Free Speech Fairness Act: Giving Christians a Voice in the Public Square

For far too long American culture and media elites have hogged the public square, the bully pulpit, and relegated people of faith — to be more precise CONSERVATIVE people of faith, most notably evangelicals — to the back of the societal bus.

Wholesale ignorance or deliberate ignoring of the Founders, whose stalwart biblical faith inspired their writings of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, has silenced the same biblical faith of modern day Americans.

Progressives gagged Christians BY DESIGN. As noted by President John Adams in a letter to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts:

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Why is our U.S. Constitution inadequate to the government of any but a moral and religious people?

President Adams, the son of a Congregationalist deacon, knew full well that a Constitutional Republic was wholly dependent upon citizens who embraced inward moral constraints which tempered their behavior. Moral constraints informed by such passages of scripture:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:18
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

The Progressive “Utopia,” however, depends upon certain “enlightened” people to reign over the citizenry, mandating their thoughts and actions with an intrusive government. Without inward moral constraints, outward constraint of “The State” becomes imperative. To The Left, government IS their religion and true biblical faith the enemy.

President Lyndon Johnson administered a steroid shot to big government with his infamous “Johnson Amendment.” Family Research Council defines the Johnson Amendment:

The Johnson Amendment is a tax provision that prevents 501(c)(3) organizations from participating in political campaigns on behalf of, or in opposition to, a candidate for public office. The Johnson Amendment is an unconstitutional restraint on free speech, and is a tool the IRS uses to threaten and censor the First Amendment free speech rights of churches, charities, and their leaders. The Johnson Amendment was passed in 1954 and since then, has caused great confusion and concern regarding what tax exempt organizations and their leaders may say about moral issues and political candidates, partly because of the IRS’s inconsistent enforcement of the law.

. . .

… organizations like Americans United for Separation of Church and State use the Johnson Amendment as a tool for threatening churches into self-censoring regarding political issues. During election seasons, these organizations send churches letters threatening to report the churches to the IRS if they make certain types of statements about political candidates, in the hopes that these churches would be silenced on political issues from fear of an IRS investigation or audit.

Thankfully, with a Republican president, and Republican majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, a remedy to the Johnson Amendment is at hand. The FRC explains the intent of the Free Speech Fairness Act (FSFA):

The Fairness Act would restore free speech to churches, charities, and their leaders who, since the Johnson Amendment’s passage, have effectively been silenced because of their charitable nature. The Fairness Act amends the Johnson Amendment to allow for political activity that is 1) made in the ordinary course of the 501(c)(3) organization’s regular and customary activities, so long as the activities carry out the organization’s tax exempt purpose, and 2) so long as the organization does not incur more than de minimis incremental costs.

The Free Speech Fairness Act could conceivably roll back the missteps of our government which transgressed the First Amendment rights of citizens, even if those citizens happened to be pastors. And FSFA is a vivid example of something I wrote in a book review a few years ago:

Read his insight on page 132:

“The most powerful people in history hold the stage for at most fifty years. The revolutionaries of the last century–Lenin, Stalin, Mao–all are almost totally eclipsed already if we measure their influence today.

By contrast, C.S. Lewis–a quiet academic and writer of children’s books–is everywhere read and still being felt. But even Lewis’ earthly achievements may pale in comparison with the influence of a missionary to a remote tribe who provides the occasion for a single conversion that leads to more conversions, which in turn reverberate through human time. This is the simple act of infinity at work.”

Hugh makes it clear: influence in the world is necessary and valuable and important. But the real importance of worldly influence is to effect and maintain liberties that allow the most important work of all: the work that touches souls with the gospel, the work that secures a person’s eternal destination.

The worldly influence of our legislators, if they pass the Free Speech Fairness Act, might just nullify the Johnson Amendment and unleash the power of the pulpit to feed and foster a “a moral and religious people.”

Of course there will be resistance: The Left will be furious at the idea of relinquishing power and anything that would thwart their goals of totalitarian rule. Progressives will fight this, in the words of Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer, “tooth and nail.”

Americans should contact their U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives* and urge them to pass FSFA now!

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