Study shows impact of pulpit politics | Cal. Family Council

Atheist Group Sues IRS Over Church Involvement in Political Campaigns

Atheist group sues IRS over churches endorsing politics | World

How Churches Have Brought the IRS to Its Knees: If God plays politics, then God should pay taxes.

Atheist Group Sues IRS Over Church Endorsements | Tennessean

Freedom From Religion Foundation sues IRS for failure to enforce ban on church politicking | God Discussion Blog

Atheists sue IRS for ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ | Washington Times

FFRF Challenging Pastors’ Free Speech | One News Now

Atheist Group Sues Over Religious Electioneering

FFRF Sues IRS Over Non-Enforcement of Electioneering Restrictions On Churches

Freedom from Religion to expand | WI State Journal

FFRF contests bishops’ electioneering

FFRF questions ‘vote biblical’ campaign, urges IRS to investigate Billy Graham

Complaint to IRS Against Catholic Bishops is Bogus ‘Scare Tactic,’ Religious Rights Attorneys Say | CNSNews

Soros-funded group accuses Catholic bishops of ‘electioneering’ for Romney | LifeSiteNews

Pulpit politics: Pastors endorse candidates, thumbing noses at the IRS | NBS (includes videos)

    NBC (includes several videos of pastors): About 1,600 pastors across the country violated a 58-year-old ban on political endorsements by churches in October by explicitly backing political candidates in their Sunday sermons, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom of Scottsdale, Ariz., a conservative Christian legal organization behind a campaign called Pulpit Freedom Sunday . . . The Alliance Defending Freedom asserts that it’s working to further the rights of all religious groups, but it’s an explicitly Christian organization, with a heavy representation of evangelical members and leaders. One clue to its philosophy is that it made it Pulpit Freedom “Sunday” — choosing the Christian Sabbath, instead of more broadly embracing the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) and the Muslim day of worship (Friday) . . . But Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said it’s clear that the agency is sidestepping the issue. “We surmise the IRS has shut down all its church audits,” Stanley said. As time goes on, he added, “It may become clear that the IRS has taken the position that it will not censor a pastor.”


  • Posted: 11/05/2012
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  • Category: ADF in the News
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  • Source: usnews.nbcnews.com

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Has the IRS given up on auditing churches? | Erik Stanley at Speak Up Movement Church Blog

Pastors Call Left’s Bluff: No IRS Penalties for Preaching Politics | Matt Barber at LifeNews

Religion And Politics: IRS Not Enforcing Rules On Separation Of Church And State | Huffington Post (AP)

    Huffington Post (AP): Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which seeks strict limits on religious involvement in politics, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, which considers the regulations unconstitutional government intrusion, scour the political landscape for any potential cases. While Americans United gathers evidence it hopes will prompt an IRS investigation, the Alliance Defending Freedom jumps in to provide a defense. Neither group knows of any IRS contact with houses of worship over political activity since the 2009 federal ruling . . . Last month, more than 1,500 pastors, organized by the Alliance Defending Freedom, endorsed a candidate from the pulpit and then sent a record of their statement to the IRS, hoping their challenge would eventually end up in court. The Alliance has organized the event, called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” since 2008. The IRS has never contacted a pastor involved in the protest.


  • Posted: 11/05/2012
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  • Category: ADF in the News
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  • Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

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IRS Backs Off Churches on Politics | The Church Report

    The Church Report: Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which seeks strict limits on religious involvement in politics, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, which considers the regulations unconstitutional government intrusion, scour the political landscape for any potential cases. While Americans United gathers evidence it hopes will prompt an IRS investigation, the Alliance Defending Freedom jumps in to provide a defense. Neither group knows of any IRS contact with houses of worship over political activity since the 2009 federal ruling . . . Last month, more than 1,500 pastors, organized by the Alliance Defending Freedom, endorsed a candidate from the pulpit and then sent a record of their statement to the IRS, hoping their challenge would eventually end up in court. The Alliance has organized the event, called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” since 2008. The IRS has never contacted a pastor involved in the protest.


  • Posted: 11/05/2012
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  • Category: ADF in the News
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  • Source: www.thechurchreport.com

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In the Spirit: Madison pastor scraps plans to challenge IRS with sermon | Wisc. State J.

