Why won’t the IRS prosecute pastors that endorse candidates from the pulpit?
“American United has filed more than 100 of these complain[t]s this year alone. The IRS has dropped all of them, but has not said why,” concludes WCCO’s Reg Chapman in this story about Hastings Pastor Brad Brandon.
Pastor Brandon came under attack by Americans United for Separation of Church and State for endorsing political candidates from the pulpit.
Good question Reg!
MFC suggests the reason the IRS has dropped all the complaints is because they know the restrictions on pastors’ speech are unconstitutional and that they would lose in court.
Behind the scenes, the Alliance Defense Fund is encouraging pastors across the country to speak out from the pulpit on the political issues of the day. If a complaint is filed, they will defend the pastor all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Imagine the backlash if the IRS tried to prosecute 100 churches for exercising free speech.
WCCO reports that the “’11 candidates he endorsed are listed on the church's website. The list includes Republican Tom Emmer for Governor, eight other republicans, an independent and a constitution candidate.’”
In response, the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service. “They want the IRS to take away the church's tax-exempt status,” reports Chapman. “’Pastor Brandon has pulled his tax-exempt church into partisan politics in blatant violation fo federal law,’ said American United’s executive director.”
That “federal law” was quietly slipped into a bill sponsored by then Sen. Lyndon Johnson in 1954 who wanted to silence critics of his campaign in Texas. Prior to that, pastors could and did speak out on election related issues and candidates.
Brandon wants the law overturned – and so does MFC. Encourage your pastor to speak out and defend free speech in the pulpit. "I'd love to see the IRS do something. I'd love to fight this in court and I would love to see a judge look me in the eye and say that the Johnson Amendment is constitutional," said Brandon.
CLICK HERE to see the broadcast.