On Fox News, Mike Huckabee slammed the 1954 federal tax law that regulates churches and religious groups from endorsing political candidates.
The segment, “The Fight for Faith,” covered the right wing’s latest “religious liberty” battle, this time in Houston, Texas.
Even before Democratic Mayor Annise Parker passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance in May, the religious right was out in force, fighting equality for LGBT people. Expecting litigation, Parker signed the bill into law but opted to place a hold on its effective date until any potential lawsuit were resolved.
One lawsuit came from a group of pastors, and in response, the City of Houston’s attorneys, apparently some working pro-bono, subpoenaed documents from several other pastors related to communications they had over the Equal Rights Ordinance. The subpoena reportedly included the word “sermons,” and now the religious right is claiming there actually is a separation of church and state — finally — and claiming this is a gross violation of their First Amendment rights.
Of course, it is not.
If you file a lawsuit, there are usually subpoenas, and the pastors should not have been surprised.
But on Fox News, which regularly runs segments titled ”The Fight for Faith,” any attempt to hold pastors to the rule of law is an outrage.
David Edwards at the Raw Story notes that Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy this morning called the City of Houston’s attempts to discover information related to a case in which it is being sued “intimidation.”
“But at its core, when you realize what they’re trying to do, I am astounded at the lack of outrage across this country. Because clearly it’s intimidation, and everybody should be outraged that the city mayor is trying to stifle religious liberty!”
In this morning’s interview, Huckabee claimed “there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits a pastor from saying anything he wants to. There’s this ridiculous sort of false sword that hangs over a lot of churches, the Johnson Amendment, dating back to 1954, which I believe is unconstitutional on its face. It’s never been tested. No church in America — not one church has ever lost its tax exempt status.”
“And here’s the point, this has been used by the government as a means to silence free speech, which is protected by the first amendment. As well as religious freedom, which is protected by the First Amendment.”
Of course, there was the requisite Fox News trampling and dismissing of transgender people, with Doocy stating that the pastors merely want to stop “men from using ladies’ restrooms and stuff like that.”
I love how Huckabee has the balls to claim a voting rights infringement.
BTW- If you use your church pulpit to sway politics, you have moved from a faith based organization to a political action committee.
It’s one thing to practice your religion on a personal level, but to force your dogma on others is fanaticism.
Religious extremism is dangerous. We see what religious fanatics are doing in the Middle East. The religious right who call themselves Christian Conservatives are more subtle, but they are just as dangerous.