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
  • |
  • Category: Featured
  • |
  • Source: townhall.com

  • Tags: , , , , , , ,

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
  • |
  • Category: Featured
  • |
  • Source: www.nationalreview.com

  • Tags: , , , , ,

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
  • |
  • Category: ADF in the News
  • |
  • Source: www.examiner.com

  • Tags: , , , , , ,

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
  • |
  • Category: ADF in the News

  • Tags: , , , , , ,

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

By politicking, clerics risk their churches’ tax-exempt status | Randall Lord at The Town Talk

Pastors prepare to take on IRS over political endorsement ban | WTVR.com

    WTVR.com: When Ron Johnson takes take his pulpit on Sunday, he will willfully break the law. After presenting his views on President Barack Obama’s handling of religious issues — like abortion, gay marriage, and religious freedom – Johnson will ask his congregation a question. “In light of what I have presented,” Johnson says he will say, “How can you go into that election booth and vote for Barack Obama as president of the United States?” . . . “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 Eric Stanley, Alliance Defending Freedom’s senior legal counsel. “It is all about creating a test case to find the Johnson amendment as unconstitutional.”


  • Posted: 10/08/2012
  • |
  • Category: ADF in the News
  • |
  • Source: wtvr.com

  • Tags: , , , , , ,

RPT-Hundreds of US pastors back political candidates, defy tax rules | Reuters

    Reuters: “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” has been staged annually since 2008 by a group called the Alliance Defending Freedom. Its aim is to provoke a challenge from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in order to file a lawsuit and have its argument out in court. The event has grown steadily in size, but the IRS has yet to respond – even though the pastors tape their sermons and mail them to the agency . . . Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom, said the group was not pushing any particular political agenda and participants came from both conservative and liberal churches . . . Stanley said that if the IRS continued to ignore the speeches, it could become clear it was not enforcing the ban and hand preachers the de facto right to do as they wish from the pulpit . . . But experts who spoke to Reuters said they do not expect the agency to move against Pulpit Freedom Sunday this year, chiefly because of the absence of a new audit procedure for churches.
    “If the IRS wanted to get serious about this, there are already plenty of blatant violations they could pursue,” said Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington-based group that monitors and informs the IRS about tax-code violations


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

  • Tags: , , , , , , ,

Churches defy tax law, talk politics | Houston Chronicle

Hundreds of Pastors Back Political Candidates, Defy Tax Rules | NewsMax

Religious Leaders Nationwide Defy The IRS To Endorse Political Candidates On ‘pulpit Freedom Sunday’ | The Blaze

Churches Participate in ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ | WSET.com (ABC 13 includes video)

Pastors to take on IRS in plan to preach politics from the pulpit | Fox News (Oct. 7)

    Fox News (Oct. 7): “The purpose is to make sure that the pastor — and not the IRS — decides what is said from the pulpit,” Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the group, told FoxNews.com. “It is a head-on constitutional challenge.” Stanley said pastors attending “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” will “preach sermons that will talk about the candidates running for office” and then “make a specific recommendation.” The sermons will be recorded and sent to the IRS. “We’re hoping the IRS will respond by doing what they have threatened,” he said. “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.”


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

  • Tags: , , , , , ,

Why I Am Participating in Pulpit Freedom Sunday | Wayne Grudem at the Christian Post

    Wayne Grudem at the Christian Post: This Sunday I have agreed to join nearly 1,500 pastors nationwide and participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday, sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom. In my sermon, I plan to recommend that people vote for one presidential candidate and one political party that I will name. We will then all send our sermons to the IRS . . . I fully understand that many pastors might never want to endorse a candidate from the pulpit (I have never done so before and I might never do so again). But that should be the decision of the pastors and their churches, just as it was in 1860 when many pastors (rightly) decided they had to tell citizens to vote for Abraham Lincoln in order to end the horrible evil of slavery. When the government censors what pastors can preach, I think it is an unconstitutional violation of freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
    Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/why-i-am-participating-in-pulpit-freedom-sunday-82838/#ymKj3kGtMOKhmdT6.99


