State Controlled Churches: the 501(c)(3) Deception
Churches and religious organizations that accept governmental authorization for financial gain, for permission to assemble, etc., are then controlled by the state. They invariably become tools of the government, carrying out the agenda of the rulers and spreading state propaganda. Church members themselves often demand their church obtain state recognition in order for their tithes and offerings to be deductible from their personal income tax reports.
|The classification 501(c)(3) is a tax exempt status for religious or charitable organizations in the United States. While this article repeatedly refers to this particular classification, the warning crosses international boundaries. Any religious organization that is recognized as such by the national government comes under the control of the government. It is then an arm of the state and must comply with state policy or lose desired recognition.
In August, 2007, KSLA News 12 out of Shreveport, Louisiana, reported on a shocking new tactic used by the United States government in its ongoing destruction of the U.S. Constitution. It was reported that the government had begun training pastors and religious leaders to influence the populace to comply with government demands, stating “KSLA News 12 has discovered that [in the event of a disaster] the clergy would help the government with potentially their biggest problem: Us.”1
The United States was founded with the deliberate intent of having a country without a king and ensuring the freedom to a church without a pope. Consequently, the “separation of church and state” has long been a governing principle of laws and policies within the U.S. It is extremely portentous for the government to reach out to religious leaders in an attempt to control the citizenry. Revelation 13 (click on shaded area to go to our study on this subject.) warns of a despotic power that would seek to enforce its own agenda over the entire world. “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond to receive a mark in their right or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of name” (Revelation 13:15-17).
It is deeply concerning that the U.S. government is already preparing to use clergy to control the populace. Dr. Durell Tuberville is the chaplain for both the Shreveport Fire Department and the Caddo Sheriff’s Office. When asked how clergy from differing denominations would work together for the government in times of crisis, Tuberville said: “The primary thing that we say to anybody is, ‘let’s cooperate and get this thing over with and then we’ll settle the differences once the crisis is over’.”2 Such emphasis on interdenominational uniformity and conformity to a government agenda is a danger to individual churches that often have theological beliefs that are very contradictory to morally liberal laws and corrupt politics.
People naturally look up to their religious leaders. It is deeply engrained in congregants to trust their pastor, priest, or rabbi. Churches have always placed a high value on their unique, distinctive beliefs. It is a primary cause for why so many thousands of denominations exist within Christianity. But when religious leaders start promoting government agendas, differences are deliberately glossed over. Conformity, even at the cost of truth, becomes more important than religious individuality. The argument religious leaders are told to present to their congregations, is based on incorrect understanding of Romans 13: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which Elohim has established. The authorities that exist have been established by Elohim” (Romans 13:1, New International Version).3 According to Dave Hodges of The Common Sense Show, “an estimated 28,000 pastors were recruited by FEMA/DHS, as part of the Clergy Response Team, and . . . their initial and primary training was to tell their flock to obey the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) version of Romans 13.”4 This incorrect understanding of Romans 13 silences pastors on important issues by arguing that because Yahuwah Elohim appointed the government, everything the government says or does should be obeyed or supported.
The once separate churches of the United States have become joined to the government. They can now be forced to spread government propaganda – even that which conflicts with their denomination’s moral standards. In October, 2014, the city of Houston, Texas obtained court orders against five pastors who had encouraged their church members to take political action against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. This legislation granted civil protection to homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender citizens. The court orders were extremely broad. They demanded all sermons, speeches, and correspondence (including private text messages) dealing with legislation, the petition against it, homosexuality and gender issues and the Mayor, Annise Parker, be turned over to the authorities. These orders included not just material presented by the pastors, but included anything revised or approved by them or even in their possession.5
FOX News reporter, Todd Starnes, observed there was brewing a “war over religious liberty in Houston, Texas.”6 In the same report, Starnes shared a comment posted by Mayor Parker on Twitter in which she declared that if the pastors preached on political topics, the city had every right to demand the release of all requested materials.
