Athanatos Christian Ministries, an apologetics ministry based out of Wisconsin, is one of the few Christian ministries that not only does not have tax exempt status, but deliberately refused to pursue it. In light of revelations that the IRS has been targeting conservative organizations based on their beliefs, ACM’s decision, made in 2008, now seems prescient.
On the ‘donation’ section of ACM’s website, there is this simple statement: “In order to operate unmuzzled, ACM is NOT tax exempt.”
ACM’s Executive Director, Anthony Horvath, explains, “While it does not appear that tax-exempt status was originally meant to stifle free speech, it is evident that it has become a way to silence the opposition while hiding behind and inside a bureaucracy.”
However, Horvath believes the real harm has come from the self-censoring that organizations have engaged in long before the Obama administration decided to turn the bureaucratic machinery against his “enemies list.”
Horvath says, “Churches and other tax-exempt organizations have refrained from aggressively stating their beliefs on important issues in order to retain their tax status. Has it been worth it?”
According to Horvath, ACM chose not to pursue tax-exempt status to ensure that it would never have to make such a “devil’s bargain.” Horvath believes that 501c3 status would have forced him to be silent on issues he believes are extremely important, or tip-toe around a topic instead of being direct.
“I did not want my tax status held as a club over my head, just waiting for the day when some atheist or pro-choice organization decides I had gone over the line. ACM pays its taxes, therefore ACM speaks its mind,” Horvath says.
Horvath urges Christians to think carefully about the practical implications of tax policies. In 2010, Worldnetdaily.com published one of his columns urging Christians to develop a theology of taxation, warning that “Christians should carefully test their attitudes about taxation” or risk participating in tyranny.
ACM is presently engaged in its annual funding drive, reminding potential donors that operating ‘unmuzzled’ allows Horvath to advocate for pro-life issues and “connect the dots” between one’s worldview and the implications of that worldview.
ACM’s website is www.athanatosministries.org.
It is hard for me to be objective in declaring who won the debate because Turek’s ideas make so much more sense to me than Hitchens. However, I have to say that while Hitchens dodged many of Turek’s very direct questions, even in his avoidance he appears to be brilliant and clever. Even when you disagree with Hitchens, you can’t help but like his sarcastic (almost apathetic) wit and pithy humor. (Personally, I think even if Hitchens was a complete idiot –which he certainly was not!– he would still SOUND smart with that phenomenal and perfectly accentuated British voice!)
In this debate you will hear Turek trying to nail Hitchens to the wall on Intelligent Design, Morality, and other evidence for Theism. You will also hear Hitchens largely ignoring those arguments and giving compelling reasons why he doesn’t like God, the notion of God, Religion, Christians, Imposed Morality and more.
This is a worthy debate between worthy opponents, and I hope you find it to be instructive and benefitial.
Some blog posts just stink. At least the readers seem to think so. I’m not sure what makes for a great blog entry, but apparently you do. Here are the best and worst entries (in terms of viewership) from the history of my ChristianWorldview.net blog
In my defense, I think some of the the ones in the bottom category deserve a second chance. Perhaps you can help them boost their devestated little egos by checking them out!
Over the years, I’ve had a lot of people ask me how they can become a conference speaker. Here are a few suggestions:
The main thing is following God’s leading for your life. God always wants you to be teaching someone somewhere. The question is, “Is it in a public setting?” Not everyone is cut out for public speaking ministry. There is also a price to pay. Most people who are in demand as popular conference speakers have paid their dues. They have traveled tens of thousands of miles, endured many sleep-deprived nights, spent hundreds of hours preparing their messages, and spoken before audiences smaller than your family to get to where they are today. Not everyone can or should do this type of work. However, if God has placed a message on your heart, and you steward it wisely, you can be successful as a public speaker.
There is something about the human condition that causes us to want to promote ourselves and make ourselves look better than others. That something is called pride. It resides, to some extent, within every human heart.
The bible tells us:
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard others as more important than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
However, as clear as that is, there is something in us that wants to prove to others that we are better, or more important than they are. Exaggeration and caricature are often great ways of depicting sin issues and the following video from Brian Regan does a great job of exposing the ugliness of “The Me Monster”:
Do you ever find yourself trying to top someone else’s story? Do you ever notice yourself trying to posture yourself so that you impress others? The Apostle Paul says:
“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12)
Next time you have the opportunity, find a way to encourage others and build them up, rather than tearing them down to make yourself look better. Follow the way of Jesus!