Many of you may wonder around election time about those rules that do not allow churches to endorse any political candidate. I think I can speak for most when I say we all take this for granted as a reality. I myself was listening to my pastor’s homily this Sunday when he addressed political issues and needed to speak in very vague terms when it came to names, due to this regulation, and didn’t think twice about why he couldn’t. I just accepted it.
But where does this all come from, and why is it like this?
It goes back to the senatorial days of Lyndon Johnson. While there in the senate, he proposed an amendment to the IRS code stating that non-profits could not “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing ofstatements), any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”
But here’s the hidden back story you might not find when you do your own research: Johnson proposed that amendment shortly after his election to senate in 1954. After that election, he realized where his strongest opposition was: from non-profits, including some churches. In a selfish and self-serving move, he realized that he could do much better in elections and in politics if he could quiet them. So that’s exactly what he did: he proposed the amendment, and with minimal analysis or debate, it passed. And here we are today, with hands tied when we try to talk about direct morality.
We have all accepted this, but step back, and you’ll see this is the first step of the government’s intrusion into our churches. By stopping churches from speaking openly on political matters, and on the direct morality of each candidate, they have tied our hands in a big way, bigger than we realize. Think of how much harder it would have been for the anointed one to get elected in ’08 had every Catholic priest (or even 75% of them) been preaching the truth to their congregations, namely, clearly stating that voting for him is a grave sin. But we’ve accepted this as a normal part of every day life.
In the face of this more recent and more grave attack on religious liberty, we must always keep in mind what has happened before, and never let our perseverance die down in the face of trials. We must not allow ourselves to be trampled on.
It won’t be easy. Being a Christian never was supposed to be easy. For the sake of my generation, and my children and grandchildren, stay strong in the fight.
Viva Cristo Rey! Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!