Poll: 29% of pastors discuss candidates in pulpit

Should Pastors, Religious Leaders Endorse Political Candidates and Is It Legal? | Christian Post

A Record-Setting 1,500 Pastors Deliberately Break Law, Yet Fail To Provoke IRS

War of words rages over church sign

Americans United Urges IRS To Investigate Texas Church That Urged Votes For ‘The Mormon, Not The Muslim’

Billy Graham: Vote for Biblical Values This Nov. 6 | Joe Infranco at Townhall

Campaigning for God | Rev. Matthew Stewart at Herald News

    Rev. Matthew Stewart at Herald News: I’ve been interested over the past few months to watch the group of American pastors called the Alliance Defending Freedom, who organized an event they called Pulpit Freedom Sunday. On this day, these pastors publicly endorsed political candidates from the pulpit. They then sent their sermons in to the Internal Revenue Service, in deliberate protest of the IRS’s policy that tax-exempt organizations like churches need to refrain from endorsing political candidates. Now, on the one hand, I really do admire what these pastors are doing, standing up for what they believe to be the truth (and risking a whole lot of their church’s money in doing it). All throughout history, faith communities have needed to stand up for their rights vis-à-vis the state and, though I don’t think the Alliance Defending Freedom’s cause puts them in the same league as Thomas Becket or Óscar Romero, I do think there is something to be said for their courage. But, on the other hand, I think the Alliance Defending Freedom is misguided.


  • Posted: 10/23/2012
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  • Category: ADF in the News
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  • Source: www.heraldnews.com

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Time for pastors and churches to voice their opinions | Randy Bright at Tulsa Beacon

    Randy Bright at the Tulsa Beacon:Unfortunately, I can no longer advise churches that a well-developed master plan won’t be obsolete within a few years of completion. Typically, a master plan is approved by the city as part of its normal site plan review, and the hope is that, once approved, the city would honor it in perpetuity even if it adopts a new form-based code. But there is no longer a guarantee of that . . . If you are not already aware of Pulpit Freedom Sunday, it is time to learn about it and get involved. In 1954, the Johnson Amendment led us to believe that pastors could never say anything political from the pulpit under the threat that the church’s tax-exempt status could be taken away. This has effectively muzzled the church, and we are now paying the consequences of that silence . . . Pulpit Freedom Sunday – a movement sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom – is an effort to restore our freedoms by challenging the IRS to enforce the Johnson Amendment against pastors who preach politics from the pulpit. [more]


  • Posted: 10/18/2012
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  • Category: ADF in the News
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  • Source: www.tulsabeacon.com

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Pulpit Freedom: Should Churches Endorse Political Candidates? | Adam Cohen at TIME

    Adam Cohen at TIME: The impact this will have on the election this year, though interesting, is not really the point. Pulpit Freedom Sunday is trying to completely rewrite the rules so that in future elections, churches around the country will be free to actively politick. If the full force of the nation’s religious institutions is unleashed, it could have a powerful effect on future elections. The Alliance Defending Freedom insists that pastors have a right to preach “biblical Truth about candidates and elections from their pulpits” – and that “the future of religious freedom” depends on it. Supporters of the movement argue that the IRS policy is an infringement on religious liberty, and that churches are being discriminated against. But these complaints are unpersuasive. What they are objecting to is really a matter of tax policy – and it is a policy that is broadly applied.


  • Posted: 10/16/2012
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  • Category: ADF in the News
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  • Source: ideas.time.com

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Burlington, Iowa, church called out for judicial retention pamphlet

’2016: Obama’s America’ to Screen at Churches Before DVD Release

In the Spirit: Political pastor plans to provoke IRS | Wis. State J.

A Record-Setting 1,500 Pastors Deliberately Break Law, Yet Fail To Provoke IRS | Christianity Today

More voices on Pulpit Freedom Sunday | Indy Blog

Did you hear about the 1,500 preachers breaking the law? | Mark Tapscott at the Washington Examiner

The intersection of faith, the Episcopal Church, and politics | Pat McCaughan at the Episcopal Digital Network

Pastors Preach Politics, Risking Tax-Exempt Status | ProCon.org

Pulpit Freedom Sunday: They Preached. They Endorsed. Did They Break the Law? | PATHEOS

