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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The Sunday Message

Mark 12:28-30 (NIV)

The Greatest Commandment

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

This past week the Family Research Council (FRC) sent a couple of e-mails about the National Prayer Breakfast and, in particular, President Obama’s speech.

In his Washington Update, FRC President Tony Perkins wrote:

Plenty of people left the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday with a bad taste in their mouths — and not from the food. In what must be an encore of his apology tour, President Obama chose yesterday’s breakfast to join in the condemnation — not of Islamist violence, but Christians’.

You can read President Obama’s speech to decide for yourself HERE.

Christian organizations that participate in politics are having a tough go of it these days. They could be a gigantic force in the political world. Just imagine if Evangelicals, Baptists, Catholics, Mormons, and others joined together to elect candidates all across the fruited plains.

They can’t do it, because deep down “Love Thy Neighbor” only goes so far when you’re involved in politics.

I am a Christian. I try to attend church every week, plus I try to participate in a Bible study. I also try to read my Bible daily. I am deeply disappointed in some political Christian groups who proclaim to be for family and faith and all that goes with it.

I heard someone say something like this one time, “If you were brought before a jury, would your actions even be enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian.”

As for these faith and family groups, they would easily be found not guilty.

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Caught My Eye…

Welcome to the first Friday of February – how about that! I can almost see spring from my kitchen window…

If you are a first-time visitor, “Caught My Eye” is posted here every Friday morning! This is when I take a look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. Sometimes I throw in a touch of sarcasm to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – or maybe both.

Today I write about the Tribune’s Capital Bureau Chief, Department of Homeland Security, NBC’s Brian Williams, National Prayer Breakfast, Harvard University & sex, plus we have a winner who is Making Montana Proud!

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