By Hal Lindsey
The Hal Lindsey Report
On Sunday, October 7, more than 1,500 pastors across America defied the US government.
No embassy walls were toppled or flags torn down and burned. No property was damaged and no one was wounded or killed. No troops were called up to restore order.
Yet these pastors openly—and some might say brazenly—defied the government of the United States.
Pulpit Freedom Sunday
To be accurate, they defied the Internal Revenue Service, which is an arm of the US government. More specifically, they defied an obscure and flawed amendment added to the federal tax code in 1954. This amendment—promoted by and named for then-Texas Senator Lyndon B. Johnson—declares that an organization that holds 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status "may not participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office."
Since then, atheist organizations and Left-leaning politicians have used the Johnson amendment to selectively intimidate churches, pastors, and ministries into silence on moral and cultural issues that might have any remotely political connection.
In recent years, the atheist group "Americans United for Separation of Church and State" has sent thousands of letters to churches warning them against engaging in "partisan politicking." The letters invoke the specter of the IRS swooping down on the church to revoke its tax-exempt status and, by implication, forcing it to close its doors.
The reality is that in almost 60 years since the insertion of that amendment to the federal tax code, not one church has had its tax-exempt status revoked for "partisan politicking." Yet the Left has used this threat to bludgeon the leaders of an estimated 350,000 congregations into silence on vital moral, cultural, financial, spiritual, and social issues that might be decided at the ballot box.
That's why more than 1,500 pastors participated in the third "Pulpit Freedom Sunday." They preached sermons that dealt directly with issues that will be determined in the next election. They also named candidates, discussed their views on these issues, and made specific recommendations to their congregations about who they should vote for in order to uphold the values of the Bible, the church, and most Americans.
The pastors videotaped or made audio recordings of their messages, then sent them directly to the Internal Revenue Service. This relieved the critics and enemies of the church of the need to send 'spies' to the church to make clandestine recordings and then write letters of complaint to the IRS.
The goal of "Alliance Defending Freedom," the organizers of "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," is to force the hand of the IRS and make it enforce the Johnson Amendment. That will then allow them to bring the case to court and let the courts decide if it is constitutional—which, in my humble opinion, it, most definitely, is not!
Though the constitutionality of the Johnson Amendment has never been tested, for six decades it has been the Left's most reliable weapon for silencing God's voice in the public square. Those who are now defying them firmly believe that it should be the pastor who determines what is preached from the pulpit, not the IRS.
Folks, this is why "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" is so important: As Americans, we believe that freedom of speech is a sacred right. The Declaration of Independence is clear and specific in acknowledging that our inalienable rights do not come from government. It deliberately says that our rights come from God and so they are beyond the reach of government.
That is part of the reason for the Liberals' assault on God in the public square and their near-berserk reaction to any suggestion that America was founded as a Christian country. If God is a myth, then our God-given rights are a myth, too. For how can rights be given or guaranteed by a myth?
The underlying goal is to remove God from our public consciousness by removing the right of His people to speak for Him. To be more specific, they actually want to remove our nation's conscience by silencing the voices of that conscience.
The Apostle Paul wrote that in the last days a strong delusion will overtake the world that will facilitate the rise of the Antichrist. I believe the conditioning process for this strong delusion is well underway.
Revelation 13 also speaks of a marriage between the religious order and the government during the Tribulation. It would seem logical to me that this union must begin by the government being able to dictate what religious leaders can and cannot say. Sound familiar? In fact, Bible prophecy about the politics of the last days is becoming eerily similar to the politics of OUR day, wouldn't you say?
Could the Iranians Surprise Us Again?
Now, lest you think this is the only thing I discuss on this week's "Hal Lindsey Report," rest assured, it's not.
I'll also report on the unmanned drone that the Israeli Air Force shot down over Israel last week. Coincidentally, that Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), was essentially a copy of the RQ-170. Remember the RQ-170? That's the super-advanced, and highly secret, United States UAV that Iran was mysteriously able to commandeer and capture after it flew into Iranian airspace last December.
At the time, the administration's spinmeisters assured us that the RQ-170 was much too advanced to be of any use to Iran. In fact, one analyst said that losing the RQ-170 to Iran was a bit like "dropping a Ferrari into an oxcart culture."
Well, apparently the bumpkins didn't try to hitch an ox to it! Taking a cue from their friends the Russians and Chinese (who paid dearly to get a look at the technology), they reverse-engineered it and now they (or their proxy, Hezbollah) are flying it over Israel to get a closer look.
This apparent miscalculation by some of our defense and intelligence communities' experts makes me a little nervous about some of their other evaluations. For instance, last week The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) released a report that estimates that Iran will produce enough weapons-grade uranium to arm a nuclear weapon in the next "two to four months." That's 120 days!
But the report drew a "clear distinction" between Tehran's ability to actually produce a viable warhead and its ability to make the fissile core of a warhead by producing 55 pounds of weapons-grade uranium from its large lesser-enriched stockpiles.
Isn't that sort of like assuming that if one drops "a Ferrari into an oxcart culture," the bumpkins will try to hitch an ox to it? The Iranians proved the administration's experts wrong on that assumption, didn't they! So why should we think they will not surprise us again with how quickly they can produce a working nuclear missile?
On the other hand, that may be why the United States, NATO, and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council just completed the largest naval exercise ever conducted in the Persian Gulf. They were demonstrating our mine-sweeping prowess and how quickly we can take command of the Strait of Hormuz if Iran decides to try and close it.
And there's even more on this week's show, including Iran in the Sinai and the widening conflict between Syria and Turkey.
But, most importantly, this week I'm going to discuss one of the most wonderful and moving passages in all of God's Word—the two views of humanity expressed by the two violent thieves who hung on the crosses beside our Lord Jesus Christ.
If you have ever wondered if there is hope for you; if you have ever thought you were too far gone to find your way home; if you have ever despaired that you could never clean up your life enough to be accepted by Jesus, you MUST hear this touching story. You will find hope for your life and your future. You'll see how easy it is to become a part of God's forever family... today!
- Do we need to protect religious freedom in the pulpit? • OneNewsNow.com (Karen Gushta)
- IDF on guard for Iranian-Hizballah drones from Palestinian Gaza • DEBKAfile
- Khamenei threatens Iran’s enemies, as Western powers plan new diplomatic push • Times of Israel
- Government Can’t Require Churches to Abandon Constitutional Freedoms • Townhall.com (Erik Stanley)
- Hezbollah confirms drone program • UPI