As horrifying as this sounds, Mayor Parker was correct, if these pastors worked for churches that were incorporated as 501(c)(3) entities, which most churches are in the United States. The once great principle of “separation of church and state” has been destroyed. True religious liberty has been destroyed by one thing: money.
Money is power. Yahushua recognized this when He stated: “No man can serve two masters: for either he shall hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve Elohim and mammon” (Matthew 6:24, emphasis added).
Churches have been beguiled and seduced into voluntary submitting to government control. In 1954, then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson offered tax exempt status to churches as a “favor.” All they had had to do was fill out a government form, the 501(c)(3) form, declaring their organization to be a church.
It was a Trojan Horse. By law, churches were exempt anyway! The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the agency that collects taxes for the federal government of the United States. One IRS agent, Peter Kershaw wrote: “I am not the only IRS employee who has wondered why churches go to the government and seek permission to be exempted from a tax they did not owe to begin with, and to seek a tax deductible status that they have always had anyway. Many of us have marveled at how church leaders want to be regarded and controlled by an agency of government that most Americans have prayed would just get out of their lives. Churches are in an amazing unique position, but they do not seem to know or appreciate the implications of what it would mean to be free of government control.”7
Tax exempt status has been the tempting lure to seduce churches into voluntary giving the government control over what they can and cannot say. In order to retain their official tax exempt status, churches cannot say certain things about the government or even teach certain things that are in conflict with government policy. If they do, their 501(c)(3) status can be revoked and their members will no longer be able to deduct their tithes and offerings from their personal income taxes. This results in fewer contributions given to the support of the church. Religious organizations that accept licenses or some other form of recognition from the state or, as in the U.S., apply for 501(c)(3) status, willingly place themselves under the jurisdiction of the state. Accepting government recognition or 501(c)(3) status willingly surrenders to the state the right to dictate to the church what it can and cannot preach about.
|Churches who refuse to conform to government requirements have their 501(c)(3) status revoked. Tax exempt status is of vital importance to church leaders because without it, most of their members will no longer give money in support of the church.
An example of this occurred when the Congressional Black Caucus held a conference to give advice to black churches on how to deal with the rise in voter ID laws to aid in voting for Barack Obama, the United States’ first black president. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, President of the Congressional Black Caucus, spoke of the conference, explaining to an MSNBC news reporter: “We’ll have representatives from nine denominations who pastor somewhere in the neighborhood of about 10 million people and we are going to, first of all, equip them with the information they need to know about what they can say and what they cannot say in the church that would violate their 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. In fact, we are going to have the IRS Administrator there, we’re going to have the Attorney General, Eric Holder, there, we’re going to have the lawyers’ organizations from around the country there, the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] – all giving ministers guidance on what they can and cannot do.”8
When a government gives license for anything, implied in that very act is the right of that government to remove the license and withdraw permission for whatever action is covered by that license. The power to bestow grants the power to remove. If a government does give a license for something, it is understood that the individual does not need government permission for that activity and thus, the government does not have any authority in that area. It is wrong for a church to submit their theology or an individual his conscience to the government just to save money.
The Apostle Paul warned against being unequally yoked with unbelievers. “Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord [agreement] hath Messiah with Belial [evil]? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).
A religious organization becomes a corporate entity under the regulation of the government when it accepts 501(c)(3) status or by accepting state recognition as a licensed church. Accepting government recognition allows government intrusion that, invariably, ends up changing the policy of the church or organization accepting such recognition from the government. During the Cold War, church leaders in the Soviet Union and its satellites not only changed their teachings to not be offensive to the government, but also even went so far as to betray fellow Christians to the authorities, nor did this end with the fall of the Iron Curtain. It continues to a greater or lesser degree wherever the state exercises control of the church.
The vast majority of denominational churches, religious organizations and charitable institutions in the United States are actually corporations holding 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. In Amos 3:3, Yahuwah asked, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?’
To submit to government oversight, is to submit to government control.
