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1,600 pastors to IRS: Stay out of our pulpits! | THE JEENYUS CORNER

 

THE JEENYUS CORNER

BY BOB UNRUH

Preaching about scriptural principles and applying them to the positions of candidates for public office is not “political” speech, it’s “core religious expression from a spiritual leader to his congregants.”

That’s according to Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which reported today that nearly 1,600 pastors of churches across the nation participated in its Pulpit Initiative this past weekend.

The pastors deliberately applied biblical perspectives to the positions of candidates for public office in defiance of a regulation adopted by the Internal Revenue Service, the 1954 Johnson Amendment. ADF’s aim is to provoke a challenge from the IRS that would enable it file a lawsuit and defeat the regulation in court on constitutional grounds.

The Johnson Amendment bans churches and ministers from participating in, or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.

Supporters of the event, which began in 2008 with just 35 pastors, say the government simply cannot dictate to churches and ministers their sermon topics.

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