Politics redux

Reader Charles Brady chimes in with a note about politics and the law that’s worth promoting to the main page.

Many of the artist in southern gospel have their ministries set up as 501(c)(3). I think if the politics continue as they have in the past it will only be a matter of “when” and not “if” the IRS lowers the boom on these ministries. Here is the guidence taken directly from the IRS web site if anyone questions rather the practice is not allowed. (Not to mention “unwanted” by most fans.)


Can a tax-exempt organization endorse candidates for public office?

The type of tax exemption determines whether an organization may endorse candidates for public office. For example, a section 501(c)(3) organization may not publish or distribute printed statements or make oral statements on behalf of, or in opposition to, a candidate for public office. Consequently, a written or oral endorsement of a candidate is strictly forbidden. The rating of candidates, even on a nonpartisan basis, is also prohibited.


(With that said I am not operating as a non-profit but I still hold my tongue when it comes to my personal political views. My son is the only one who knows where I keep my “Never Trust A Talking Bush Unless It’s On Fire” T-shirt”.) (c)Charles Brady-CMG-2006

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  1. BGC wrote:

    It is perfectly legal no matter profit or not to list a canidates name and what he or she stands for and against as well as all canidates running for a certain office; Just as you have cleverly stated your opposition to our current commander in chief. It’s a real blessing that each person only gets one vote, unless you are liberal, “vote liberal and vote often”! Instead of taking the easy way out and being critical, be Christian and pray for leaders.

  2. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    The recent deceased pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church had IRS lowers the boom on his political thing a few years ago.
    He learned his lesson well. Also, many other evangelical leader learn the lesson.
    You will find the preacher having his service in the sanctuary. The end of the broadcast will find the preacher in entire different and less formal setting doing what some of the SG artists do on stage.
    The situation gets fuzzy when you get into Bible teachings and interpretations or informing or educating the faithful without using an action word relative to the polling place.
    Maybe some who wish to further their political agendas would do better setting up their own “PERSONAL” website to accomplish their own goals.
    It is all ready being done by some and it is well in the context of the federal laws.

  3. bp wrote:

    So, was the original post directed toward vocalists/musicians that express their opinions toward specific politicians or toward specific issues that are mentioned from the stage? The poll question is fairly vague because it is worded “political talk”.

    If artists see their place as trying to influence the culture (inside and outside of the church), then how could they not stir up some “political talk” from time to time when we sing about a God that is sovereign and a Savior that has been given all authority in Heaven and on Earth because of his defeat of sin and death?

    Biblically, I can’t see the separation of church and state. I’m not calling for a theocracy, but God does have something to say about government. Check out the books of 1 and 2 Peter for example. Now, if the government asks me to stay away from endorsing candidates, fine. But, I don’t understand why that would keep me, as a Christian, from trying to persuade people (especially Christians) to remember that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God in all things (and that definitely includes the voting booth). It seems that if we are to salt and light, then followers of Christ are to work toward redeeming the culture as much as possible.

    If anything, Christians should be the most educated when it comes to stem cell research, cloning, infertility technology, abortion, illegal immigration, war, terrorism, etc., so that we may help lead in the discussion as we look through the lens of Scripture and speak intelligently about these issues.

  4. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    Wait a minute…I have personally searched the business listings in Southern Gospel states, and found that almost every major quartet is registered as a corporation with their state.

  5. RR wrote:

    Charles Brady said:

    . . . I am not operating as a non-profit but I still hold my tongue when it comes to my personal political views. My son is the only one who knows where I keep my “Never Trust A Talking Bush Unless It’s On Fire” T-shirt”

    Charles, you may hold your tongue, but your penmanship has announced a lot to the many, many people who visit this forum! :0)

  6. Chuck Sims wrote:

    Good for you Charles! I think that it’s areal misnomer to call an SG group “non-profit.” Not to mention illegal. Just collect and pay the state sales tax and do what’s right with the IRS. We (as Christians) should obey the law, not try to find all the loop holes!

  7. Rhonda Berry wrote:

    Chuck Sims,
    I understand what you mean about the non-profit status being used as a loophole, but do not say that any group who does this is using one. I know several groups that do not use the non-profit status, several who do not use any of it, and several who use the non-profit. One in particular is very careful about following ALL of the laws concerning non-profits, including the political law, and it is not a loophole to them. They pay expenses out of what they make and as with any business it is feast or famine at times. The person who keeps the books is VERY emphatic about having a receipt for every dollar spent, and checks with the attorneys they have on retainer if there is a question. Setting up a non-profit is not easy. There are a lot of hoops to jump through to prove that and it isn’t cheap either.
    The group that I am referring to did it because one member of the group was having to pay self-employment tax on the money they were getting and since he (nor any of them) get a dime of the money then it was causing a financial burden.
    Are there people willing to spend the money and jump through the hoops to avoid the taxes? I am sure there are, but the ones I have met aren’t doing it for that reason, they are just trying to ensure that one person isn’t paying income tax on money that no one is making a profit on.
    Please don’t paint with a broad brush or make assumptions without knowing all the facts.

  8. Charles Brady wrote:

    I am very much a conservative. But does being a conservative negate my rights to express my profound displeasure in those I helped elect to office when I was persuaded and pressured (from the pulpit & by email & on stage from southern gospel artists) to believe that a vote any other way would lead to continued abortions and the continued expansion of gay rights? They had 4 years of being the majority! What did they do during those 4 years? I watched closely and carefully and even took the time to write to them. Reminding them of why they got my vote.

