October 7 – Pulpit Freedom Sunday

Sunday, October 7, 2012
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

Today is "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," a project of Alliance Defending Freedom. At press time, nearly 1,500 pastors had signed up to participate in the project in which pastors will speak out on moral issues related to political campaigns, and some will endorse candidates. ADF says all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico are represented in that group of pastors.

Erik Stanley, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, supports the event.

Stanley, Erik (ADF)"Pulpit Freedom Sunday has really become a nationwide movement of pastors who are reclaiming their constitutional right to decide what is said from their pulpits -- and to not be intimidated when they stand and proclaim biblical truth, even in the realm of politics and in candidates and elections," says Stanley.

 "These pastors are believing that politicians should not get a free pass from moral and biblical scrutiny during election season."

Pastors are currently prohibited by law (a rule known as the "Johnson Amendment") and IRS regulations and could lose tax-exempt status if they speak up on these issues. ADF says activist groups often use these stipulations to silence churches by threatening that status.

The ADF attorney explains that the goal of Pulpit Freedom Sunday is to accomplish one of two things.

"Either to generate a test case -- because we believe when this issue goes to court it's not going to take long for a federal judge to strike this down as unconstitutional," says Stanley. "Or secondly, that we become so strong a voice of pastors who are rising up and reclaiming their constitutional rights that either Congress repeals this unconstitutional law, or that it just falls by the wayside and it becomes very clear that the IRS is not going to enforce it against a pastors' sermon."

"The question is: Who should decide the content of sermons: pastors or the IRS?

Stanley says he is excited to see the program growing year by year. Only 33 pastors took the step when Pulpit Freedom Sunday began in 2008, and it has grown to well over a thousand in just four years.

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