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Pastor Rick Warren Tweets and Deletes

The leader of the Saddleback Church has people abuzz with his tax jab.

Political blogs are all atwitter about a tweet sent from the account of Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, implying opposition to higher taxes for the rich.

"HALF of America pays NO taxes. Zero," Warren tweeted. "So they're happy for tax rates to be raised on the other half that DOES pay taxes."

The tax tweet attracted online notice, including a scathing post from political blog Wonkette and asubsequent mention on Politico's website, before it was removed from Twitter.

After the tweet vanished, Warren responded to a Twitter user and blogger who had derided the pastor's tax comment as "untrue" and "mean."

Warren tweeted, "You are 100% right! It did sound mean." 

Taxing the wealthy at a greater rate has been a consistent theme in Obama's speeches about the nation's debt-ceiling, including his Monday address.

Jeremy July 27, 2011 at 02:17 PM
The church should lose its 501(c)(3) status for being engaged in political activity!
John B. Greet July 27, 2011 at 03:49 PM
Jeremy, Saddleback Church did not send the tweet in question. Pastor Warren, the thinking, intelligent, politically engaged individual did. Regardless of his affiliation to a church that enjoys tax-exempt status, Pastor Warren does not waive his individual right to political free speech. Hello...Jeremiah Wright anyone? Louis Farrakhan? These so-called ministers and many others routinely preach politics directly from their pulpits. Why do *their* churches continue to enjoy tax-exempt status? But Pastor Warren sends a tweet...as an individual....and suddenly we're concerned? Please!
Jerry Clark July 27, 2011 at 04:06 PM
John you obviously have not been involved in the inner workings of a church body. You have made some observations but I can tell you, having been there myself ,you cannot define yourself as a separate entity of the church. You speak for the church.. Unfortunately when a Pastor comments he is speaking for his flock. right or wrong.. The church is a body as described in the scriptures that works together for the good of the whole. To speak out on a topic that might be different than that of the members is where real trouble begins. We witness the aftermath of this often in the daily news. Jerry
Michael Brown July 27, 2011 at 05:51 PM
I don't know about Rick Warren's church losing its tax exempt status, but I'm always amazed at these right wing clergy and their belief in this God that seems to only care about the super rich and authorizes non-stop war. Does anyone have a copy of the Bible Robertson, Falwell, Warren, Hagee and the rest seem to be referencing? I've never read that one.
John B. Greet July 27, 2011 at 06:50 PM
Thanks, Jerry. I would encourage you to avoid assumptions about the personal experiences of people you do not know. Neither our Constitution, nor our tax laws are biblical writings. No member of any church body (whether the Senior pastor or the newest adult member) waives his or her individual rights under our constitution. If you can point to the statutory law (or even the case law) that stipulates otherwise I would very much like to see it. 501(c)(3) IRC exempts applicable "organizations" and churches are constrained, *as* organizations. "The political campaign activity prohibition is not intended to restrict free expression on political matters by leaders of churches or religious organizations speaking for themselves, as individuals. Nor are leaders prohibited from speaking about important issues of public policy." (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf)(At page 7) Regardless, the gist of my comment had to do with the apparent double-standard some seem to have concerning politically active clergy. Such people (like Jeremy) will call for Saddleback to lose its tax-exempt status over a personal tweet, but remain "deafeningly silent" when it comes to other clergy I have mentioned.
Barbie July 27, 2011 at 09:35 PM
Looks like another case of a religious leader abusing their position and preaching untruths. Where's the 50% number come from? WRONG. If you're going to make a statment to your flock (or twitter followers) at least make a correct one.
John B. Greet July 28, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Barbie: Pastor Warren's comments probably came from news stories like this one (from NPR in 2010): "It turns out that nearly half of all Americans don't have to pay any federal income tax. In 2009, 47 percent of all filers paid nothing. It's a number that's gone up significantly in just a couple of years." http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125997180 As for not making statements unless they are correct, if we cannot hold our own President or other elected officials to that standard, I do not find it reasonable to attempt to hold our clergy or anyone else to it.

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