Category: Church and State

Iowa pastor preaches politics to oust 3 justices who backed gay marriage

The Rev. Cary K. Gordon has a prayer he recites as he campaigns against the three Iowa Supreme Court justices who are up for retention in next month’s election.

“Dear God,” he says, “please allow the IRS to attack my church, so I can take them all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Gordon, an associate pastor at Cornerstone World Outreach in Sioux City, says he will defy federal law this month when he urges the congregation to vote to not retain the three justices, who participated in a unanimous ruling that allowed same-sex couples to wed. His mass mailing to 1,000 church leaders in September prompted one national religious liberty group to file a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service.

Advocates of the separation of church and state and some religious leaders say Gordon’s plan is illegal, immoral and an attempt to falsely frame his dispute as a freedom-of-speech violation. The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in Washington, D.C., called Gordon’s actions one of the most outrageous attempts to politicize a church that he has ever seen.

Others, such as Jeff Mullen, senior pastor of Point of Grace Church in Waukee, are urging Iowa pastors to communicate to their congregations the “biblical mandate for involvement in local and national elections.”

Seems to us at Religion News Blog that some other, more important Biblical mandates are being skipped in the process.

C Street house target of clergy’s IRS complaint

tax exempt Three times now, including a complaint they plan to file today against the secretive C Street Center in Washington, D.C., the activist pastors have challenged the tax-exempt status of religious organizations they believe have improperly dabbled in partisan politics.

Their numbers fluctuate, but their mission is always the same: protect the divide between church and state.

Freedom from Religion Foundation files suit to end tax break for ministers

tax exempt A nationwide atheist group is asking religious leaders to take Jesus’ advice and render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s €” especially when it comes to taking the federal tax break on their housing.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation says the housing exemption gives churches an unfair advantage because they can compensate their leaders with tax-free housing. Other nonprofits, such as the foundation, can’t do that. So it’s suing the federal government to outlaw the housing allowance.

Atheists Sue Catholic Church

tax exempt Charging that the Catholic Church should lose its tax-exempt status, a consortium of atheists and Catholic activists filed two lawsuits against Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Assemblymember Vito Lopez (D-Williamsburg) and the Catholic Diocese over their role in producing a recorded message sent to Williamsburg’s registered voters less than a week before they went to the polls.

More Bible verses than ever at football games

Religious signs at football games A school district in Georgia, USA, recently decided that cheerleaders could not longer display banners with Bible verses at school football games — one of those ‘Church and State’ issues.

Result? More bible banners than ever, now displayed by fans in the stands instead of cheerleaders on the field.

While constitutional experts agree with the new policy, and many locals understand why it is being applied, the fans are using their right to free speech.