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

  • Tags: , , , , ,

Preaching Politics from the Pulpit | GalesburgPlanet.com

Churches’ misplaced outrage | Journal Gazette (Bloomberg View Editorial)

‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ Pastors Don’t Care About Religious Freedom | The Daily Beast

    Daily Beast: Boosted by dutiful Fox News coverage and an always-zeitgeisty endorsement from Mike Huckabee, the fifth annual “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” will culminate in copies of hundreds of illegal sermons being mailed to the IRS to challenge its restriction on tax-exempt organizations endorsing political candidates. According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian-right group behind the protest, “the future of religious freedom” depends on your pastor being allowed to tell you how to vote . . . The pointlessness of the Johnson Amendment does not, however, make Pulpit Freedom Sunday a righteous cause. Contrary to the ADF’s apocalyptic rhetoric, the electioneering restriction does approximately zero harm to religious freedom. In fact, it might as well not exist: in the five years since Pulpit Freedom Sunday began, the IRS has been essentially saying, We don’t give a damn what you say in your sermon. The agency has ignored the protest, and its officials have consistently downplayed its interest in prosecuting churches for illegal campaigning. The IRS’s internal bar for beginning an electioneering-related audited is extraordinarily high. Ironically, IRS action against electioneering churches has been so nonexistent that the Pulpit Freedom pastors are complaining about how little the agency enforces the law. “It’s frustrating,” an ADF lawyer told The New York Times in 2011. “The law is on the books but they don’t enforce it.”


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

  • Tags: , , , , ,

Central La. clerics will share spiritual messages on Pulpit Freedom Sunday | The Town Talk (Oct. 7)

Pastors To Challenge IRS On Political Endorsement Ban | International Business Times

    IBTimes.com: The Alliance Defending Freedom, formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund, began organizing its “Pulpit Free Sunday” in 2008 in response to the IRS regulation. The ADF is a Christian legal ministry that specializes in taking cases where they believe “religious liberty” is at stake, most notably in defense of businesses or organizations that discriminate against gays and lesbians . . . “The IRS has the ability and 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,” Stanley told CNN. “It is all about creating a test case to find the Johnson amendment as unconstitutional.” . . . CNN reports ADF, which some critics have accused of being a Republican front group, was unable to put them in touch with a church that plans to endorse President Barack Obama this Sunday.


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

  • Tags: , , , , , ,

WWJD*? Pulpit Freedom Sunday Likely to Bring Slams Against Obama, Romney | Kelly Phillips Erb at Forbes

Pastors To Send IRS Message On Political Speech | U-T San Diego

    U-T San Diego: “My confidence is not in Republicans or Democrats. My confidence is not in Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. I don’t believe either party or either person can provide ultimately to America what is needed,” Garlow said. “I have strong confidence, extremely strong confidence, that biblical principles, if they are followed, can turn a nation in deep trouble around. And we are in a moral and economic free fall.” He added: “My energy is going to be talking about what are the biblical issues at stake in this year’s election. It will include the national debt, economic principles, concern for the poor, the definition of marriage, abortion and the understanding of productivity in free enterprise.” . . . Representatives for the Alliance Defending Freedom and others said they believe the provision violates the First Amendment. The organization hopes the IRS will take action, ultimately landing the issue in court, where it could be challenged as unconstitutional.


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

  • Tags: , , , , ,

Central La. clerics will share spiritual messages on Pulpit Freedom Sunday | TheTownTalk.com

Pastors’ sermons will defy IRS rules | St. Louis Today

Pastoral group aims to overturn political speech amendment | KJRH.com

    KJRH.com: When Ron Johnson takes take his pulpit on Sunday, he will willfully break the law. After presenting his views on President Barack Obama’s handling of religious issues — like abortion, gay marriage, and religious freedom – Johnson will ask his congregation a question.
    “In light of what I have presented,” Johnson says he will say, “How can you go into that election booth and vote for Barack Obama as president of the United States?” . . . The goal: Force the IRS to come down on these churches so that the Alliance Defending Freedom, whose network includes 2,200 attorneys, can test the Johnson Amendment’s constitutionality. “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 Eric Stanley, Alliance Defending Freedom’s senior legal counsel. “It is all about creating a test case to find the Johnson amendment as unconstitutional.”


