The Sunday Message

Among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs. That is why I will get rid of, and totally destroy, the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution. I will do that — remember. – President Donald Trump (National Prayer Breakfast Remarks 02/02/17)

Many people listening to the President’s speech probably did not know what he was talking about when President Trump mentioned the Johnson Amendment at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday.

The 1954 amendment was named for then-Senator Lyndon Johnson and regulates what tax-exempt organizations such as churches can do in the political arena. (NPR)

Here is what the IRS says about it:

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

NPR has more information about the Johnson Amendment HERE.

I am not in favor of repealing the Johnson Amendment. I attend church regularly and it is kind of a sanctuary for me to get away from politics and think about God and the Bible.

The Johnson Amendment does not prevent churches from urging people to vote and praying for our elected leaders and handing out voter guides that list the views of the candidates.

There are already Christian-based groups that are not 501(c)(3) organizations that lobby congress on behalf of families, religion, and life.

If churches could be more involved in campaigns you might see inserts in your bulletin from candidates, campaign signs on church property, candidates’ bumper stickers on the cross, and before we hear the message from the pastor, the church may show a campaign commercial on the big screen.

I don’t think we need that in our church lives.

 

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A Budget Deal for Cowards

Late Monday evening, I happened to catch the story from The Hill about senior White House officials and congressional leaders striking a deal to raise the debt limit and set the federal budget for the next two years.

We’ll see how this “deal” works out. These are not really “deals.” What they do is give everyone enough stuff they want so they can get enough votes to pass it. Then it’s out of sight so they can work on what’s most important: The next election.

It will also give them more time to impeach the head of the IRS – because who doesn’t want to stick it to the IRS – it’s a good way to raise money and get more votes!

The “next” election is where they promise to stop doing things like they just did if we send enough of their like-minded people to Washington to fight.

That’s the big lie.

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Thursday Numbers

Welcome to the last Thursday Numbers of May! Are you ready for June?

In case you’re new around here, “Thursday Numbers” is the weekly column where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary sometimes sprinkled with sarcasm.

This week’s topics include drinking water, the Air Force is hiring, unwanted calls, IRS, unemployment, grizzly bears, Montana GOP convention, grandchildren, assisted suicide, reinventions in pop culture, seersucker suits, live anthrax spores, NHL game seven, a new poll about Republican presidential candidates, chimpanzees and lawyers, and much more!

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Thursday Numbers

Thanks for stopping by for your weekly dose of knowledge! Can you believe this is the last Thursday Numbers for June?

If you are a first-time visitor, “Thursday Numbers” is the column where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary (sometimes spiked with sarcasm) just to make you smile, shake your head, or make you send me nasty e-mails or Tweets.

This week I write about unemployment, a Wild Card winner, Ravalli County (MT), Daines & Toomey, Lois Lerner, Cochran & McDaniel, JFK, Iraq, oil trains, the dentist, same-sex marriage, U.S. Supreme Court, newly insured in 2014, Montana gas prices, the Kentucky senate race, a no hitter, and much more!

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Tuesday Political Potpourri

Here’s a roundup of some political news for your Tuesday – plus commentary! Enjoy!

Taxes:

Lee Newspapers is reporting that Montana State Senator Jonathan Windy Boy (Democrat) “owes more than $146,000 in federal taxes, penalties and interest, according to a document filed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.”

And here I thought the IRS was only going after people who leaned to the right…

Voter Guides:

The Associated Press reported yesterday that here in Montana “The commissioner of political practices says a political group is not to blame when voters leave guides in the election booth.”

I can agree with that.

The guides were handed out legally, “at least 100 feet from the precinct doors” and then people left them in the precinct.

I guess people “accidentally” left the voter guides behind. Someone, somewhere, just had a light bulb come on…

The Montana Commissioner of Political Practices continues to amaze me…   Continue reading

Thursday Numbers

Thanks for stopping by The Western Word for another edition of “Thursday Numbers!”

If you are a new visitor, this column is where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary (sometimes laced with just a little sarcasm).

DISCLAIMER: By reading this column you may be able to use the information to impress your family, friends, and co-workers. Consider this your warning.

This week I write about free slurpees, defense cuts, births in the USA, flood damages, unemployment, frying an egg in Death Valley, Obama’s job approval, a pistol duel, mariachi musicians, All-Star game, reform ideas, “The Body Issue,” below the poverty level, Internal Revenue Service, a chicken statue, five black bears, the Dorset, Minnesota, mayor, Voices of Montana, and Sarah Palin. There’s a lot more so read on… Continue reading

Caught My Eye…

It’s Friday and, more importantly, it’s a three-day weekend for most. Let’s be safe out there!

This Memorial Day please observe a minute of silence at 3:00 p.m., local time on Monday, and remember that Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor American men and women who died while serving our country. My flag will be flying proudly in honor of these brave people!

It’s now time for another exciting edition of “Caught My Eye!”

Friendly Reminder: This column goes well with a glass of wine or with your favorite microbrew (especially on Friday afternoons).

If you are a first-time visitor, this is my weekly column where I take a quick look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. Often I throw in some sarcasm and poke fun at people just to make you smile.

Today I write about Tester and Veterans, Daines and Keystone, Morris and Watters, Walking for the Fallen, KMOV’s Larry Conners, the IRS and Congress, the graduate, birthdays, making Montana proud, and much more! Continue reading