What happens in the halls of national government – for better or for worse – can dictate the future course of America. Along with your fellow Prayer Team members, you are to be constantly and fervently interceding for all the men and women who serve in Congress, for your military leaders in the Pentagon, and for the President of the United States, his cabinet and administration.
“Inside Washington” will equip you to do just that … with reports on the nation’s leaders and the decisions they’re considering … or have already made. We’ll examine the implications for the nation, and call you to specific prayer for those needs.
Praying For Righteous Government
New IRS regulations look to curtail corruption
By Dr. Tom Askew
Politics is about power but wise people want it to be regulated. Then, regulators have the power. Because of man’s sin nature, people rebel against power and look for ways to cheat the regulators. Mankind’s “pride of life,” causes each side to point fingers and claim the other side is cheating.
As a result of the curse that “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread,” (Genesis 3:19) everyone knows that there’s no free lunch. It’s because of the realization that no one can do it all individually that there are corporate efforts for national defense and protection of private property. Lacking imaginative alternatives, those things are funded through taxes.
Because humans are created in the image of God, most people are in agreement and support acts of charity and kindness. So these acts – and their donors as well – get tax breaks.
On the playground, to get more power, you shout louder than your opponent. In the adult world, that’s called advertising, and it costs a lot of money to advertise more loudly than those who oppose you.
Some greedy people figured out that they could avoid taxes and grab more power by masking their power grab as a charitable act. Now, because of their deception, innocent charities may suffer. Here’s what’s happening:
Back to adult terminology
The Internal Revenue Service and the Department of the Treasury have launched an effort to prohibit organizations from certain forms of “political activity,” such as running pro-candidate ads, registering voters, and distributing campaign literature in the name of what corporate law calls “educational activities.” The first phase of this effort will consist of gathering information and opinions from organizations who will be most affected by new regulations.
“This proposed guidance is a first critical step toward creating clear-cut definitions of political activity by tax-exempt social welfare organizations,” according to Mark Mazur, treasury assistant secretary for tax policy. “We are committed to getting this right before issuing final guidance that may affect a broad group of organizations.”
This action is drawing even greater scrutiny now because of revelations that IRS enforcers had recently identified and targeted tea party sympathizers as potential abusers of tax-exempt privileges. Nevertheless, it is clear that organizations with those interests are not the only ones that have mixed purposes.
Under current rules, social welfare organizations may conduct some political work as long as it’s not their main activity. The proposed new rules would block these same groups from such things as running ads that “expressly advocate for a clearly identified political candidate or candidates of a political party” as part of their tax-exempt work. The idea behind the new regulations is to simplify the rules of the road going forward, proponents say.
Back to simple, Biblical talk
As explained earlier, a lot of time, energy, and money will now be expended because of sin. There is no doubt that a nation needs regulations to make “politicking” safe for all interests. But time has shown that all regulations can be circumvented. One wishes that there could be some showcase prosecution and punishment for rule-breakers, but money once again protects the privileged with expensive lawyers.
The Bible contains many answers for such corruption. Some of them are to be greatly feared, such as times of national judgment. Some are dramatic, such as a prophet directly speaking to a king. And, some are just sovereign, such as a sweeping movement of national repentance and prayer.
As you pray, remember not to dictate terms to God. What is needed is national repentance. Crying out to God over the sinfulness of the nation is never out of place. How He chooses to answer the prayer is out of human control. And, remember these admonitions from the Holy Bible:
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! (Psalm 33:12)
And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 8:19-20)
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
Dr. Tom Askew has been an educator in both public and private schools for 40 years, in Hong Kong, Germany, Georgia, and Arizona. He is currently doing educational consulting and instruction for Christian schools in Arizona.
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