10 local pastors talk politics from the pulpit | Charleston City Paper

    Charleston City Paper: But Baird was making a point, and he was not acting alone. He was one of 1,586 pastors across the country (including 10 in the Charleston area — see list below) who participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday, an annual protest against the 1954 Johnson Amendment, which established the no-endorsing-candidates rule for nonprofits. The movement is organized by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian conservative advocacy group whose founders include the founders of Focus on the Family and Campus Crusade for Christ, and whose stated purpose is “advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.” . . . Audio from Baird’s sermon, which is titled “A Shaky Foundation: A Biblical Referendum on the Current Administration,” can be downloaded here. Nine other Charleston-area churches participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday, according to a press release from the Alliance Defending Freedom . . .


  • Posted: 10/10/2012
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  • Category: ADF in the News
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  • Source: www.charlestoncitypaper.com

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Light in the Darkness | Pastor David Grey at Valley News Online

Pastors Fight IRS On ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’

Do We Need to Protect Religious Freedom in the Pulpit? | Karen Gushta at the Christian Post

    Karen Gushta at the Christian Post: But Erik Stanley, Senior ADF Legal Counsel, says “the AU is using an unconstitutional law to try and intimidate and scare churches.” The problem, says Stanley, is that the Johnson Amendment “is blatantly unconstitutional.” As he wrote at Townhall.com (10/8/2012) those who argue that this is a “taxation issue” are missing the point that this is in truth a free speech issue. “Pastors have been applying scriptural teaching to circumstances facing their congregations for centuries,” writes Stanley. “This is not ‘political’ speech. Rather, it’s core religious expression from a spiritual leader to his congregants. That kind of expression is at the very center of the freedom of speech and religion protections in the First Amendment.” According to Stanley, “The real question is this: When has the government ever been allowed to condition any government-recognized status (such as tax-exempt status) on the surrender of a constitutionally protected freedom?”


  • Posted: 10/10/2012
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  • Category: ADF in the News
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  • Source: www.christianpost.com

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Project 21′s Nedd Prefers Politics Away from the Pulpit | Amy Ridenour’s National Center Blog

Pastor heralds success of endorsing from the pulpit, challenging IRS | CNN (includes video)

Colorado Springs pastor protests IRS, delivers political sermon | Fox21News (includes ADF video)

Sunday Scofflaws: It’s Time For The IRS To Crack Down On ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ | Rob Boston at AU

Will churches hear from the IRS? | One News Now

1,586 pastors challenge IRS intimidation on Pulpit Freedom Sunday | LifeSiteNews

Almost 1,600 Pastors Defy IRS, Preach Politics From Pulpit | LifeNews

Freedom (and Prudence) in the Pulpit | Joe Carter at Acton Institute Power Blog

Can Churches Endorse Political Candidates? | Article 3 Blog

Should Preachers Be Practicing Politics? | Accounting Web

1,600 Pastors To IRS: Stay Out Of Our Pulpits! | WorldNetDaily

Pastor endorses from pulpit, challenging IRS | KCRA (CNN)

    KCRA (CNN): Johnson’s anti-Obama sermonizing likely violated the so-called Johnson Amendment, an Internal Revenue Service rule that forbids churches that receive tax-exempt status from the federal government to intervene in “any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.” But Johnson appears comfortable with defying the IRS. His sermon was part of a national campaign by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal organization that has organized Pulpit Freedom Sunday since 2008, encouraging pastors to flout the Johnson Amendment with political endorsements from the pulpit. The IRS has the ability and the authority to regulate their sermons. We are giving them the opportunity to do that, and if they challenge that, we will challenge that in court,” said Erik Stanley, Alliance Defending Freedom’s senior legal counsel. “It is all about creating a test case to find the Johnson Amendment as unconstitutional.”


  • Posted: 10/09/2012
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  • Category: ADF in the News
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  • Source: www.kcra.com

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Churches Risk Tax-Exempt Status to Endorse Candidates | Non Profit Quarterly

    Non Profit Quarterly: The ADF plans to “actively represent any church or pastor who has been threatened or punished for actively speaking from the pulpit.” This event is intended to provoke the IRS into taking action so that the ADF can challenge and try to overturn the Johnson Amendment (the 1954 change in the U.S. tax code which prohibited tax-exempt organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates). Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for ADF, told Fox News, “The purpose is to make sure that the pastor — and not the IRS — decides what is said from the pulpit. It is a head-on constitutional challenge. We’re hoping the IRS will respond by doing what they have threatened. We have to wait for it to be applied to a particular church or pastor so that we can challenge it in court. We don’t think it’s going to take long for a judge to strike this down as unconstitutional.” . . . The final list of churches that participated in this year’s Pulpit Freedom Sunday action will soon be released by ADF.


