The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Preachers, Politics, and the IRS

From the LA Times:

Setting the stage for a collision of religion and politics, Christian ministers from California and 21 other states will use their pulpits Sunday to deliver political sermons or endorse presidential candidates — defying a federal ban on campaigning by nonprofit groups.

The pastors’ advocacy could violate the Internal Revenue Service’s rules against political speech with the purpose of triggering IRS investigations.

The group that’s fronting this-um, stunt-is the conservative Alliance Defense Fund. According to their site, their purpose is to “[defend] the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.” The background on this little project, called the “Pulpit Initiative,” stems from a line-referred to as the “Johnson Amendment” by ADF-in the Internal Revenue Code that prohibits churches and other non-profit organizations from supporting or endorsing a candidate for Congress (from my reading, seems a church would be considered a 501(c)(3)).

More from ADF:

The Internal Revenue Service, in conjunction with radical organizations like Americans United for Separation of Church and State, have used the Johnson amendment to create an atmosphere of intimidation and fear for any church that dares to speak Scriptural truth about candidates for office or issues. 

It is time for the intimidation and threats to end.  Churches and pastors have a constitutional right to speak freely and truthfully from the pulpit – even on candidates and voting – without fearing loss of their tax exemption.


Obviously, this is a conservative ploy of some sort. A cursory Google search of the two pastors participating in this shows that they already have had IRS beefs for either outwardly supporting (Huckabee) or opposing (Obama/Clinton) candidates. So, I don’t think this has a whole lot to “speaking Scriptural truth,” unless said “truth” benefits or opposes a certain candidate.

Which leads me here: let’s say Bishop Long wants to come out and endorse Obama, based on what he feels is “Scriptural truth.” And the IRS snatches his tax exemption. Does the ADF rush to his defense? Or do they let him get hammered because he’s not preaching what they “want” him to?

Besides, haven’t we had enough of pastors playing politics?




Written by Coby Dillard

September 25, 2008 at 10:45 am

Posted in Editorials

Tagged with , ,

%d bloggers like this: