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NVN Op-Ed missed the point of Pastor Adams’ IRS violation –
This is NOT a Freedom of Speech issue

Nisqually Valley News Editor Michael Wagar totally missed the point by changing the subject in his Opinion piece: “Free-Flow of Ideas Is at the Heart of Our Freedoms.”
This is not a Freedom of Speech issue!

– Local church minister crossed-the-line in political endorsement column
Pastor Adams can say whatever he wants, as I told the reporter who quoted me in the front-page story. What Adams cannot do is use his 501(c)(3) organization’s name and religious column to promote a political candidate. That violates IRS rules. Adams’ church wants 501(c)(3) status to receive tax-deductible donations from his parishioners. That comes with a price and a responsibility, and has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

IRS Revenue Ruling 2007-41 provides clear guidelines in Pastor Adams case:
“Key factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
• Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office;
• Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval for one or more candidates’ positions and/or actions;
• Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election;
• Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election;
• Whether the issue addressed in the communication has been raised as an issue distinguishing candidates for a given office;

A communication is particularly at risk of political campaign intervention when it makes reference to candidates or voting in a specific upcoming election.”
Read more

– The key point of Pastor Adams’ violation:
Pastor Adams writes a regular column in the Religious section, as does another minister. Both identify themselves from their respective churches. These columns convey the impression they are not only speaking as an individual, rather as a church spokesperson, and their comments reflect church policy. Pastor Adams is clearly identified from Paramount Christian Church. If Adams left his church and the NVN column continued under another minister, that is still the church’s column, not Adams’ personal piece.

– Bottom line:
Pastor Adams crossed-the-line by endorsing political candidates in his NVN column October 20, 2016.
This is not a Freedom of Speech issue!

Posted by Steve on November 18, 2016 at 7:25 am | Permalink

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