Politicizing the Pulpit

By Richard Nelson

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August 12, 2016

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According to a survey by the Pew Center, nearly 1 in 10 church attendees recently heard pastors endorse or criticize a political candidate—something that is technically against the law. Nearly 1/3 of  black protestant church members heard their pastor support Hillary Clinton but this isn't just happening in black churches. White protestant churches are also challenging rigid IRS guidelines in an effort called Pulpit Freedom Sunday. This is where pastors videotape sermons of them  endorsing or speaking against candidates. The tapes are then mailed directly to the IRS challenging them to sue them. Interestingly, the IRS hasn't taken them up on the offer. There will be differences of opinion as to the wisdom of pastoral endorsements from a position often seen as above the political fray, but one thing most will agree upon is that the government has no business involving itself in the affairs of the church.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center