Counterpoint to Ellen Rescinds Kim Burrell’s Invitation to Appear on Show
By Marion Witcher
Pastor Kim Burrell’s sermon left the church’s walls and spread like wildfire throughout the internet and into the ears of talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres. Like dominoes falling—engagement after engagement tumbled away from her schedule. Burrell was uninvited to the Ellen DeGeneres show and Houston-KTSU announced that it dropped her radio program. Her television show was also cancelled and she was uninvited to BMI’s Trailblazer of Gospel Music annual celebration. Basically, these engagements were canceled because Burrell spoke against the homosexual lifestyle.
However, as stated in my last post, “Whether we approve of Ellen’s lifestyle or not, she is justified in exercising “her” conscience as it relates to Burrell’s controversial appearance on “her” show. In the same token, Burrell is justified in holding on to her beliefs whether someone agrees with her or not.
Reflecting upon the conflict of interest between Burrell and DeGeneres, I decided to focus on what I believe is a critically important topic. That is, the freedom and right of clergy to speak. Do pastors really have a right to preach, speak and teach about any topic?
According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Legal Counsel, Christiana Holcomb, “Churches should be free to teach their religious beliefs and operate their houses of worship according to their faith. That is a foundational First Amendment principle.”
I wholeheartedly agree with Holcomb. It only makes sense that pastors be given the right to provide moral leadership while helping lay persons develop their faith in God. After all, this is what they are called by God to do. As they walk in their divine calling, “all” people should take note and recognize that not only have clergy been issued authority by God to speak truth, but our government reinforces that right within the first Amendment. This right was passed by Congress on September 25th, 1789 and ratified on December 15,1791, which reads:
Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Under the First Amendment Rights, the pastor determines what is said from the pulpit, not the IRS. Free in spirit and walking in truth the Pastor can preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ as led by the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, when a church chooses to become a 501 3 (c) incorporation the religious freedom clause of the first amendment ceases to apply. In other words, pastors and evangelists who sign their church on to become 501 3 (c) incorporated, lose their constitutional rights.
By law, the church is considered created by the State for the benefit of the public (not the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ). If the IRS says you cannot say something from the pulpit, then you DO NOT have any constitutional rights to argue against them. As far as the church becoming a 501 3 (c) in to order to become tax exempt for the purpose of receiving tithes and offering, a little research will reveal that the church just by nature of being a church is already tax exempt. And just the fact that the church is a church, under the First Amendment Rights, the preacher has the right to preach the Gospel in power and in might.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. II Timothy 3:16-17
However, the rules changes when a church becomes a 501 3 (c), The preacher may not be able to preach sound doctrine regarding some topics. Doing so may mean breaking the church’s covenant with the government. One could easily say that the minister’s voice is silenced because he has remarried. The new partner is not as attractive, but must be respected. The new partner’s name is Uncle Sam. Married to Uncle Sam, the preacher or evangelist must hush his voice. He must walk in the integrity of his prenuptial agreement or lose his tax-exempt status.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? II Corinthians 6:14
Folks, it is a serious matter when the church voluntarily submits its freedom to the government. In fact, Dave Hodges host of the Common Sense show says “Any church that encourages complete obedience to a corrupt government has taken a big step towards accepting the Mark of the Beast. This is a very dangerous precedent, and this could potentially imperil the salvation of millions if Christians allow this false doctrine to expand across our nation’s churches. “
Whoa! I am flabbergasted—but the truth is no man can serve two masters!
About Marion Ferguson Witcher
An eloquent and gifted speaker, Marion Ferguson Witcher has taken her past experiences and used them to help others through a non-profit she founded, New Hope for Special Needs. With her husband, Veroman and others working alongside her, NHFSN is committed to encouraging families of children with special needs and the professionals that support them. They have also invested their own funds and with the help of other philanthropists created the philanthropic hand of New Hope for Special Needs. This enabled NHFSN to provide numerous scholarships to college students majoring in special education.
Marion and her husband, Veroman are the parents of two adult children, Ashley and Verano. Their daughter is challenged with autism and epilepsy, and alternates between a wheelchair and walker. As a result, the couple knows firsthand the joys, challenges, and struggles of raising a child with a disability within the context of the family, faith community, public school system, and society in general.
Many people in and outside of the church’s walls have been touched by Marion’s faith-inspiring messages. She also appropriately delivers thought-provoking messages to main stream audiences as a keynote speaker and workshop leader.
Marion is an award-winning magazine writer, motivational speaker, and founder of New Hope for Special Needs.The mission provides faith-based support to persons with intellectual challenges, their families and support systems. She has received numerous awards for her work related to advocating for children with special needs and their families including Community Advocate. Inspired by her experience of being a mother of a child challenged with autism, in 2004, she wrote, Sowing My Tears, Reaping His Joy. She is the founder of Autism: A Language Worth Knowing and the His Ability Over Disability Celebration.