I rarely get angry about things I read. Today I read that conservative Christian evangelist Franklin Graham saying that he doesn’t believe it was the Russians who intervened in this year’s controversial presidential election. Instead, he said, “it was God. God showed up.” I could not have been more disgusted at the way religion is consistently misused for personal and political gain in our nation. For starters why should any pastor, layman, or evangelist claim that religion works in its favor? Is this to imply that any independent or democrat voter an agent of the devil? I think not. What Mr. Graham did was blasphemy and use the pulpit to create more division in our nation. Graham has disguised himself as a servant of rightousness by an orchestrated choice of words rather than the guidance of God and the holy spirit.
In my lifetime I have tried very hard to keep religion separate from my civic duties and obligations. I pray for most people. What makes my prayer different is that I pray for peace, pray for others that include our enemies. Sure, I may sound like the Catholic boy, but I am not Catholic. I was always taught to think of others before myself. This method seems to be doing just fine until I hear more rhetoric from Graham. I remember when Graham referred to Muslims as engaged in “a religion of hatred. It’s a religion of war.” Only later would Graham continue to spread doubt by claiming President Obama was Muslim and that references to Mormonism as a cult implying doubt about Governor Mitt Romney’s ability to be President. What is most disturbing is Graham’s political plans from the pulpit. He said, “I have zero hope for the Democratic Party; I have no hope for the Republican Party. I am running a campaign to put God back in the political process.”
I would like to point out that Franklin Graham has a net worth of over $25 million dollars. That is money that was collected tax-free by contributors. There is no product to buy except fear based on his words. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that using politics in the church is a dangerous mix and somewhat unlawful by revenue standards. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a clear rule when it comes to churches. The law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one “which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
It is time for our nation to confront the combination of politics and religion. Once again it has become out of hand and dangerous by self-appointed ministers interpreting based on its capital need rather than scripture. America may see the expensive cars, mansions and offshore bank accounts by tax-free deposits of people such as Franklin Graham and his misguided rhetoric by using God for material and political purposes. It is time to start taxing these “churches” that harvest an armageddon of theater news Graham and others create for their congregations and ministries. This has nothing to do with free speech. This matter has more to do with tax-free speech and the law as it is written. God should never be used to determine politics. This is the free will of the people something religion holds dear and sacred. But, in fairness, if you want to talk about politics then you may do so if you forego the IRS 501(c) statements and disclose this to your followers. Be transparent just as God would want.
If Graham wants to use religion in politics, let’s use the law and begin taxing his ministry. Maybe Graham should read his own Bible once in a while and reference Romans 13:7-8 “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”