Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ron Paul says churches 'should be able to say anything they want'

Philadelphia ( – GOP presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) confirmed with on Sunday, April 22 that a factor in wanting to eventually end the Internal Revenue Service is to also eliminate the conditions that come with churches having 501(c)(3) status.

A 501(c)(3) organization, often called a charitable organization, is prohibited from engaging in meaningful political activities such as political campaigns.

The ban came about in 1954 when Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson’s (D-Texas) amendment to prohibit 501 (c)(3) organizations from engaging in political campaign activity was approved by congress. In 1987, the ban was strengthened when Congress amended the language to prohibit charitable organizations from making statements opposing candidates.

After a campaign rally in Philadelphia, asked: “Would it be accurate to say that one of the reasons why you would eliminate the IRS is to eliminate the conditions that come with 501c3 status with churches so churches can speak out?”

Paul said: “Oh yea. That is absolutely right that is the case. I had a minister tell me the other day that he was being audited.”

He continued: “The church was being audited. And they informed him that they would be listening to what they were saying as well to make sure that they didn’t say anything political. They should be able to say anything they want other than slandering and that sort of thing.”

Paul invoked the first amendment and added that it should "apply to religious liberty or intellectual liberty, the whole works."

When asked by what he would do to spread religious liberty in the United States, Paul said that he had no program to “spread” religious liberty at home, but would protect religious liberty in his administration.

“We would guarantee it and protect it like the constitution [says],” Paul said. “Enforce the first amendment. Government should do nothing or say nothing about spreading liberty.”

Paul added that religious liberty and economic liberty are “one in the same.”

“It should be all one unit,” Paul said.

He clarified that if an individual's right to his life and liberty are protected, religious liberty would always be protected.

On March 28, Paul told after a campaign rally at the University of Maryland that he would do “very little” championing of religious freedom abroad other than trying to set an example in the United States.

“We frequently, you know, abuse civil liberties here and we don’t treat our people - we put people in prison and shouldn’t be - for political reasons and different things and then we go over and we preach to other countries,” Paul said.

“I don’t think that’s good. I would set the example here. And urge them. But I don’t feel like I have the authority to use funds or people’s lives here in this country to go and tell other people what to do,” he continued.

Paul said he thinks more is achieved through persuasion than by "forcing yourself on another country." 

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