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Topic: federal tax law

Americans United advises Houses of Worship to refrain from “pulpit politicking”


Church-State watchdog group sends 100,000 letters to religious leaders nationwide

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is advising houses of worship nationwide to respect federal tax law and stay out of partisan politics.

Americans United announced today that 100,000 letters have been mailed to clergy and lay leaders reminding them that federal tax law prohibits tax-exempt entities, including houses of worship, from endorsing candidates.

“Houses of worship are supposed to tend to spiritual needs and do charitable work, not act as political action committees,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “Our letter reminds religious leaders about what the law requires, why it makes sense and how it could affect them.” «Read the rest of this article»

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Americans United Asks IRS to investigate Arkansas church for political endorsement


Church-State watchdog group says Pastor violated federal tax law with call to vote for McCain

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate an Arkansas church whose pastor endorsed John McCain from the pulpit Oct. 12.

According to a report in the Associated Press, Bishop Robert Smith of Word of Outreach Christian Center in Little Rock told congregants, “I will be voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin.”

Smith later admitted that he took this action fully aware that federal tax law prohibits houses of worship from opposing or endorsing candidates. He told the Associated Press, “It’s about principle. I wouldn’t care if it’s my mother. If she isn’t for life or for heterosexual relationships, I wouldn’t vote for my momma.”

Smith’s violation of the law was part of a larger effort coordinated by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a Religious Right legal group. The ADF sponsored a so-called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” Sept. 28 during which pastors were urged to violate federal tax law by endorsing or opposing candidates from the pulpit. Smith had planned to take part in that event but was out of town at the time. «Read the rest of this article»

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