This past Sunday more than 1500 congregations were blessed with a sermon on politics. More than 1,500 pastors joined Pulpit Freedom Sunday, challenging the IRS’s rules on what churches can and can’t say about elections.
The annual challenge is part of Alliance Defending Freedom’s (ADF) outreach and was first accomplished in 2008. I am proud to say that my pastor, Scott Craig of the Big Horn Canyon Ministries in Rapid City, SD was one of them. In fact, he was one of the original 33 pastors in the first Pulpit Freedom Sunday challenge in 2008. Since then, the number of churches involved has absolutely exploded, making yesterday’s event the most successful yet. The pastors record their sermons exhorting their congregations to vote for specific candidates, and submit them to the IRS.
The ADF launched the initiative to overtly challenge the 1954 tax code called the Johnson Amendment, which bans tax-exempt organizations from making political endorsements. “The purpose is to make sure that the pastor and not the IRS decides what is said from the pulpit,” said ADF’s Erik Stanley.
The IRS has never taken action on the thousands of recorded sermons it has received. It is likely that the IRS will continue its hesitance to enforce the Johnson Amendment to avoid a court challenge it is likely to lose.
The past four years under the Obama regime has seen nearly constant unprecedented attacks on religious liberty, and now churches are starting to exercise their authority to declare truth with boldness.
Now the ball is in the Obama administration’s court, and we’ll see how they respond. Perhaps now the battle will be joined.
***Ed Randazzo, is a nationally syndicated author. He has been a conservative activist and consultant for over 30 years and is currently the Chief News Editor of Life and Liberty Media and Co-Producer of Liberty Today, a weekly television program seen on cable systems in most of South Dakota***
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