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
"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
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
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
The list of pastors willing to challenge the Internal Revenue
Service's rules for maintaining tax-exempt status is growing in
advance of Pulpit Freedom Sunday this weekend.