Will churches hear from IRS?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

Pulpit Freedom Sunday drew a record number of pastors to speak out on candidates and issues with a biblical perspective.

Over the weekend, 1,586 churches in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico participated. Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Erik Stanley tells OneNewsNow it was the largest Pulpit Freedom Sunday to date.

Stanley, Erik (ADF)"We're excited and encouraged to see that many pastors standing together, united to proclaim that they have a constitutional right to speak freely from their pulpit," he tells OneNewsNow. "That's what it's all about ... getting the government out of the pulpits of America once and for all."

The problem, he explains, is the 1954 Johnson Amendment, which restricts what pastors can say from the pulpit, including endorsement of political candidates at the risk of losing tax-exempt status.

Stanley says that as in previous years, ADF is in a wait-and-see mode.

"... We're still waiting to see whether the IRS is going to react, and we'll continue to wait," he comments. "So if they do, we will be prepared to represent these pastors and churches and to seek to have the Johnson Amendment declared unconstitutional and removed from the books once and for all."

At present every American has a constitutionally protected right to free speech -- except for pastors, who are subject to the Johnson Amendment.

This year's event was the fourth Pulpit Freedom Sunday. One of the pastors who spoke out this year was Pastor Jim Garlow of San Diego, who told his congregation he would be voting for Mitt Romney - and explained why.

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