Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Should Churches Get Out the Vote, Or Get Outta Politics?

Is it wrong for pastors to endorse a particular political candidate? How about church members passing out pamphlets on abortion or same-sex marriage when there's an upcoming vote on these issues?

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced a crackdown on political activities by churches. Standing laws prohibit certain political activities by tax-exempt organizations, including supporting one political party or candidate.

The IRS is also taking issue with churches that engage in activities that favor a particular candidate including: inviting only one candidate to address their congregation, publicly commending a candidate, or highlighting a group of political issues that are obviously espoused by a particular candidate.

The tax code allows churches to register voters and express views on political issues.

Meanwhile, a coalition of nonprofit conservative groups is planning to enlist help from Pennsylvania pastors in getting voters to the November elections.

To ponder:
1) Are churches too political, or not political enough?

2) Should churches be able to endorse or support a particular candidate? Why or why not?

Pastors' Get-Out-the-Vote Training Could Test Tax Rules

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