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Topic: politicizing the pulpit

Churches preached politics from the pulpit; AU to report violations of IRS law on separation of church and state

 

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Church-State watchdog group, condemns religious right plan to politicize pulpits today.

Houses of worship that flagrantly violated federal tax law by taking part in a Religious Right-led effort to politicize America’s pulpits today will be promptly reported to the Internal Revenue Service, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a Religious Right legal group based in Arizona, is urging pastors to endorse or oppose candidates from the pulpit on Sept. 28, even though IRS regulations forbid tax-exempt groups from intervening in political campaigns. Reportedly, about 30 churches will participate.

“Taking part in this reckless stunt is a one-way ticket to loss of tax exemption,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “We’ll be watching, and pastors who violate the law can expect their churches to be reported to the IRS the first thing Monday morning.”

Since 1996, Americans United has sponsored Project Fair Play, an effort designed to educate religious leaders about the requirements of federal tax law. AU has filed complaints to the IRS about 85 houses of worship and religious non-profits. One church lost its tax exemption, some have been audited and others have received IRS warnings. Lynn noted that tax exemption is a privilege and it comes with certain limitations. «Read the rest of this article»

 



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