Tristero correctly points out those churches that are concerned that they will lose their tax exempt status have a solution to their problems:
…this is a lie because the reverend knows very well that the IRS is not banning him from endorsing a candidate. He is quite free to do so. Likewise, his church is also free to endorse whoever they want to.
All they need to do – and it’s no big deal, really, unless the reverend and his church worship filthy mammon above all – is to forgo tax-exempt status…
Where I kind of disagree with Tristero is with this:
Maybe, but it is an indication of how desperate christianists are becoming that they would solicit churches to lose their tax exemptions. For many christianist “churches,” that is the holiest of sacraments.* And there is no better illustration than this that there is nothing religious about the so-called “religious” right. This is first and foremost a political movement that has co-opted religious symbols and tropes merely for secular gain.
I think some, if not many, of the theopolitically conservative churches engage in political advocacy because it helps raise funds for the church. It’s not that these churches–or at least their leaders–have been suckered into politics. The decision to engage in political advocacy is a fundraising strategy–they’re using the politicians as much as the other way around. I have no doubt that these leaders actually believe in this crap, but a church ministry needs money.
Just as environmental groups will show baby seals, health groups will show sick children, these churches will wave the Bloody Fetus. When I worked at a non-profit policy group, I (and my colleagues too) were very aware that an opportunity to promote our messages was also an opportunity to increase our fundraising profile. There was overhead and salary to pay, after all.
For a large church (or a national ‘ministry’), the organization has to have a little meter that clocks how much money they’ve raised on a daily basis–there’s no Church (or Non-Profit) Fairy. So whipping your supporters into a frenzy over The Bloody Fetus, the Darwinists, and the Homosexual Agenda is a superb fundraising tool. The problem is that if you engage in actual political advocacy, it’s illegal, unless you relinquish your tax exemption.
And there’s no money in that, which is what’s causing these churches to panic. Remember that many of these guys are the lineal descendants of Elmer Gantry…