I saw this article a few days ago and it hit me kind of funny. Apparently, there is someone in Congress who is floating the idea of the government subsidising newspapers so they can keep printing.
Under this arrangement, newspapers would still be free to report on all issues, including political campaigns. But they would be prohibited from making political endorsements.
Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax exempt, and contributions to support news coverage or operations could be tax deductible.
Because newspaper profits have been falling in recent years, “no substantial loss of federal revenue” was expected under the legislation, Cardin’s office said in a statement.
The restriction from making political endorsements can’t be a big deal really. When was the last time that you heard someone change their vote because a newspaper endorsed a candidate? But the restriction reminds me of the same type of strongarm tactic that the government pulls with churches who might wish to speak out about politics in some ways.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating more culture warfare. But pastors in pulpits should have a right to say whatever they wish, without the government breathing down their necks. I would caution the bigger churches in particular that if the government starts getting desperate for money, they should watch their backs. After all, part of the reason these guys don’t mind giving “tax-exempt” status to newspapers is that they wouldn’t get any money from them anyway according to the article. Can you imagine what they would do if they start contemplating the $$$ that they could bring in from large churches that have built themselves “tax-free” over the last couple of decades? Don’t laugh, they have already flexed their muscle in that direction before and won’t hesitate to do it again.
As a church, we can’t be concerned with running afoul of the IRS as much as we should be concerned with running afoul of the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth in any case. As the writer in Hebrews says,
5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.” 6So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)