Record 1,500 Pastors to Stand for Freedom This Weekend

churchSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Nearly 1,500 pastors in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have registered to participate in Alliance Defending Freedom’s fifth annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday. In just the last week, registration rose from a record 1,050 to 1,477 and continues to grow as registration stays open through the date of the event, this Sunday.

The registered pastors have committed to preach sermons that present biblical perspectives on the positions of electoral candidates. 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.

“Pastors should decide what they preach from the pulpit, not the IRS,” said Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “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?’”

“No government-recognized status can be conditioned upon the surrender of a constitutionally protected right,” Stanley explained. “No one would suggest a pastor give up his church’s tax-exempt status if he wants to keep his constitutional protection against illegal search and seizure or cruel and unusual punishment. Likewise, no one should be asking him to give up his church’s tax-exempt status to be able to keep his constitutionally protected right to free speech.”

Pulpit Freedom Sunday is an event associated with the Pulpit Initiative, a legal effort designed to secure the free speech rights of pastors in the pulpit. Alliance Defending Freedom hopes to eventually go to court to have the Johnson Amendment struck down as unconstitutional for its regulation of sermons, which are protected by the First Amendment.

Pulpit Freedom Sunday began in 2008 with 33 participating pastors. Participation increased each year, with last year’s participation blossoming to 539.

national phone survey conducted by Alliance Defending Freedom and LifeWay Research with 1,000 randomly drawn senior pastors prior to last year’s Pulpit Freedom Sunday found that nearly nine out of 10 Protestant pastors believe that the government should not regulate their sermons.

Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

This article is printed with the permission of the author(s). Opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of American Clarion or Dakota Voice LLC.

Comment Rules: Please confine comments to salient ones that add to the topic; Profanity is not allowed and will be deleted; Spam, copied statements and other material not comprised of the reader’s own opinion will be deleted.


Similar Posts:

Newswire articles originate from a variety of sources including wire services, press releases and more. Newswire pieces are written by a representative of the person or organization that is the subject or source of the article and are presented as informational statements about the subject discussed.
Newswire
View all articles by Newswire
Leave a comment with your Facebook login
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Publius-Huldah/100000104874733 Publius Huldah

    It’s about time our Pastors took off their lace panties and started teaching the Word of God.

    But it would be a mistake to “file a lawsuit”. We must repudiate our permission seeking mindset. Pastors don’t need the permission of the federal courts to teach the Word of God! Just do it! God never put The Church under the control of federal judges.

    • http://www.americanclarion.com/ Bob Ellis

      That’s one of the things I like so much about ADF’s approach with the Pulpit Initiative. Instead of filing a lawsuit asking permission to exercise a God-given right, pastors are JUST DOING IT. They’re leaving it up to the IRS/federal government to attempt to suppress their freedom, and when they resist that attempt to quash their freedom, they’ll win.

      And the IRS knows they’ll win, because in five years of doing this, the IRS has yet to lift a finger. At this point, the IRS gets more mileage out of ignorance and intimidation among those pastors who are still afraid to stand up and exercise their freedom.