Saturday, May 16, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
An important decision has been made by the IRS concerning ministers and churches regarding political activity. I have posted this story by Ralph Hallow of the Washington Times.
Note: This article has been posted with permission granted by Ralph Z. Hallow & Chris Dolan, Asst. Managing Editor for Politics at the Washington Times.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Moral-values groups hail tax ruling
Ralph Z. Hallow (Contact)
In a move cheered by conservatives, the Internal Revenue Service has ruled that ministers and pastors do not risk losing their tax-exempt status for engaging in political acts on behalf of issues such as traditional-values advocacy।
The IRS said in a letter to the Niemoller Foundation that the Houston-based nonprofit organization did not violate its tax-exempt status when it brought together pastors and politicians to champion moral issues during Republican Gov। Rick Perry's 2006 re-election campaign.
Short of endorsing a particular candidate or spending substantial portions of their nonprofit budgets on legislative lobbying, ministers and their churches are free to engage in political acts on behalf of moral values, the IRS said. Clergy are also free to encourage their congregations' members to get out the vote based on those issues and values.
The long-awaited IRS decision benefits Republicans, since religious conservatives constitute a large and influential bloc in the party's electoral coalition।
"It's sort of ironical that it would be the Obama administration that would reach this conclusion, but I must say it would be a stretch to reach any other conclusion," said David Norcross, a lawyer and a member of the Republican National Committee.
The liberal Texas Freedom Network filed a complaint with the IRS saying a 2006 Niemoller-sponsored event encouraged pastors and congregations to get out the vote as well as to mount efforts on behalf of Mr। Perry's campaign.
The IRS decision, conveyed only to the Niemoller Foundation, also applied to Niemoller-sponsored gatherings in Texas and Florida to support state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.
Liberal groups cautioned against interpreting the decision as a political carte blanche for churches and clergy on the right।
"Regardless, this ruling is disappointing because it will embolden wealthy special interests who want to funnel money into nonprofits as a backdoor way to drag churches into partisan campaigns," said Dan Quinn, spokesman for the Texas Freedom Network। "We continue to think that using faith as a political weapon is sleazy, regardless of whether the IRS agrees that Niemoller violated its tax-exempt status."
Mr. Quinn said the Free Market Foundation - the parent organization of the Liberty Legal Institute - "got $100,000 from the Niemoller Foundation in 2005 for its help in organizing the 'Pastors' Policy Briefings' at the heart of our IRS complaint against Niemoller. I think that's important to note."
Many political analysts in both parties have maintained that but for the active support of Christian ministers who spoke out for the same moral values that the Republican presidential candidate espoused, George W। Bush would not have won Ohio and, therefore, would not have been re-elected in 2004.
Mr. Quinn's group's argued to the IRS that the Niemoller Foundation was out of bounds because it "encouraged pastors at the gatherings to mount voter-registration drives and turn congregants out at the polls."
Evangelicals hailed the IRS decision as a major victory।
"It's more than just a win because, thanks to the IRS letter, pastors now know they have the freedom to act as we always believed they had," said Kelly J। Shackelford, an attorney who represents Niemoller.
"It's the liberals' nightmare - they accidentally caused the IRS to put it in writing," said Mr। Shackelford, who is chief counsel for the Liberty Legal Institute, a First Amendment and religious-liberties group headquartered in Plano, Texas.
Mr. Shackelford said the foundation retained the Liberty Legal Institute, which then gathered a team of legal experts to defend the foundation. In an unusual move, Liberty Legal attorneys not only sought a win, but also an IRS guidance letter making clear such pastors' events are approved and valid. The IRS letter approving the events is just what they hoped for.
