Sunday, October 7, 2012
More than 1,000 religious leaders across America will take part today in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” a plan that has pastors endorsing political candidates from the pulpit in defiance of an Internal Revenue Service rule.
Pastors are hoping their bold move will prompt the IRS to enforce the 1954 tax code, the so-called Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax-exempt organizations, such as churches, from making political endorsements. The law states it is illegal for 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.”
Alliance Defending Freedom, which is holding the summit, said it wants the IRS to press the matter so it can be decided in court. The group believes the law violates the First Amendment by “muzzling” preachers.
“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.”