The Freedom From Religion Foundation is up to its old tricks again, but this time with a twist.
Typically, the FFRF gets the government to do its dirty work by bringing lawsuits aimed at shutting down public expressions of Christianity. More often than not, courts go along with the FFRF’s song and dance to the detriment of Christians and their communities, removing memorials, taking down displays, putting restrictions on public prayer and so on.
This time, the FFRF sued the IRS, not over some display or having “In God We Trust” on our money, but over the issue of tax exemptions for 99 churches the FFRF claims are unlawfully speaking up about politics.
The IRS, after holding private talks with the FFRF attorneys, got the lawsuit dropped by submitting a letter to the Department of Justice saying that the 99 suspect churches “merit high priority for examination” because they allegedly have expressed one-sided views on political issues.
This is like threatening to call the cops on the neighborhood bully unless he beats up the neighbors you happen to hate. The IRS, given the choice between fighting a lawsuit or complying with the FFRF’s wishes, has naturally jumped at the chance to legally do what it loves to do best and harass more conservatives.
There’s not a single church on the hit list — which is what FFRF’s list truly is — that skews left. All the “political” issues FFRF is so concerned about are topics such as homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, religious freedom rights and criticism of Obamacare, even when no political candidates’ names are mentioned.
Among the targeted are groups like Billy Graham Ministries, which took out an ad urging people to “vote biblical.” The list includes both large national church groups and individual local parishes.
The agreement between the IRS and FFRF means that sermons will be monitored for “prohibited speech” by IRS agents from the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division, the same division formerly led by Lois Lerner, the central figure in congressional investigations into the IRS who has been charged with contempt of Congress.
The 1954 Johnson Amendment states that tax-exempt groups cannot endorse candidates. A 2009 court ruling said the IRS must pay an agent to monitor church “politicking.” The FFRF’s lawsuit claimed the IRS was not enforcing the Johnson Amendment or the court ruling.
Lost in all this apparently is the First Amendment, which states clearly that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging free speech.
The trope about “separation of church and state” has been used to turn the First Amendment on its head. That wall of separation, which is not a phrase found in the Constitution, was a turn of phrase used by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to a constituent, and it was meant to explain that there was a legal barrier preventing Congress from interfering with religious institutions.
The FFRF and other atheist groups have found sympathetic courts to make rulings that have inverted that intention, making the wall of separation into a prison wall around organizations — almost exclusively Christian — to prevent Christians from expressing their faith or participating in public life.
The FFRF has been so successful because it has a game plan that changes little from case to case, in which some atheist claims religious discrimination or intimidation because of Christian expression in public, yet the FFRF lawyers simultaneously maintain the facade that atheism is not a religion.
It’s complete baloney that courts and the media have willingly accepted.
Atheism is by any measure a religion like any other, and an examination of the FFRF’s long history of lawsuits shows clearly that the grand scheme is to suppress and finally eliminate Christianity as a cultural force for good and replace it with a state-required atheism.
In the IRS, the FFRF has found a willing government agency that can’t wait to violate the First Amendment and help bring the atheists’ master plan to fruition.