Religious Freedom

An Atrocity of Interference

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Apparently, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) – an atheist group which aims to remove any semblance of religion from anything even remotely related to Government in the United States – has teamed up with the IRS in an effort to prevent religious leaders from using the pulpit to spread messages that are in contradiction to the Government and its policies. The separation of Church and State operates with the understanding that the State cannot dabble in the affairs of the Church and the Church cannot dabble in the affairs of the State. This has worked marvelously for much of the history of the United States. The Government does not tax religious bodies because that would constitute dabbling in the affairs of religious bodies. The reciprocal of this is that the religious bodies will not speak out directly against any Government policy or law.
However, it has always been understood that preachers, rabbis, and imams will preach based on their respective religious books, and there is a chance that the preaching may wander into territory where the religious text is in direct contradiction with a Government policy or law. For example, a Catholic priest giving a Sunday homily against abortion, runs the risk of violating the separation of Church and State because he will likely say something about Roe v Wade or other court rulings related to abortion. This gray-area has always been tolerated by the Government, and so the IRS has continued its practice of not taxing religious bodies.
But now, with the agreement between the FFRF and the IRS, the freedom to preach from the pulpit based on the Bible, Torah, or Koran – regardless of whether those holy books and the subsequent preaching are in direct contradiction with a current law or policy – may be coming to an end. Unfortunately, this is another example of Freedom of Religion being turned into Freedom from Religion (literally). The First Amendment gives religious bodies the freedom to practice their religion as they see fit. But when a religious body is restricted in what it is allowed to teach, because a group that wants to do away with religion in the United States says so, it ceases to be a problem of the Church interfering with the State, and becomes an atrocity of the State interfering with the Church.

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