When a church accepts 501(c)(3) status, that church:
Waives its freedom of speech.
Waives its freedom of religion.
Waives its right to influence legislators and the legislation they craft.
Waives its constitutionally guaranteed rights.
Is no longer free to speak to the vital issues of the day.
Becomes controlled by a spirit of fear that if it does not toe the line with the IRS, It will lose (have revoked) its tax-exempt status.
Becomes a State-Church.
Such churches are no longer under the leadership of Yahuwah, but are under a new master: the State. They take their direction and guidance from the State, not from the Word of Elohim. Lest there be any doubt that the government’s intended purpose is to exert control over the theology of the incorporated churches, one need only consider Bob Jones University vs. United States (461 U.S. 574). In this ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court revealed the government’s intended purpose for the 501(c)(3): “The court asserts that an exempt organization [one that has become a 501(c)(3)] must demonstrably serve and be in harmony with the public interest, must have a purpose that comports with the common community conscience, and must not act in a manner affirmatively at odds with the declared position of the whole Government.”10 Taken together, these passages suggest that the primary function of a tax-exempt organization is to act on behalf of the Government in carrying out government approved policies.
Submission to the State for Monetary Gain
Churches value their official 501(c)(3) status more than the truth as presented in the Scriptures. If there were no other reason, this alone would be sufficient to identify these organizations as synagogues of Satan. Just because a church claims to be a church of Yahushua Messiah, they may not be. This is what Yahushua said in the book of Revelation: “I know the blasphemy of them that say [claim] they are Jews [Christians] and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9). But there is more. When a church incorporates as a 501(c)(3) entity with the government, it agrees to be bound by all the rules and laws governing 501(c)(3) corporations!
A church which has filed a 501(c)(3) application has agreed to forego its Constitutional right to practice religion without government interference.
“A church that has built boundaries around itself by 501(c)(3) rules has consented to diminish [Yahuwah’s] law in favor of private civil law. For example, by agreeing not to speak out and campaign against morally corrupt politicians. They do this in order to ‘enjoy’ an exemption from taxes to which they were immune to in the first place.”11
It should not be assumed, however, that all of the blame lies with a handful of church leaders at the very top of each denomination. Individual church members are as guilty as the leaders because often it is the members themselves that pressure the leaders to incorporate as 501(c)(3) entities. Again, the motivation is purely financial. While churches may technically be tax exempt, the members donations in tithes and offerings cannot be deducted from their personal income tax reports unless they can prove to the satisfaction of the IRS that their charitable donations were given to a legitimate church.
Although there is no requirement to do so, many churches seek recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS because such recognition assures church leaders, members, and contributors that the church is recognized as exempt and qualifies for related tax benefits. For example, contributors to a church that has been recognized as tax-exempt would know that their contributions are tax-deductible.12
Sadly, truth is sacrificed on the altar of personal gain.
“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abomination and filthiness of her fornication” (Revelation 17:4). “Fornication” is the joining together of that which is not lawful by the law of Yahuwah. Religion in bed with the government is fornication. Yahuwah’s people must not be members of any such organizations.
“For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies” (Revelation 18:3). All the nations of the earth have been participating in this illicit relationship of the church with the state governments. Click on the shaded area to go to our study on Revelation 17 and Revelation 18.
3 The NIV version of the passage was quoted here verbatim because this corrupted translation is frequently used to perpetuate an erroneous interpretation of Paul's words.
6 http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/10/14/city-houston-demands-pastors-turn-over-sermons/ Quotes taken from news video. For more information, see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/houston-subpoenas-pastors-sermons-in-gay-rights-ordinance-case/2014/10/15/9b848ff0-549d-11e4-b86d-184ac281388d_story.htmland http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/15/houston-pastor-sermon_n_5992044.html.
7 In Caesar’s Grip, forward.
12 IRS Publication 1828, Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations, page 2, emphasis supplied. http://www.benefitsboard.com/forms/other/irs%20tax%20guide%20pub1828.pdf