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

  • Tags: , , , , , ,

Pastors plan to preach politics during Sunday protest | KSN.com

Pew Forum Releases Guide Regarding Politics and the Pulpit | Michael Gryboski at Christian Post

    The Christian Post: The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has released a guide for religious bodies regarding the extent to which politics can be propagated from the pulpit. Entitled “Preaching Politics From the Pulpit” and released on Tuesday, it is the third guide on the topic that Pew has released . . . “The First Amendment prohibits the government from enacting laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion. A pastor preaching a sermon from the pulpit is one of the core activities of the free exercise of religion,” wrote Erik Stanley of ADF on a blog. “Pulpit Freedom Sunday is a head-on constitutional challenge to the Johnson Amendment, which is blatantly unconstitutional. This unjust law, which never should have been applied to churches and pastors, has had a devastating effect on their constitutionally protected rights.”


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

  • Tags: , , , , , ,

Free speech applies to pulpit | Zack Plair at Paragould Daily Press

    Zack Plair at Paragould Daily Press: Politics in general have no place in the pulpit, and I was encouraged, if not a bit surprised, by the number of local pastors representing churches from diverse denominations who clearly took that stance during interviews this week with The Daily Press about the national Pulpit Freedom Sunday movement . . . In fact, all of the pastors interviewed for Thursday’s story expressed unwillingness to participate in the mass movement scheduled to make landfall this Sunday, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is sponsoring the pulpit event, never provided any information indicating that any Greene County churches would participate. One local minister, acting First United Methodist Church pastor Angie Gage, told The Daily Press she thought there needed to be a line between religion and politics, and endorsing a candidate in the pulpit would be a misuse of her position . . . But the government in this case is misusing its position, too, and violating the First Amendment by trying to dictate to a certain degree what can be said in church pulpits.


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

  • Tags: , , , , ,

Pastors to defy IRS on political endorsements | Salon

Clergy Challenge IRS Ban on Church Political Endorsements | Philanthropy Today

Why Pulpit Freedom Sunday is a Really Terrible Idea | Tim Suttle at Patheos

    Tim Suttle at Patheos: This Sunday morning hundreds of pastors will participate in what is being called, “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.” The program is the creation of a conservative political action group called the Alliance Defending Freedom, formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund (you can read a little bit about them here). The agenda behind Pulpit Freedom Sunday is to entice pastors to openly endorse a presidential candidate from their pulpit during a Sunday morning worship service, then to send evidence of the endorsement to the IRS, hoping that the IRS will bring a case against the church to revoke their non-profit status . . . I think Pulpit Freedom Sunday is a really bad idea. For one thing, it’s a rude intrusion of Pharaoh’s government into the sacred space of the worship of the one true God.


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

  • Tags: , , , , ,

Clerical Error? Local pastors question wisdom of pulpit politics | Raymond Billy at Daily Progress

    Raymond Billy at Daily Progress: The Alliance Defending Freedom has encouraged pastors to contact them for legal counsel if their political speech comes under IRS scrutiny. Rev. R.G. Ericson, pastor of First Christian Church, said ministry leaders should avoid speaking on campaign issues unless they and their organizations are willing to accept the penalty for doing so. “If pastors do choose to speak out in violation of those IRS requirements, I think that the consequences for any kind of civil disobedience are that you have to deal with the ramifications,” Ericson, 63, said. “The churches pay no income tax. If they want to start paying taxes on their income, they can speak out the way any other business person can speak out.”


