BLOGPastors, It’s Time to Free America’s Pulpits from IRS Control

By Erik W. Stanley Posted on: | September 19, 2017

When preaching from the pulpit, your responsibility, as a pastor, is to faithfully proclaim the whole counsel of God to the people.

But unfortunately in America, a law known as the Johnson Amendment forces you to check with the government before speaking freely about certain biblical matters. For more than 60 years, the government has used the Johnson Amendment to monitor and censor what you say from the pulpit.

Under the Johnson Amendment, your First Amendment rights have become bargaining chips to be exchanged for a tax status. Pastors who share truth on certain biblical issues could risk intrusive IRS audits, incur steep fines, and even jeopardize their church’s tax-exempt status.

So what “certain biblical issues” are we talking about?

Issues that were once clearly understood as spiritual matters, such as the sanctity of life and marriage, have been politicized. And the IRS can use that against churches, threatening them with taking away their tax-exempt status if they dare mention these “political” issues from the pulpit in a way the IRS doesn’t like.

But as pastors, you must be able to speak freely on all matters that God puts on your heart—without fear of government punishment.

After nearly ten years of ADF legal advocacy to fix the Johnson Amendment and restore a pastor’s right to speak freely from the pulpit, the IRS has still refused to allow a court challenge to this unconstitutional law.


Now, it’s time for Congress to act. But we need your help.

We are asking pastors across the country, like you, to sign on to a letter asking Congress to pass a fix for this law: the Free Speech Fairness Act (FSFA).

The FSFA would return to you the freedom to follow God’s prompting on what you preach from the pulpit without fearing government punishment.

By signing your name to the letter, your voice will join a nationwide movement of pastors calling on Congress to pass the Free Speech Fairness Act and putting an end to IRS intimidation and censorship. The IRS simply cannot be trusted with our constitutionally protected rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion, as it has shown time after time.

Your signature alongside those of pastors across the nation will bring needed awareness to our leaders in Congress that this is an issue that they must make right. 

Sign the Letter

Erik W. Stanley

Senior Counsel, Director of the Center for Christian Ministries

Erik W. Stanley serves with Alliance Defending Freedom as senior counsel and director of the Center for Christian Ministries.

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