Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Right to Free Speech

It’s Not Free Anymore?

Many of our readers may be familiar with the faith-based website, Catholic Answers. Catholic Answers provides a plethora of information regarding the Catholic faith to both Catholics and non-Catholics alike. During the 2004 election, Mr. Karl Keating, President of Catholic Answers in one of his E-Letters stated that because of Senator John Kerry’s unchanging position on the issue of abortion, he should be denied Holy Communion. The Internal Revenue Service says he should not have said it.

From our point of view, it was Mr. Keating’s right to state his opinion. In giving this opinion, Mr. Keating merely restated the same opinion as many bishops have, that no politician who calls themselves a Catholic should be given Holy Communion if he or she supports abortion or votes for measures that include support for abortion. The teaching of the Church from the time of the Apostles until the present day opposes abortion and that receiving an abortion, encouraging or aiding the procuring of an abortion is a mortal sin. Nowhere did Mr. Keating state or imply that Catholic’s should not vote for Senator Kerry. Whether or not to cast one’s vote for Mr. Kerry was nowhere to be found in the statement. He was merely stating his opinion.

Many of us had already decided for ourselves as to whether or not we would vote for Mr. Kerry. Those decisions were made because of his abortion stance, and because of other pertinent issues related to that election. We voted our consciences… our beliefs… our moral convictions… not because someone told us for whom we should or should not vote.

Except to the Internal Revenue Service. The I.R.S. decided that the statement was grounds for removing the tax-exempt status of “Catholic Answers”. They said the statement was “intervening” in the election. The I.R.S. evidently feels that a statement made against the position of an office seeker’s stance, is the same as telling people whom they should or should not cast their vote. Especially if you are a pro-life, tax-exempt organization with a religious outlook, the I.R.S. feels that you should remain deafeningly silent. So the I.R.S. slapped Catholic Answers with taxes and fines.

On April 3, 2009, Catholic Answers filed suit in federal court against the Internal Revenue Service for violating their right to free speech. You can read a more in-depth article about this at Catholic Answers at this web link:

They also have an area there where you can donate to their legal battle if you are so inclined.


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