What can a pastor legally say from the pulpit regarding politics, candidates and ballot initiatives? Can clergy educate their congregation on key political and social issues? When do religious leaders cross the line and put their churches in jeopardy of losing tax exempt status?
All these questions and more are answered by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in a detailed legal guide provided for pastors and churches. ADF is a national group of nearly 3,400 allied attorneys who partner with more than 1,000 organizations to defend religious liberty, freedom of speech, unborn life and marriage and family in the United States.
Many church leaders are uncertain of what they can or cannot do on behalf of the church when it comes to engaging in the ‘political arena.’
ADF’s 2020 legal guide, “Five Things to Know,” takes pastors through a step-by-step process regarding what their religious organization’s can and cannot do when it comes to local, state and national elections. The 20-page booklet is free to download online.
While there are some limits, many pastors may be surprised to learn that they have considerable liberty to weigh in on current hot-button issues, ballot measures and legislation. They can also hold candidate forums and get-out-the-vote drives, while distributing voter guides to their congregations.
“We often hear from our network of pastors, clergy, and church leaders about how they feel burdened by issues at the intersection of faith, politics and citizenship,” the guide states. “The leaders we serve are passionate about advancing justice and edifying God’s people. But given the nuances of the law, many church leaders are uncertain of what they can or cannot do on behalf of the church when it comes to engaging in the ‘political arena.’ This guide will help you navigate the laws surrounding tax-exempt status for churches.”
Click here to download a free copy of the “Five Things to Know.”