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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.

Texas Church Pays $400,000 To Settle Case Over Political Activity

A Texas church is upset that it had to pay more than $400,000 as part of a lawsuit challenging some partisan political activity it undertook several years ago.

In a recent letter to the El Paso Times, Bishop Tom Brown disclosed that his organization, Word of Life Church, paid former El Paso Mayor John Cook $418,750 after Brown led an allegedly unlawful effort to remove then-Mayor Cook and two other then-city officials from office because they helped pass an LGBTQ rights law.

AU Sends Letters Reminding Churches To Remain Non-Partisan

Americans United in September mailed letters to 100,000 houses of worship nationwide, reminding religious leaders that it is a violation of federal law if they use church resources to endorse or oppose candidates for office this election season.

In the letter, Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn explained what houses of worship can and can’t do when it comes to political activity.

Pulpit Politicking – A Threat To America’s Houses Of Worship

By The Rev. Dr. Rollin O. Russell

Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump has been telling audiences for months now that he wants to abolish the federal law that says non-profit, tax-exempt organizations can’t engage in partisan political activity by endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.

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.

Trumpeting Church Politicking

When it comes to the matter of houses of worship endorsing political candidates, Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump said he is out to make Religious Right dreams come true. 

The federal tax code currently prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profits, including religious institutions, from using their resources to intervene in elections by endorsing or opposing candidates for public office. But during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in July, Trump promised to do away with that longstanding prohibition if he wins the presidency.

Pulpit Politicking: Trump Proposal Is A Huge Mistake

Donald Trump wants to repeal the federal law that bars tax-exempt groups, including houses of worship, from intervening in partisan politics by endorsing or opposing political candidates. Trump, the Republican nominee for president, has some unusual ideas; this is among his worst.

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.