IssuesDefending the Voice of the Church

Church Political & Cultural Involvement

Churches do not have to sit idly by during election season or when moral and biblical issues confront the culture. You may have heard that IRS tax codes prevent any political activities by churches and pastors. That’s simply not true.

What are the rights of churches?

Pastors have the same rights as all other American citizens to involve themselves in political activity. Alliance Defending Freedom believes that the portion of the tax code (commonly referred to as the Johnson Amendment) that places restrictions on what a pastor may say from the pulpit is unconstitutional. Our Pastors, Churches, & Politics legal guide will help you and your church stay within the tax code laws and regulations concerning political activities.

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Americans United for the Separation of Church & State (AU) sends out letters every year near election season designed to intimidate churches and pastors into remaining silent. The letters are full of vague statements and misleading examples. To learn the real facts, read this straightforward point-by-point explanation.

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Churches and Voter Drives

Churches have the freedom to encourage their members and others to vote, as long as it’s done in a non-partisan fashion, according to the Tax Guide for Religious Organizations.

Churches can:

  • Distribute non-partisan voter guides and registration packets.
  • Have voter registration booths. The booth can use signs or banners containing the name of the church and slogans encouraging people to vote. It cannot mention particular candidates or parties unless it is necessary for the registration process. For instance, if the registrant must choose a political party in order to register, the church may provide them with a list of parties from which to choose.
  • Encourage people to fulfill their moral and ethical obligation to vote, as long as it's done in a non-partisan manner.

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Does federal law allow churches to lobby for or against legislation, ballot initiatives, or referenda?

Yes. Learn more about what churches can do by reading our Campaign Finance Law FAQ.

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The Good Fight

Affirming marriage in North Carolina hinged on individual courage and a rock-solid alliance.

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Case: Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church v. Unsworth

"An unregulated, unregistered press is important to our democracy. So are unregulated, unregistered churches. Churches have played an important – no, an essential – part in the democratic life of the United States.... Is it necessary to evoke…historic struggles and the great constitutional benefits won for the country by its churches in order to decide this case of petty bureaucratic harassment?"

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The Greater Alliance

  • For more information about The Alliance, visit our Allies page.
 
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Q&A with Pastor Wayne Grudem

 

Question: Should Christian beliefs impact government?

 

Question: Do pastors have the right to speak from the pulpit about political, social, or cultural issues?

 

Question: Is there confusion regarding the phrase "Separation of Church and State"?

 
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What We’re Doing About It

Pulpit Freedom Sunday - In 1954, the passage of the Johnson Amendment effectively overturned the freedom of pastors to speak from their pulpit about the issues of the day. Join this growing movement of courageous pastors boldly speaking out to put an end to the Johnson Amendment.

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Protect Your Ministry

Our Protecting Your Ministry manual will help you prepare for the legal intrusions some churches, Christian schools, and ministries around the country have already faced, along with other threats on the near horizon.

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Pastors, Churches, & Politics

For pastors and church leaders:

No matter where you place yourself on the wide spectrum of Christian belief and practice, Christian leaders are often burdened by issues at the intersection of faith and politics.

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Find out More About the Silencing of Churches