On Thursday the Examiner provided an exclusive report indicating that the Obama administration had implemented a covert program beginning in 2009 that was intended to spy on conservative, evangelical Christian churches.
That program involved infiltration — sending in government operatives to join churches for the purpose of data collection. The government snoops would keep their eyes and ears open for criticism of the Obama administration, talk of Tea Party participation, conversations about gun ownership, and a number of other issues.
But a special report issued today by Fox News indicates that the program went far beyond infiltration and snooping. The IRS was used to harass Christian churches if they were identified as places where large numbers of anti-Obama citizens congregated for worship.
The Obama administration, according to the report, considered any public criticism of administration policies to be political in nature and should therefore impact whether or not these congregations were allowed to gain or keep their tax exempt status.
But pastors have long maintained that there are a myriad of areas where political and moral/spiritual issues overlap, and thus, the pastors feel obligated as the guardians of spiritual truth to speak out concerning these issues.
Abortion, for example, is both a political and a spiritual issue. Most conservative, evangelical Christians believe that Biblical principles are abundantly clear concerning the sanctity of human life. And many pastors thus feel constrained by their calling to condemn abortion as a hideous and barbaric assault on the sacredness of human life.
But liberal politicians such as Barack Obama consider the issue to be purely political since it involves civil law and Supreme Court rulings. And thus, churches should not be allowed to speak out about such an issue.
Any church that dares take a position contrary to the Obama administration had best beware. And most churches are small enough that tangling with the IRS for an extended period could potentially lead to the church shutting its doors for the lack of adequate funds.
Read it all here.