Over 1,200 pastors from across the country have signed up to challenge IRS regulations that threaten churches with the loss of their tax-exempt status if they wade into politics by participating in Pulpit Freedom Sunday this Sunday, October 7. The event, associated with the Pulpit Initiative, is being held by the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Despite IRS regulations forbidding 501c3 organizations from endorsing political candidates, pastors participating in the event are encouraged to give biblical perspectives on topics relating to the election such as abortion and gay “marriage” from the pulpit, and then to mail these sermons to the IRS.
The genesis of the problem?
The IRS regulation in question, known as the Johnson Amendment, has become a popular tool of activist groups, who routinely threaten pastors who speak up on political issues with the loss of their tax exempt status. Recently one leftist organization, Americans United, sent 60,000 letters to churches nationwide urging them not to endorse political candidates this election season.Why is ADF promoting this?
President Lyndon B. Johnson was responsible for submitting the Johnson Amendment in 1954.
In a statement on the website for the event, Alliance Defending Freedom explains, “The goal of Pulpit Freedom Sunday is simple: have the Johnson Amendment declared unconstitutional – and once and for all remove the ability of the IRS to censor what a pastor says from the pulpit.”For more information on Pulpit Freedom Sunday, go to www.pulpitfreedom.org