One of the headlines that has recently caught my attention is the now documented Ohio Branch of the IRS seeking out audits against Tea Party and “patriotic” 501 (c)4 organizations. These non-profits are growing in number (Americans, we’re so charitable, right?) because of the fact that these groups can donate up to half their profits to political campaigns/”political activity.” So basically, 501 (c)4’s are just like charity’s, with Tax Exempt status, only they can have overt partisan purposes. This concept is truly horrific if you think about it. People are getting tax breaks for supporting their pet causes.
The blame for all of this moral confusion and political arbitrariness should be squarely placed at the feet of the late President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who as a Senator, had a temper tantrum because a group of preachers opposed his electoral bid. The travesty of the Johnson Amendment of 1954 was not that it barred churches and other religious organizations from endorsing candidates (that’s a positive outcome). By labelling “THE CHURCH” a 501 (c)3 non-profit, Johnson managed to take away religious communities’ rights to define themselves. While “TeaVangelicals” will cry, “PERSECUTION, PERSECUTION!,” they never stop to question the states’ power to define religious communities, and the functions that they serve in the first place because they are more concerned with the bottom line: the economic benefits of tax breaks. In reality, the “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” is more about Purse Freedom than anything.