Apparently there was a campaign this past Sunday for pastors to explicitly endorse a candidate in this presidential election. According to the Daily Beast, hundreds of sermons were to have been mailed to the IRS in a direct challenge to the law that prohibits tax-exempt organizations from endorsing candidates.
The IRS doesn’t intend to do anything, and it’s not hard to imagine why: enforcing this law would give the Religious Right the persecution scenario that it’s been preaching about for years.
We hear it on a regular basis: this Supreme Court ruling will mean less freedom for Christians. Four years ago, Focus on the Family wrote a “letter from the future” outlining all the horrors that would happen to Christians if Barack Obama were elected president. And how many times have you been told some story about a pastor in Canada who was supposedly arrested for opposing gay marriage (and how many times have you ever actually seen proof that this happened)?
If there’s anything the Religious Right does best, it’s pretending that it’s under direct attack by its government and society on a 24-7 basis, in spite of its success in getting laws passed that reflect its values. One example: North Carolina, which passed the anti-gay-marriage Amendment One in May with more than 60 percent of the vote. The Right lives in a fantasy world. It exists in a predominantly Christian nation and has tremendous pull with a major political party–and yet it believes that it is the minority, the holder of persecuted values, the marginalized defender of a truth that you could possibly be arrested for believing.
These organizations see it as their duty to protect Christians. The skeptical side of me sees it as an attempt to stay relevant, as it’s hard to fathom why the existence of all these groups would be necessary in a culture in which things are pretty good for the Christians. These groups like to picture themselves as the modern-day version of Paul Revere, looking for the first sign of liberals on the horizon.
I’m glad the IRS isn’t doing much more in response to this campaign. It’d only lead to a bunch of fear-mongering headlines on Fox News and a slew of e-mail campaigns by “Christian” organizations claiming that the persecution they’ve been talking about for so long is finally coming to pass.