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Howard Center Decries Intimidation of Churches
7/29/2004 9:44:00 PM by Larry Jacobs - The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society
Larry Jacobs, vice president of The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, called a complaint filed with the IRS against an Arkansas Church “a cheap intimidation tactic.”
The complainant, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, is a liberal activist group best known for its fanciful distortions of the First Amendment’s establishment clause.
The complaint arose from a July 4th. sermon by Pastor Ronnie Floyd of the First Baptist Church of Springdale, Arkansas. Americans United claims the sermon -- on the moral issues confronting Christians in this election -- was a not-so-subtle plea for the reelection of President Bush.
“Pastor Floyd described the positions of the candidates on such issues as abortion and same-sex marriage, but never suggested that church members cast their votes for one candidate or the other,” said Larry Jacobs, vice president of the Howard Center.
Jacobs explained: “This is the same strategy pursued by labor unions, abortion groups and other liberal organizations with a tax exempt status. As long as they don’t specifically endorse a candidate, it’s considered educational.”
The Howard Center vice president continued: “Americans United knows very well that since 1934, when the lobbying restriction was placed in the IRS code, no church has lost its tax-exempt status for politics.”
Yet every election year, Americans United engages in the same strong-arm tactics, hoping that churches which aren’t familiar with the law will be bullied into silence.
“Ministers don’t lose their First Amendment rights when they stand at the pulpit,” Jacobs observed. “Churches aren’t free-speech exemption zones. Clergy and congregants have the same rights as other Americans to express themselves on the issues of the day.”
Jacobs declared: “This is about the First Amendment, but not the left’s misinterpretation of the establishment clause - unless, of course, the First Baptist Church was attempting to establish a national religion. Rather, it’s about Americans exercising the rights that other Americans have fought and died for over the past 228 years.”
The Howard Center endeavors to reinforce the family as the first and irreplaceable social unit, to renew the religious foundations of virtue and liberty and to restore the education of the young in the obligations of free men and women.
Subscriptions to the Center’s monthly journal, “The Religion and Society Report” edited by Dr. Harold O.J. Brown can be requested by calling 1-800-461-3113.
For more information on The World Congress of Families and its parent group, the Howard Center For Family, Religion and Society, visit http://www.worldcongress.org/ and http://www.profam.org/.
About The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society
The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society is a non-profit research organization in Rockford, Illinois that conducts research and analysis on family and issues in society.
In terms of function, The Howard Center:
Shapes new ideas about the nature and status of the family and faith
Makes fresh scientific research on the family accessible and useful to family scholars
Creates effective national and international networks of family advocates
Magnifies ideas and influence through all forms of media
Provides expert opinions to public policy makers
Specific programs include:
Publishing three monthly periodicals (Family in America, New Research, and The Religion and Society Report)
Publishing weekly The Family Update, Online! a free email newsletter
Serving as administrator and co-convener of the World Congress of Families (# I in Prague, 1997, #I I in Geneva, 1999 and # III, scheduled for March 29-31, 2004 in Mexico City
Building the Swan Library of Family and Culture
Maintaining two active websites The Howard Center (http://www.profam.org/) and The World Congress of Families (http://www.worldcongress.org/)
Convening periodic lectures and special conferences
Sponsoring “The Kohler Fellows Program”, in support of young scholars
Please visit http://www.profam.org/ and http://www.worldcongress.org/ for the latest news and info about The Howard Center.
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