Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Religious right 'wish list' under Trump moves America dangerously to theocracy

Tony Perkins and his group want to give churches more political power. That would be a disaster.

Via a recent fundraising email, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins laid out what he claims are the three issues which will "make or break religious liberty."

In reality, these issues are geared to giving conservative right-wing evangelicals an enormous amount of power in electing government officials  as well as curtailing the rights of the lgbtq community.

Perkins details and describes these issues as follows:

President Trump's executive order directs the IRS not to enforce guidelines on the Johnson Amendment, which has been used not only to block speech about candidates but about political issues that directly impact the free exercise of religious faith. But clearer guidelines are not enough. This amendment needs to be gutted by law if churches are to be free of government retribution for following God's Word.  
In conjunction with the EO clarification of IRS guidelines on the Johnson Amendment, the Free Speech Fairness Act must pass in order to "allow charitable organizations [including churches] to make statements relating to political campaigns if such statements are made in the ordinary course of carrying out its tax-exempt purpose." In other words, pastors would not be prohibited from speaking out about candidates who support such things as abortion...special privileges based on sexual preference and gender identity...and banning Christian clubs from meeting in public school buildings. 
Simply put, such an act would prevent the federal government from discriminating against those who follow biblical teachings that marriage is between one man and one woman. It would defend people such as Aaron and Melissa Klein and Barronelle Stutzman who are being prosecuted for declining to participate in same-sex weddings because of their Christian beliefs.

Don't let Perkins fool you with the claims that these issues have anything to do with liberty or freedom.

Repealing the Johnson Amendment would allow churches to become "dark money political action committees," i.e. allow them to funnel money to candidates without disclosing who is giving the money or losing their tax-exempt status.

That so-called Free Speech Fairness Act would allow churches and pastors to endorse candidates while in their official capacities without reprisal. Coupled with the Johnson Amendment repeal, that's a serious mix for disaster. Churches would be allowed to funnel money to candidates without disclosing donors, while pastors would be able to endorse candidates in the pulpit to their congregations, both without fear of losing tax-exempt status.

The First Amendment Defense Act is the rotten cherry on top for Perkins and company.. It would allow widespread discrimination against members of the lgbtq community (and possibly others) in secular environments under the guise of "religious freedom."

Whether Perkins and company will succeed is not the single issue here.  The fact that they are so bold and brazen in openly pursuing their endeavors should scare us all. And remind us how serious things have become.

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