by Steven Ertelt/LifeNews.com
In so doing, they will exercise their constitutionally protected freedom to engage in religious expression from the pulpit despite an Internal Revenue Service rule known as the Johnson Amendment that activist groups often use to silence churches by threatening their tax-exempt status.
Groups such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State have taken advantage of the vagueness of the tax law and have reported churches to the IRS in an attempt to remove their tax-exempt status. The organization has also sent threatening letters to church warning them not to allow election literature from pro-life groups to be distributed on their property.
The pastors are participating in Alliance Defending Freedom’s fifth annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday and the figure of 1,000 pastors doubles doubling last year’s participation. Registration continues until October 7, so the number continues to rise.
“Pastors should decide what they preach from the pulpit, not the IRS,” said Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley of ADF. “It’s outrageous for pastors and churches to be threatened or punished by the government for applying biblical teachings to all areas of life, including candidates and elections. The question is, ‘Who should decide the content of sermons: pastors or the IRS?’