The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

Un-muzzle America’s Clergy

Posted by thelamp on July 14, 2006

Un-muzzle America’s Clergy

We wouldn’t consider passing a law that lets doctors tell their patients why they’re sick, but not about what they can do to stay healthy. Incredibly, though, for the last 52 years the federal government has barred America’s clergy from speaking the dictates of their hearts where moral issues are concerned.

Fortunately, there’s a solution. It’s called the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act. Click here to tell your Member of Congress you support it.

For the first 178 years of this nation’s existence, pastors, priests, rabbis and other clergy had the same First Amendment right to endorse political candidates the rest of us had. In 1954, an amendment to a federal law sponsored by Sen. Lyndon Johnson of Texas changed all that, by prohibiting partisan speech by tax-exempt organizations.

There’s no indication that Johnson intended to muzzle clergy with this law, but the Internal Revenue Service has interpreted it that way. Today, it’s accepted in many circles that the so-called “separation of church and state” is what prevents clergy from leading their congregations in applying the principles of their faith. HR 235, the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act would restore clergy their First Amendment rights while speaking in their pulpits.

“Clergy of all faiths and all political persuasions are more important in their congregations’ lives than ever before,” said Pastor Rod Parsley, founder and president of the Center for Moral Clarity. “It’s absurd that pastors and other clerics can tell their congregations, for example, that the government should enforce civil-rights laws – but can’t tell them which candidate in an upcoming election would do that.”

“It’s a shame that we need to pass a law to fix a 52-year-old injustice, but HR 235 is that law, and I’m calling on all Christians to advocate for its passage.”

HR 235 is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-North Carolina, and has 167 Congressional co-sponsors. It’s been stuck in the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Republican Rep. Bill Thomas of California, since January 2005. The bill didn’t go anywhere in the previous session of Congress either. It’s time for values voters to make their voices heard!

Click here to send an e-mail to your Member of Congress about your support for HR 235.

For more information about the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, click here.

The government never should have assigned itself the job of muzzling America’s clergy. Together, the church must be heard on this issue!


What do you think?  Post your comments below.


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