Yeah, I know it is Thanksgiving week. But I wanted to be among the first to remind you of what you have to look forward to at the dawning of 2014.
First, your involvement in ObamaCare is about to get serious. Up to now, it’s been mostly rhetoric and debate between politicians and talk radio, but now the laws are beginning to kick in and to effect American lives.
The first wave isn’t pretty. Millions of policies are being cancelled. Even if you like your policy, most can’t keep it because, under the new laws, those polices do not cover everything that the new rules require. It doesn’t matter whether you need that coverage or not; the new laws are making your current policy illegal to sell.
Not only does ObamaCare mess with your health insurance, it also mangles your taxes. Take a look at this post for a little closer look.
Just a few hours ago, hoping everyone would be too busy traveling to Grandma’s to notice, the White House announced that it is delaying implementing some of the rules that apply to small businesses until after next year’s elections. That means that when the millions of Americans who work for those companies get their polices cancelled at the end of 2014, it will be too late to vote against the politicians who have been lying to them about these provisions.
But looming large in your future is the potential loss of your housing allowance. Perhaps you’ve heard, but last week a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that the ministers’ housing allowance was unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb says that the exemption “provides a benefit to religious persons and no one else, even though doing so is not necessary to alleviate a special burden on religious exercise.”
This allowance was passed by Congress back in 1954 and has been tested several times. But the problem this time is that Judge Crabb’s decision will become the law of the land unless it is appealed. It remains to be seen how aggressively, or if at all, the Obama justice department will appeal this ruling.
In this debate, many will focus only on whether or not the minister deserves the tax break, and will forget that the American Church is our nation’s first and greatest charitable agency. Remember during Katrina when all the government buses sat unusable, surrounded by flood waters? It was Louisiana and Texas churches that drove their buses into New Orleans and hauled those trapped to safety. I spoke to one pastor whose church alone bussed 997 people out of the Superdome.
Our churches are feeding and housing folks while FEMA is still trying to find us on the map. Repealing the housing allowance will reduce the amount of money churches have to devote to ministry and services.
So pastor, happy New Year! I wish I could tell you to leave politics to the carnal and devote your time only to the Word, but I must tell you that ignoring what is happening in Washington has long-term consequences for you and your congregation. Pray for America. But I also strongly suggest you write or call your Senators and Representatives and let them know how these laws will effect you and your congregation
For a little encouragement, I added the above picture of the monument in Washington D.C. that pays tribute to a preacher. Peter Muhlenberg was a pastor who served during the Revolutionary War. There are also at least two works of art in the US Capitol that honor his involvement in the early days of this country.
Don’t be afraid to speak up!