29 September 2008

Pulpit Freedom Sunday: Follow-Up

The Alliance Defense Fund will probably get the days in court it wished for when it embarked on yesterday's "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" project. As noted yesterday, a few dozen ministers across the country decided to give presidential endorsements from their pulpits in defiance of the 1954 "Johnson Amendment" which strips offending churches of their tax-exempt status. The Alliance wanted someone to sue so they could get a court to rule that the Johnson Amendment is unconstitutional. Predictably enough, and quite likely as planned, the Americans United for the Separation of Church & State has reported several of the preachers to the IRS, the body empowered by Lyndon Johnson's bill to rule on such cases.

Also predictably, since the Alliance divines had announced that they were going to endorse based on biblical principles of their choosing, most of them endorsed Senator McCain while denouncing Senator Obama for a variety of reasons. At least one exception elected to endorse Alan Keyes, who is running on the "American Party" ticket and is probably overdue for a profile. In fact, you'll probably see one above shortly. We might argue that out of all the candidates, McCain, being a Republican and thus dedicated to succoring the rich, and a neocon and thus dedicated to war, would be the last man Jesus of Nazareth would endorse, but the Alliance ministers were no doubt rendering unto Caesar in their own fashion. Now it will be up to the courts to decide whether they shall have to render in the original fashion.

Here's what Americans United has to say on the subject, and this is what the Alliance says. We'll be hearing more from both sides in the months to come.

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