  • Posted: 10/08/2012
  • |
  • Category: ADF in the News
  • |
  • Source: jacksonvilleprogress.com

  • Tags: , , , , ,

Pulpit Freedom Sunday: Pastors Challenge IRS Ban On Political Endorsements | Huffington Post

Pastors to Challenge IRS on Pulpit Freedom Sunday | CBN

Keep politicking out of religious services | Gerald L. Zelizer at Livingston Daily

October 7 – Pulpit Freedom Sunday | One News Now

1,500 Pastors to Challenge IRS Restriction on ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’

Pastors preach politics: take on IRS | WBRZ.com

Local clergy plan to defy federal law | Fox 5 San Diego

1,500 Ministers To Preach On Politics | WorldNetDaily

Political Pastors’ Speech Is Free but Not Tax-Exempt | Bloomberg Editors

1,200 pastors to flout IRS regulations, speak out on politics from the pulpit Sunday | LifeSiteNews

Pulpit Freedom Sunday — Should the Church Be Tax-Exempt? | Steve Siebold at Huffington Post

    Steve Siebold at the Huffington Post: An army of more than 1,000 pastors from around the country will take on the IRS this coming Sunday by participating in what’s being called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.” Under the Johnson Amendment, tax-exempt organizations, including churches, are not allowed to endorse any candidate running for elective public office. The real issue behind Pulpit Freedom Sunday is whether or not free speech reigns irrefutably over tax-exempt organizations, or should groups such as churches be permitted to make political recommendations to its members? And beyond that, the even larger question is why are churches still classified as tax-exempt? . . . It’s time for the government to stop subsidizing religion and phase out this special privilege of tax-exemptions to churches. Pastors and church leaders need to make a choice: feel free to talk politics all they want from the pulpit, but be willing to pay the consequences.


  • Posted: 10/03/2012
  • |
  • Category: ADF in the News
  • |
  • Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

  • Tags: , , , , ,

Churches should pay if they want to play | Maureen McDermott Gill at Journal Tribune

    Maureen McDermott Gill at Journal Tribune: This Sunday, Oct. 7, is “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” a nationwide event sponsored by the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization providing legal services to churches and individuals who want “greater religious freedom,” as they say. What these churches really want, however, is the unbridled freedom to influence American politics. Unlike the rest of us, who are allowed to express opinions about American politics, work for certain candidates, and attempt to influence others to our way of thinking, churches want to do it without making any monetary contributions to actually run the government that protects their freedoms. Pursuant to the IRS, churches are exempted from taxation – provided they stay the hell out of politics. The churches don’t like that . . . As far as I’m concerned, the clergy of any denomination can say whatever they want, but I don’t want to subsidize them to do so.


  • Posted: 10/03/2012
  • |
  • Category: ADF in the News
  • |
  • Source: www.journaltribune.com

  • Tags: , , , , , , ,

Pastors Preparing To Defy The IRS | One News Now

Pastors Will Challenge Politics From The Pulpit Law | One News Now

1,000 Pastors to Challenge IRS, Talk Politics From The Pulpit | LifeNews

    LifeNews: “Pastors should decide what they preach from the pulpit, not the IRS,” said Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley of ADF. “It’s outrageous for pastors and churches to be threatened or punished by the government for applying biblical teachings to all areas of life, including candidates and elections. The question is, ‘Who should decide the content of sermons: pastors or the IRS?’” “No government-recognized status can be conditioned upon the surrender of a constitutionally protected right,” Stanley explained. “No one would suggest a pastor give up his church’s tax-exempt status if he wants to keep his constitutional protection against illegal search and seizure or cruel and unusual punishment. Likewise, no one should be asking him to give up his church’s tax-exempt status to be able to keep his constitutionally protected right to free speech.”


  • Posted: 09/27/2012
  • |
  • Category: ADF in the News
  • |
  • Source: www.lifenews.com

  • Tags: , , , , , ,

Your Church’s Involvement In The 2012 Election

ADF: “Grand total: More than 1,000 pastors to challenge IRS”

Pastors Prepare to Defy IRS With “Pulpit Freedom Sunday”

Engaging the Issues: Are America’s Pulpits Free? | Erik Stanley Audio with the FPC of WV

Pulpit Freedom Sunday | Ventura County Star

Pastors Preaching Politics From Pulpit | WSET ABC 13 – Virginia