    So please forgive this “frustrated republican” who from time to time has “maniacal liberal tendencies” to want to see legislation passed that would put a shelter over the heads of our war veterans who came home from the battlefields psychologically damaged because they had to watch in horror as their buddies were blown apart on the battlefields.

    Forgive this “frustrated republican” who from time to time has “maniacal liberal tendencies” to want to see legislation passed that would put food in the stomachs of hungry children whose parents are strung out on drugs and have no choice and no hope because during the four years that my own republican party held the white house & both the house and the senate more time was devoted to passing needed legislation like “granting tax breaks to oil companies and large corporations” and passing “bankruptcy legislation” that guarantees those folks in New Orleans or those who have been financially devastated by a broken health care system will never have the chance at a fresh start.

    Forgive this “frustrated republican” who from time to time has “maniacal liberal tendencies” because he is sick and tired of his party playing the morality card and then doing nothing to promote morality in the four years they had complete control of things.

    Forgive this “frustrated republican” who from time to time has “maniacal liberal tendencies” because I believe that it is Christianity and the virtues of Christ that should be preached in the pulpits of America’s Churches and not the worthless political spin lines that prove to be nothing more than lies and political fairy tales that try to influence my own political decision making process (which thank you very much I can make my own mind up.)

    FYI- I pray everyday for our commander in chief.

    I pray that he will clean up his language & that his heart will be turned to those who need shelter & health care & education & I pray that the murdering of babies in the mothers womb will end and that the rights to the free exercise of our faith and values will not be restricted and that God’s Word will be preached again in the pulpits of America instead of political campaign messages that mean and do absolutely nothing.

    The facts are that politicians are not going to change anything except your minds around election time. They are much too busy having lunch with those who are working hard devising ways to rob the peoples treasury and hand it over to corporate thugs and thieves. “Robin Hood” I am afraid has been replaced by corporate interests “Robbin the Hood.” And it’s real clear to see who the takers and the givers are. I head last night that my own state of NC has handed out over 400 million dollars in “Incentives.” Guess where that money came from? Guess where that money went? (Ever heard of companies like Dell Computers?)

    So now you really have something to talk about. Have fun. Go at it. But don’t be so quick to take a single line and try to label me before you know my whole story. I’m far more complex and diverse than a one-liner!

  9. CG wrote:

    Umm, Charles Brady, I believe “they” actually had “total control” for six years, not just “four”.

    From one frustrated (and disappointed) Republican to another, you made some great points.

  10. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    Mr. Brady,
    Come to my state of Massachusetts.
    I be happy to run your campaign based on your burning bush statement.
    One thing you would have to learn before take the plunge.
    We need to refine your communications into a sound bite format.
    We might not win because you have an “R”
    in your party status but we sure can have alot of fun selling the red burning bushes shown in image:
    Got you all confused, that’s politics.

  11. RF wrote:

    Preach it, Charles.

    No one would ever call me “conservative” or “liberal”. I’m one of those lukewarm moderates. But you spake the truth in your dissertation.

    It’s high time that Christians remember that politics is politics. Beware and always recall that the objective is getting elected. Actions speak louder than words. And undying love to words is not exactly the same thing as getting anything done.

  12. BGC wrote:

    Politics may be Politics but it is the right and duty of a Christian to stand up for what is right and what is wrong. You don’t have to say “I endorse XYZ” to get the point across. Speakers, Groups, and preachers are getting the message across by simply stating XYZ stands for ” ” and against ” “.

    Sad to say that choosing canidates today is choosing the lesser evil of the evils running.

    Charles, Did not mean to offend or “label”, It is just I know what could have been, some of the things that have been found and could have been used. Just tired or seeing so much “Christian” energy (Not anyone here) used to spin our own wheels rather than to move the cart. (Keep up the great work at your site)

  13. Mary wrote:

    Find Isaiah 2:22 in your Bible
    Bottom line- A politician is a human.
    Humans are sinners.
    Sinners will always dissapoint people who others.
    Being partisan usually dosen’t work out.
    True, often one’s vote goes for the lesser of two evils, so what I want to know is when will we see a “Christian” party giving us candidates who are Biblically solid servants of the Lord?
    It’d be great, but such may not work in today’s America

  14. JP wrote:

    The problem with “sound bite” politics, or theology, for that matter is the lack of context.
    Most people will not stop you to talk about your T-shirt, but will walk on by with one of two reactions — “wow, they must think just like I do” or “what an idiot”.
    Charles, I’m glad you were able to respond with all of your explanation, but if I had walked by you in the mall and you were wearing that shirt, I would not have thought that you think just like me.

  15. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    Winning souls for Christ and getting a vote for a candidate for most people is done by keeping it short and simple.
    It is really the case today in this fast-paced society we live in America.

    Explanations is the next step for people that have more time and willing to read.

    Have a question:
    Who created the sound bites?
    Candidates or the news media!

    By the way, Charles Brady is right on track in what he posted.
    He must have the biggest website in southern gospel music.

  16. SPD wrote:

    Why is it that evangelical leaders can get in trouble for endorsing conservative candidates yet the most well known social leftists’ in America ie; Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Sharpton and on and on can go to an inner city church some where, be endorsed by the pastor, have a clear political agenda, and be paid to be there and know one bats an eye?????? I understand the law, it’s just that it only seems to be one sided!

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