Remember this little post I wrote last week? About the offensive bumper sticker?
Well, I struck a chord with someone, and it's caused me to do a lot of deep thinking regarding that post... with my conclusion being that I not only stand behind the opinions expressed, but feel even more strongly about them now than I did last week.
Here is a [paraphrased] look at one of the comments from a reader (please go to the original post to read the full comment):
"I think a church has no business in the political arena. As I said before they can influence the hearts and minds of their congregation but shouldn't go beyond that. "
This statement frightens me to my very core, because it represents how we, as a country have become so focused on being politically correct. We are constantly worrying about not offending anyone by saying the word "God", or "religion", that we have lost sight of the very values upon which our founding fathers built this nation!
Some are so concerned with keeping religion and politics separate that attempts have been made to remove the words "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, and "In God We Trust" from our currency. Words that make a statement about the beliefs that this nation was founded upon, and what has held us together through wars, natural disasters, and financial crisis.
Please do not assume that I believe that everyone should be a Christian, or that everyone should even be religious!
But by saying that in America, land of free speech and democracy, a church should not have a political voice simply because it is a tax exempt organization is discrimination at the most basic level there is.
There are countless non-profits out there that speak to political issues such as these:
- stem cell research
- abuse/domestic violence
- animal rights
Now, if I'm not mistaken, one of the most important things you learn in church is this: "Love your neighbor as yourself". Sounds like helping someone, right? Every church you can think of has outreach programs, medical assistance programs, abuse counselors... etc - right?
I fully support each and every one of these organizations in having the right to speak freely and openly in both political and non-political arenas. Why should a church not have the same right? They are not trying to convert or 'force Jesus' on anyone, but simply fighting to preserve the values and belief system that our country was founded upon.
Just because a church does not pay taxes does not mean that it is not contributing to the good of society through outreach programs and countless ministries that help those in need. They SHOULD have a political voice - based on the Constitutional right to free speech.
What do you think?
P.S. I promise this will be the last political-ish blog, I truly hate talking about politics, and try to avoid the topic at all costs. But, I also feel strongly about the right to free speech for EVERYONE, tax-exempt organization or not.... :)