On Thursday the Examiner provided an exclusive report indicating that the Obama administration had implemented a covert program beginning in 2009 that was intended to spy on conservative, evangelical Christian churches.
That program involved infiltration -- sending in government operatives to join churches for the purpose of data collection. The government snoops would keep their eyes and ears open for criticism of the Obama administration, talk of Tea Party participation, conversations about gun ownership, and a number of other issues.
But a special report issued today by Fox News indicates that the program went far beyond infiltration and snooping. The IRS was used to harass Christian churches if they were identified as places where large numbers of anti-Obama citizens congregated for worship.
The Obama administration, according to the report, considered any public criticism of administration policies to be political in nature and should therefore impact whether or not these congregations were allowed to gain or keep their tax exempt status.
But pastors have long maintained that there are a myriad of areas where political and moral/spiritual issues overlap, and thus, the pastors feel obligated as the guardians of spiritual truth to speak out concerning these issues.
Abortion, for example, is both a political and a spiritual issue. Most conservative, evangelical Christians believe that Biblical principles are abundantly clear concerning the sanctity of human life. And many pastors thus feel constrained by their calling to condemn abortion as a hideous and barbaric assault on the sacredness of human life.
But liberal politicians such as Barack Obama consider the issue to be purely political since it involves civil law and Supreme Court rulings. And thus, churches should not be allowed to speak out about such an issue.
The overlap between spiritual/moral issues and political issues has far reaching implications for the freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Take Billy Graham, for example. The world renowned evangelist has never had a problem with the IRS over its tax exempt status, that is, until the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association threw its support behind a 2012 ballot initiative in North Carolina that would allow citizens to vote on whether or not to allow gays to marry.
The Obama administration vehemently opposed the ballot initiative and insisted that the courts be allowed to make such decisions.
No sooner had the Graham organization publicized its support for the ballot initiative than the IRS came down on Graham, denying its tax exempt status, and requiring a ton of information as a prerequisite for keeping its tax exempt status.
Although Graham eventually won the day, the IRS had made its point. Any church that dares take a position contrary to the Obama administration had best beware. And most churches are small enough that tangling with the IRS for an extended period could potentially lead to the church shutting its doors for the lack of adequate funds.
Such chilling attempts to curtail citizen rights to free speech and the free practice of religion have become the hallmarks of an administration that is so drunk with power that it knows absolutely no bounds and tolerates very little opposition of any kind to its policies.
A new entry is now available in my Musings After Midnight series titled, "Vindication is Sweet but the Facts are Dire -- A Field Report on Proactive Patriots."
An index of all of my entries in "Musings After Midnight" is available at The Liberty Sphere.
You may also wish to visit my ministry site at Martin Christian Ministries.