Usually, pastors avoid political issues that do not directly affect churches. They do not want to split their churches. They want those tithes and offerings. The churches are in debt, and cash flow is a consideration. Besides, they know that Americans don’t like to be told what to do in church directly. They want only hints.
The really hard-core conservative pastors see that that splitting their churches over a vocal defense of Tweedledum over Tweedledee is not worth it. When push comes to shove in Congress, as it always does, partisan politics always becomes Establishment politics: more spending, more debt, and more regulations.
Pastors want to balance their churches’ budgets. They know there is no chance that Congress will balance its budget.
It boils down to this: most pastors do not preach against abortion, for fear of a backlash from the pews. Why would they risk unemployment for the sake of supporting or opposing Sen. Snort?
Black pastors know how their congregations will vote. No problem. Besides, the IRS knows what will happen if it intervenes. The race card will be played. The IRS gets no money out of the deal.
A handful of white activists are now preaching partisan politics from the pulpit. They are daring the IRS to act. The IRS is mute. It has been since 2009.
IRS’s timid approach to enforcing rules is likely linked to a lawsuit it lost in 2009. The agency in 2007 began auditing Living Word Christian Center for endorsing Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). And when the church wouldn’t hand over records, the government filed suit.
But the judge tossed the case because of a technical matter. It pointed to IRS rules requiring regional agency commissioners or a higher-ranking official to approve church audits. Since the regional commissioner position had been eliminated in the late 1990’s, the IRS had allowed lower-level agents to open the investigations.
The judge said that wasn’t allowed.
After that, the IRS dropped a bunch of church investigations initiated by lower-level employees, including one of Minnesota Rev. Gus Booth, a Pulpit Freedom Sunday participant lambasting Obama and Hillary Clinton. He personally called them to ask why.
“They don’t want to have a court battle,” he said in an interview.
The top bureaucrats in the IRS figure it is better to be safe than sorry. They do not want any more political backlash. The IRS got its head handed to it over its refusal to grant tax-exempt status to conservative outfits seeking to create foundations. Lois Lerner pled the fifth. Congress is not finished with her. So, they do not authorize investigations of churches.
The IRS does not want to risk public humiliation. Pastors do not want to endanger the flow of funds. So, Senator Snort can expect little support or opposition from the pulpits in his state. It will be business as usual on election day. “My opponent is worse.”