Religious Leaders Nationwide Defy the IRS to Endorse Political Candidates on ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’

Today, more than 1,000 religious leaders all across the country are acting in defiance of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and endorsing political candidates from the pulpit. In 1954 the tax code was amended to say that tax-exempt organizations– like churches– are prohibited from making political endorsements, but many are apparently done being silent.

The issue has people torn for several reasons. Even if they don’t appreciate the IRS controlling religious speech, many are grateful for the break from politics that church provides. Some say, depending on their political views, that they’re simply uninterested in hearing a politically-charged sermon on universal healthcare, or that they don’t want their religious leaders telling them how to vote. Others say it’s a violation of our religious liberties for pastors not to be able to speak on the pressing matters of the day.

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TALIBAN MOCKS U.S. AS WAR ENTERS 12TH YEAR

The Taliban had mocking words for the U.S. as the war in Afghanistan entered its 12th year on Sunday, claiming U.S. and NATO forces are “fleeing” with “humiliation and disgrace.”

The last international combat forces are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014 after the U.S.-led invasion Oct. 7, 2001 following the 9/11 terror attacks.

“With the help of Allah, the valiant Afghans under the Jihadi leadership of Islamic Emirate defeated the military might and numerous strategies of America and NATO alliance,” the Taliban said in a statement Sunday, according to AFP.

“And now after eleven years of unceasing terror, tyranny, crimes and savagery, they are fleeing Afghanistan with such humiliation and disgrace that they are struggling to provide an explanation,” it said.

More than 3,100 NATO troops have been killed since the war began, according to the independent website iCasualties.org. Of those troop fatalities, more than 2,000 have been American.

Krauthammer on Barack Obama: “He Isn’t Half As Intelligent As He Thinks He Is”

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‘NO HOLDS BARRED’

There were all the trappings of a high-octane presidential debate: the over-the-top declarations, the pre-practiced zingers and the schmaltzy appeals to America’s truest values. But the presidential candidates were nowhere to be found.

In their place Saturday were two celebrity gabbers who have staked their claims at the polar opposite ends of the political spectrum: Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart. The political odd-couple came to Washington ready to tangle in an event mockingly dubbed “The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium,” hosted by E.D. Hill.

Choice words not suitable for the faint of heart dotted the 90-minute exchange between the Fox News anchor and the star of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” who bantered aggressively but good-naturedly over birth control, President George W. Bush, and the “War on Christmas.”

Stewart came prepped with a mechanical pedestal he used to elevate himself in the air, making the height-challenged comedian appear taller than the lanky O’Reilly when he wanted to drive a point home.

“I like you much better that way,” O’Reilly quipped at one point as he gazed up at his ideological foe.

The political feud between the two caffeinated TV personalities dates back more than a decade. Much like family members who just can‘t resist pushing each other’s buttons over Thanksgiving stuffing, Stewart and O’Reilly love to disagree, but appear to hold nothing against each other once the latest spat has run its course. The two have appeared on each other’s programs since 2001, but the face-off Saturday at The George Washington University marked their first head-to-head debate.

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