Lutheran pastor Lawrence White, director of the Niemoller Foundation, said: "The IRS has unequivocally affirmed the right of pastors nationwide to come together as spokesmen for the Word of God, to interact with political leaders, historians and scholars in discussing the moral issues under debate within our culture, to assert their Biblical responsibility, to address such issues from their pulpits।"
The IRS ruling is expected to help Mr. Perry in his expected primary face-off with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison next year. Conservatives, who generally speak highly of Mr. Perry, nonetheless are carefully eyeing both Mr. Perry and Mrs. Hutchison, and religious voters probably will be the bloc that tips the primary toward one or the other.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Cox started with Bunning referring to his Senate career as an embarrassment to the people of Kentucky. Daring the audience to name one single thing the Republican Party had done for the people of Kentucky, Cox went through a litany of accomplishments the Democrats had provided the folks of Kentucky. From TVA to the State Parks System, from the Parkways to running water, Cox proclaimed the accomplishments of the Democrats.
Cox held up and read press releases from the OMB coming from the end of the Clinton and Bush Administrations comparing the differences. Clinton left office with the largest surplus in history while paying down the Nation's debt. Bush on the other hand left the Nation with no surplus and a huge deficit.
Cox said that regardless of who the nominees for U.S. Senate were this year the Democrats would win. Replacing Bunning with Trey Grayson would not help the Republican cause proclaimed Cox. "Now let's talk about Trey Grayson, "Little Lord Fauntleroy," said Cox.
Grayson- "Little Lord Fauntleroy"
Cox inferred that Grayson might provide a new face for the Republicans but had nothing new to offer the people of Kentucky. "The Democrat Party is the Party of family values", said Cox, referring to the Democrat beliefs of helping people. Cox reminded the crowd that Social Security, Education and Health Care are all rooted in family values.
The Breathitt Dinner had a pretty good attendance for an off year. Senator Joey Pendleton spoke also regarding the state of the Commonwealth. Pendleton also presented the Breathitt Award to Circuit Clerk Gary Haddock and Barbara Morris. Christian County Party Chairman Lindsey Adams served as MC. I gave the invocation and prayed for all the Libbbbbberal souls. House Judiciary Chairman John Tilley was not able to come whereas he and Chief Justice Minton were attending a National Judicial Conference in North Carolina.
Beshear, Dr. Dan and Conway did not come. Conway did send a letter that was read. and provided some campaign materials. No one represented Dr. Dan or the Governor.
Folks from Todd County, Hopkins County, Calloway County and Lyon County were also in attendance.
Bill Cox also served as a special assistant to Governor Julian Carroll, Mayor of Madisonville and most recently served as State Revenue Commissioner in the Beshear Administration where he set a record for the amount of tax revenue collected for the Commonwealth.
Bill Cox resides in Louisville and as most know his son Will Cox Jr. is presently the Mayor of Madisonville.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Frankfort – Recognizing his work as chairman of the Kentucky House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Chief Justice John Minton have both recommended state Rep. John Tilley to play a role in two select groups that are focusing on legal matters.
Recently, Speaker Stumbo appointed Rep. Tilley to serve this year and next on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Law and Criminal Justice Committee.
Chief Justice Minton, meanwhile, has joined with the American Bar Association in selecting Rep. Tilley to take part in an invitation-only conference the association is hosting this week. The conference, which is being held in Charlotte, NC, will host representatives from each branch of government from every state, with a focus on helping the judicial branch have the resources they need to keep courts strong, efficient and responsive to those they serve.
“I am proud to be able to take part in both of these,” Rep. Tilley said. “They each offer many opportunities to learn how we can improve our court system here in Kentucky. I think we have one of the best in the nation, but there are always areas where we can do more.”
Rep. Tilley began his tenure as House Judiciary Chairman in January, and has been serving Christian and Trigg counties in the House since 2007.
Governor Steve Beshear is scheduled to be the keynote Speaker. Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo & State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach are also scheduled to attend.
Tickets are $27.00 per person if paid by June 15th. ($35.00 per person after June 15th). A table may be sponsored for $25.00. Sponsors and donors to the Silent Aution will be recongnized in the program.
For reservations or further information.
Kathy Jo Stuffblefield, 3100 Scott Fitts Road, Murray, KY 42071
270-753-3187 or cell 270-559-3625
Dottie Lyons, 1401 Johnson Blvd.,Murray, KY 42071
270-753-6351 or cell 270-832-1677