make them pay. Many churches are small. Possibly most of them. Every dime counts and to have to choose between preaching against the proponents of harmful policy or paying taxes runs counter to the intent of their exempt status. In other words, it is unAmerican. We have not been helped in the least by efforts to remove faith from the public square. Our culture wallows in the gutter as a reult. We need to support any efforts to overturn this self-serving act and return to a time when preachers were free to speak out against politicians directly if they so feel the need, without the risk of losing precious funds to taxation.
Some are concerned about the influence on people of a Bible-thumping preacher who's beliefs might be anti-science, based on that which cannot be proven. But this lame argument deflects attention from whether or not the idea proposed has merit. I think Fred Phelps is a good example of improper preaching being rejected, and his is rejected by people of faith more strongly than those without faith. Such concerns are baseless. I encourage everyone to add this to the list of things to change when contacting representatives. The government overstepped their Constitutional boundaries when they instituted this horrible policy.