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Christian Post: A church in Wisconsin has filed a motion against an atheist group suing the Internal Revenue Service over its alleged refusal to enforce a ban on church politicking . . . Holy Cross Anglican is represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, whose legal counsel Daniel Blomberg dubbed the FFRF lawsuit “censorship | Becket Fund: Abbot, Small Church Fight Atheists’ Bid to Force IRS to Censor Church Sermons
Freedom From Religion Foundation Demands Financial Transparency From Churches | Peter J. Reilly at Forbes
Peter J. Reilly at Forbes: This case seems to be a reaction to “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” . . . “The Alliance Defending Freedom “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” is a strategic litigation plan. Through tactical lawsuits against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Alliance Defending Freedom seeks to restore the right of each pastor to speak scriptural Truth from the pulpit about moral, social, and governmental issues — as well as other topics concerning his congregation — without fear of losing his church’s tax-exempt status.”
Erik Stanley appeared on the Bob Dutko Show to discuss the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s suit demanding that the IRS enforce the Johnson Amendment and restrict pulpit speech. More information at the “Freedom from Religion Foundation v. Shulman” case name tag. | MP3 audio 8:15 mins | Pulpit Freedom Sunday
U.S. Finance Post: “For the past five years it has been the goal of Alliance Defending Freedom, through its Pulpit Freedom Sunday initiative, to challenge the constitutionality of the Johnson Amendment, which places restrictions upon churches and pastors to exercise their First Amendment rights,” he said. “To do so, a church must be sued by the IRS, getting the issue into the legal system where it can be challenged – there must be real damages incurred or civil rights violated; it cannot be challenged under hypothetical circumstances. In the past 59 years, the IRS has not sued or revoked the tax-exempt status of any church. Apparently the IRS knows they will lose on the constitutional issue,” said Cummins.
Deseret News: Erik Stanley, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, told OneNewsNow that FFRF will not likely get the relief it wants from the court. “This is really an unprecedented lawsuit,” Stanley said, “and I’d be surprised if it’s ultimately successful.” ADF has been unsuccessfully trying to lure the IRS into court in 2008 over its ban on churches engaging in electioneering by holding “Pulpit Freedom Sundays,” in which pastors are encouraged to speak about political issues and candidates.
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Erik Stanley tells OneNewsNow the atheist organization won an initial ruling allowing the IRS lawsuit to proceed. Stanley, Erik (ADF)“But I would be surprised if they’re ultimately successful,” says Stanley, noting that the federal judge “expressed some doubts” about whether the atheist group could obtain the relief it was seeking in the courts.
World: “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,” ADF legal counsel Erik Stanley told Focus on the Family’s Citizen Link last month. He added that the purpose of the October event was “to make sure that the pastor, and not the IRS, decides what is said from the pulpit.”
Nick Vadala at The Philly Post: Headed up by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian group out of Arizona, the stunt essentially makes a mockery out of the IRS’s code enforcement. Most endorsements, unsurprisingly, go to Romney or Republicans generally, but that’s beside the point. Endorsement on either side is simply against the law . . . Erik Stanley of the ADF told the Washington Times that the FFRF’s lawsuit “borders on frivolous” and that it probably will go nowhere in court. There’s also very little chance that the FFRF will be able to prove they’ve been done damage by the IRS’s un-enforcement of the Johnson Amendment. But even if they could, as much as I hate to say it, he’s right about the lawsuit missing the mark . . . All I hear when pastors endorse Romney (or Obama, or Jill Stein, or whoever) is “charge us, we would like to contribute to the society that pays our way.” Let the ADF think they’re freedom fighters for the religious set; it’ll cost them eventually.
Tennessean: The preachers and their allies at Alliance Defending Freedom, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based Christian legal group, say the ban is unconstitutional. More than 1,000 preachers nationwide endorsed candidates in this year’s Pulpit Freedom Sunday, in hopes of prompting IRS investigations. So far the IRS has not responded. Now those preachers may have their day in court, with help from an unlikely source – the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
Freedom From Religion Foundation sues IRS for failure to enforce ban on church politicking | God Discussion Blog
God Discussion Blog: For the past few years, religious right groups have been encouraging pastors to endorse candidates and political matters from the pulpit during “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.” The effort has been spearheaded by the Christian advocacy group, Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund) and actively promoted by groups such as Liberty Counsel. At least 1,500 pastors reportedly participated in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” this year, on October 7.
Washington Times: “I think the lawsuit itself really borders on frivolous. I don’t know how the FFRF can claim they’ve been harmed by the IRS‘ refusal to enforce the Johnson Amendment,” Mr. Stanley said. “But, on the chance it does, then we will seek to protect those churches.”
One News Now: “Well, I think this is just further evidence that groups like Freedom From Religion Foundation or Americans United for Separation of Church and State are trying to use the Johnson Amendment in the tax code as a tool of intimidation to silence and censor churches,” contends Erik Stanley, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom.
AP: The lawsuit also refers to “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” a national event on Oct. 7 in which more than 1,500 pastors 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 Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal organization based in Scottsdale, Ariz., has organized the event since 2008. The group considers the IRS regulations against bringing partisan politics to the pulpit an unconstitutional government intrusion.
Religion Clause Blog: The Freedom From Religion Foundation yesterday announced that it has filed suit in a Wisconsin federal district court against the Internal Revenue Service challenging its failure to enforce against churches and religious organizations the electioneering restrictions applicable to tax-exempt non-profit organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.