Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of American pastors plan on challenging the Internal Revenue Service next month, endorsing specific candidates in an attempt to force the courts to decide if politics should be allowed in the pulpit.
Dubbed "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," the Oct. 7 event marks the fourth year that churches, led by conservative group Alliance Defending Freedom, have carried out the protest. Pastors attending the event will “preach sermons that will talk about the candidates running for office” and then “make a specific recommendation
"The purpose is to make sure that the pastor -- and not the IRS -- decides what is said from the pulpit,” Stanley told FoxNews.com. “It is a head-on constitutional challenge.”
Last year hundreds of pastors participated in the special Sunday event, preaching about American politics and hot-button issues including same-sex marriage and abortion, according to The New York Times. The politically charged sermons were recorded and sent to the IRS to prove the pastors' violations of a 1954 tax code amendment banning such discourse.
The amendment, added to the code by Congress in 1954, placed new restrictions on 501(c)(3) organizations including churches, warning that such charitable organizations could lose their coveted tax-exempt statuses if they intervened in political campaigns
“The freedom of speech and the freedom of religion promised under the First Amendment means pastors have full authority to say what they want to say,” Garlow told The New York Times in 2011.
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