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Forgive Us Our Debts?: Political Church In Iowa Faces Bankruptcy

Politicizing churches is a bad idea for lots of reasons. Not only it is illegal for non-profit organizations to endorse or oppose candidates, it also can divide congregations and lead to other types of problems.

Exhibit A is Cornerstone World Outreach, a church in Sioux City, Iowa. Last year, Cornerstone Pastor Cary K. Gordon decided to use his house of worship to launch an effort to recall three Iowa Supreme Court justices. Gordon was angry that the three, who faced retention elections, had voted to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

Pulpit Politicking Panned: Once Again, Americans Say No To Church Electioneering

In the run-up to last month’s elections, Americans United had to work overtime to combat church-based electioneering.

The Alliance Defense Fund and its allies in the Religious Right were working to persuade pastors to endorse or oppose candidates from the pulpit during Sunday services. AU repeatedly reminded pastors and congregants that such actions are a violation of federal law. Under the Internal Revenue Code, all 501(c)(3) non-profit groups are barred from intervening in campaigns by endorsing or opposing candidates.

Meeks Speaks: Chicago Mayoral Candidate Chafes At Limits On Church Politicking

Chicago mayoral candidate James T. Meeks doesn’t understand why his church can’t support his run for office.

As a pastor, he speaks from the pulpit every Sunday, mindful of the federal tax law that prevents him from seeking campaign support from his congregation.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Meeks says he follows the rules but he’s not happy about them.

From The Pews To The Polls: Candidates Visit Churches, But Clergy Stay Neutral

Yesterday was the last Sunday before Election Day, and as usual, candidates in many communities flocked to the pews in hope of getting parishioners’ votes. That’s not a violation of federal tax law, as long as churches welcome all candidates and don’t endorse one candidate over another.

In fact, many of the news media reports we’ve seen from around the country suggest that most houses of worship played by the rules.

For example, several clergy urged congregants to go out and vote, but they didn’t tell them who to vote for.

Minnesota Miscreants: Pompous Preachers Say They Will Violate Federal Law Against Church Electioneering

The Religious Right’s relentless campaign to politicize America’s pulpits may take another step forward this weekend.

According to the Minnesota Independent, two of the state’s pastors say they will endorse political candidates from the pulpit this Sunday, directly defying the federal tax law that prohibits churches and other non-profits from becoming involved with elections.

Scofflaws In The Pulpit: Tenn. Clergy Plan To Violate Federal Law Barring Church Electioneering

This Sunday, a group of Tennessee preachers is looking forward to breaking the law.

At least that’s what they told The Tennessean, which reported that seven pastors in the state will “bait” the IRS by endorsing candidates from the pulpit. A provision in the Internal Revenue Code bars all 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, which includes houses of worship, from intervening in elections.

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