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Does The IRS Really Take Political Activity By Churches As ‘Seriously’ As It Claims?

It seems in recent years that whenever churches break the federal law prohibiting houses of worship and other 501(c)(3) non-profits from endorsing or opposing candidates, the Internal Revenue Service treats those violations with a shrug. And with all the talk this election season about repealing that anti-politicking law, Americans United felt it necessary to ask the IRS what it plans to do going forward to enforce a law that is good for both democracy and faith.    

Go Ahead And Break The Law, Ky. Governor Tells Pastors

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) had a major ethics lapse recently when he advised clergy to break the law.

In an address to a group of pastors at the governor’s mansion, Bevin told them that even though the federal tax code prohibits houses of worship (and other 501(c)(3) organizations) from endorsing or opposing candidates for office, the Internal Revenue Service is just a “paper tiger” so there’s nothing to worry about.

Join AU's Week Of Action Against Pulpit Politicking!

One of the things I love about working at Americans United is the religious diversity, both among our staff and among the many people across the United States who fight alongside us for religious freedom for all people.

Though I know there are things we disagree on in terms of our religious beliefs, we are united in a common passion for a common goal – to ensure religious/philosophical freedom for all and to refuse to allow religion to be used to harm or discriminate against others.

Americans Really, Really Don’t Like Partisan Politicking From The Pulpit

There has been more debate than ever this campaign season about whether or not houses of worship should be permitted to endorse or oppose candidates for office. This is mostly thanks to Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, who has repeatedly said that if he is elected he will end legal restrictions that keep churches from acting like political action committees.

N.Y. Democratic Candidate Thinks Same-Sex Couples Should Be Barred From Public School Textbooks

A Democrat running for state office in New York said if elected, he’ll work to ensure that photos of same-sex couples do not appear in public school textbooks.

S.J. Jung is challenging incumbent state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Queens) for her seat. Stavisky, who defeated Jung back in 2014, voted to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. It seems that move didn’t sit well with Jung, who is hoping to rally anti-gay voters to his cause.

Road To Nowhere: N.C. Pastor Endorsed Trump In Hopes Of Getting ‘Dual Citizenship’ Through The UN

Earlier this month, a church in Charlotte, N.C., raised eyebrows when its leaders announced that it would hold a “Day of Endorsement” for Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.

Faith First: Survey Finds Most Clergy Don’t Endorse Candidates From The Pulpit – But Some Still Ignore The Law

With politics and religion intermingling quite a bit this campaign season, the Pew Research Center for Religion & Public Life decided to investigate how often pastors discuss politics and social issues from their pulpits. The results were pretty encouraging for those who believe churches should respect the law and stay away from activities designed to endorse or oppose candidates – but they also show there’s still a lot of work to be done.  

Bad Idea: Trump Repeats Call To Let Churches Endorse Candidates

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reiterated his desire to change a federal law that prohibits houses of worship from endorsing candidates during his speech last night at the Republican National Convention (RNC).  

Trump said:

“At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical community who have been so good to me and so supportive. You have so much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits.

Inappropriate Appropriations: U.S. House Approves Spending Bill Limiting Reproductive Rights While Boosting School Vouchers And Pulpit Politicking

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an important appropriations bill (H.R. 5485) yesterday that will help fund the federal government for the next year. Tucked into this legislation are three troubling provisions that would weaken church-state separation and harm true religious liberty.

Some members of Congress are working to limit true religious freedom.