Tag Archives | churches

IRS Sued For Not Enforcing Ban On Political Endorsements By Churches

Religious institutions should have had their tax-exempt status, which is contingent on not telling congregants how to vote, stripped a long time ago. This court case is largely symbolic, but hopefully it awakens discussion on this issue. The Freedom From Religion Foundation announces its legal action against the IRS:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is taking the Internal Revenue Service to court over its failure to enforce electioneering restrictions against churches and religious organizations, calling it a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and of FFRF’s equal protection rights. FFRF filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

A widely circulated Bloomberg news article quoted Russell Renwicks, with the IRS’ Tax-Exempt and Government Entities division, saying the IRS has suspended tax audits of churches. Other sources claim the IRS hasn’t been auditing churches since 2009.

As many as 1,500 clergy reportedly violated the electioneering restrictions on Sunday, Oct.

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Megachurches Are ‘Like A Drug’

Medical News Today discusses a study attempting to qualify the infectious appeal of megachurches. Is it me, or does this sound like a description of a cult?

Megachurches, or churches with 2,000 or more congregants, have grown in number, size, and popularity in recent years, coming to virtually dominate the American religious landscape. More than half of all American churchgoers now attend the largest 10 percent of churches.

Megachurch services feature a come-as-you-are atmosphere, rock music, and what Wellman calls a “multisensory mélange” of visuals and other elements to stimulate the senses, as well as small-group participation and a shared focus on the message from a charismatic pastor.

As part of their study, Wellman, Corcoran, and Stockly-Meyerdirk analyzed 470 interviews and about 16,000 surveys on megachurch members’ emotional experiences with their churches. Four themes emerged: salvation/spirituality, acceptance/belonging, admiration for and guidance from the leader, and morality and purpose through service.

Many participants used the word “contagious” to describe the feeling of a megachurch service where members arrive hungry for emotional experiences and leave energized.

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Churches Made Of Human Bones

Inhabitat takes a tour of Europe’s historic churches built out of bones, including Poland’s Czermna Chapel below. Why was this a recurring trend? Either because clergy and architects imagined that vast, towering walls comprised of human remains would put people in the right humble mindset, or they simply were short on building materials yet had loads of human skulls handy.

Bodies from victims of the Thirty Years’ War and the Silesian Wars adorn the Czermna Chapel in Poland. Built in 1176 by a local priest, bones surround visitors on the walls, and stretching in skull and crossbones over the ceiling- only they are real bones and not pirate décor. Builders of the chapel are especially honored- their skills can be found in the center of the chapel and placed on the altar.

Czermna_-_Chapel_of_Skulls

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