BLOGNew Poll Confirms What We Already Know: Pastors Want IRS out of Pulpit

By Natalie Wyman Posted on: | October 17, 2017

New polling released by LifeWay Research has revealed that the overwhelming majority of pastors in America feel strongly about keeping the government out of their pulpits.

According to the poll, 91% of Protestant pastors agree that pastors should have the right to speak freely from the pulpit without fear of being penalized by the government.

Furthermore, 73% agreed that Congress should remove the IRS’s power to penalize a church because of the content of its pastor’s sermons.

These numbers make it clear that our nation’s pastors stand united behind the belief that our churches should be free to preach as their conscience requires, without fear of government interference or intimidation.

For over sixty years, a clause within Section 501(c)(3) of the Tax Code – the Johnson Amendment – has forced churches to surrender their First Amendment freedoms in exchange for a tax status, and it has empowered federal bureaucrats to censor pastors’ sermons. To make matters worse, atheist advocacy groups send menacing letters to pastors every election cycle, warning these faithful ministers that one false step will land them in the legal crosshairs.

This year, Congress has the chance to pass a legislative fix to the Johnson Amendment: the Free Speech Fairness Act. The Free Speech Fairness Act (FSFA) amends the Johnson Amendment to allow all 501(c)(3) entities to speak on political issues that occur in “the ordinary course of the organization’s regular and customary activities.”

The decision about whether a particular church or pastor talks about candidates from the pulpit should reside with that church and with that pastor. The Free Speech Fairness Act would allow churches to speak as they would in the ordinary course of their ministries without fear of IRS retribution.

A 91% majority should announce loudly and clearly to Congress why they must pass the Free Speech Fairness Act.

Join the coalition of pastors to call on Congress to overhaul the tax code and put an end to IRS intimidation and censorship. 

Natalie Wyman

Legal Assistant I

Natalie worked as a lobbyist at the Family Foundation of Virginia and a grassroots associate at Heritage Action for America before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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