  • Posted: 10/09/2012
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  • Category: ADF in the News
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  • Source: www.nonprofitquarterly.org

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Calif. Pastor Tells Megachurch: I’m Voting for Romney | Christian Post

Pastors Take Politics to the Pulpit, Defy IRS | CBN (videos)

Pulpit Freedom Sunday: Pastors Defy Tax Rules, Back Political Candidates | Huffington Post

UPDATE: Nearly 1,600 pastors participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday

Federal Court Halts Montana Law Restricting Clergy Speech to Voters

Government Can’t Require Churches to Abandon Constitutional Freedoms | Erik Stanley

    Erik Stanley at Townhall: In other words, the arguments against Pulpit Freedom Sunday fail because the premise for those arguments is all wrong . . . But pastors who participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday are not engaging in a “political crusade.” Instead, they are simply applying Scripture and theological doctrine to the positions held by the candidates running for office. Pastors have been applying scriptural teaching to circumstances facing their congregations for centuries. This is not “political” speech. Rather, it’s core religious expression from a spiritual leader to his congregants. That kind of expression is at the very center of the freedom of speech and religion protections in the First Amendment.
    The real question is this: When has the government ever been allowed to condition any government-recognized status (such as tax-exempt status) on the surrender of a constitutionally protected freedom?


  • Posted: 10/08/2012
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  • Category: Featured
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  • Source: townhall.com

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Everything You Own Is a Gift of the State

    Matthew J. Franck at National Review: But the historic tax exemption for churches is not predicated on their being held to some standard of apolitical conduct. It is predicated on the proposition that freedom of religion is so fundamental, and individual and institutional conscience so precious, that the state has no jurisdiction over churches, the setting in which free consciences find their space and vitality to act. At least one finds this argument strongly present in a prominent strain of the founders’ thought on freedom of religion. The state cannot tax churches, in short, because churches make a higher claim on their members than does their allegiance to the state as citizens, and the government of a free republic is formed on a recognition of this principle.


  • Posted: 10/08/2012
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  • Category: Featured
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  • Source: www.nationalreview.com

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Americans United for Separation of Church and State Subject Church to State | Erik Stanley at the Christian Post

Should pastors be allowed to make candidate endorsements? | Beaumont Enterprise

The business casual brigade | World Magazine

More than 1,000 pastors were deliberately defiant on ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ | Examiner.com

    Examiner.com: Pastors took this move to prompt the IRS to enforce a 1954 tax code known as the Johnson Amendment proposed by the then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson that prohibits tax-exempt organizations, charities and churches from making political endorsements. “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” was organized by the conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom. The organization wants the IRS to press the matter so it can be decided in court. It believes the law violates the First Amendment by banning preachers from preaching politics from the pulpit. According to Fox News , Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the group said: “The purpose is to make sure that the pastor and not the IRS decides what is said from the pulpit. It is a head-on constitutional challenge.”


  • Posted: 10/08/2012
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  • Category: ADF in the News
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  • Source: www.examiner.com

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Pastors to challenge IRS over political endorsements, and they’re likely to get away with it | Lilly Fowler at the Christian Century

    Lilly Fowler at the Christian Century (Religion News Service) (Oct. 7): New procedures for conducting church audits have been pending since 2009, which has left the IRS virtually impotent in conducting any kind of new investigations. The IRS did not respond to questions seeking comment. Despite the lack of manpower, organizations such as Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal ministry that first launched “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” in 2008, say they take the IRS restriction seriously — even as they disagree with it. “Every pastor and every church has the right to decide what their pastor preaches from the pulpit and to not have that dictated to them by the IRS,” said Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, formerly the Alliance Defense Fund. | Report also at the Washington Post


  • Posted: 10/08/2012
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  • Category: ADF in the News

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Colorado Springs pastor talks campaign issues as his church participates in Pulpit Freedom Sunday | KOAA.com – NBC