In 1996, Americans United launched Project Fair Play to educate religious leaders and other Americans about tax exemption and political activity. We send informational letters to clergy, and we file complaints with the IRS when there are egregious violations.
ten election cycles later, we're still at it.
WHY WE CARE
And Why You Should, Too...
WHY WE CARE
And Why You Should, Too...
In recent years, a small but aggressive band of political and religious leaders has pushed to America’s houses of worship centers of partisan politics. These activists want to turn houses of worship into cogs in a political machine that will elect candidates of their choice. In recent years, the drive has reached a fever pitch.
This misguided campaign is deeply divisive in a pluralistic nation; it blurs the legal lines between political organizations and faith groups and it threatens the integrity of religion.
Religious leaders may freely address political and social issues from the pulpit. But they may not use their faith communities’ resources to endorse or oppose candidates, donate funds to candidates’ campaigns, issue endorsements, or engage in other activities that have the effect of intervening in an election.
Federal tax law is clear: Houses of worship and other non-profit groups may not endorse or oppose candidates for public office. This is not the role for faith communities when it comes to engagement in the public realm.
We agree with Faith Leaders from across the theological and political spectrum: Let's Keep Sacred Spaces Sacred.
But it isn’t just about IRS regulations and federal laws. The majority of Americans – including the devout – oppose making houses of worship centers of partisan politics.
Pulpit politicking threatens to divide faith communities and erode the important boundary between church and state that make each distinct.
Rev. Barry Lynn leads a Project Fair Play Training for faith leaders in San Antonio, TX
At this event sponsored by the Houston Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, AU Executive Director the Rev. Barry Lynn addresses clergy and faith leaders from the Houston community about issues pertaining to religious institutions, tax exemptions and political endorsements. NOTE: This is the full version of the gathering, including Q&A.
Americans United leader Rev. Rick McLatchy leads a press conference urging for a stop to religious involvement in partisan politics in San Antonio, August 3 in front the Bexar County Courthouse.
Project Fair Play is all about educating faith leaders on the importance of keeping politics out of our places of worship. We will host trainings around the country as the 2016 election season continues, and we hope you'll join us when we are in your area! See our list of events below:
Saturday, October 15 in Irvine, CA, "Keeping Sacred Spaces Sacred" at the Community Room, Irvine Ranch Water District 15500 Sand Canyon Ave at 1:45 pm
Thursday, October 13 in Pasadena, CA "Keeping Sacred Spaces Sacred" at First United Methodist Church in Pasadena, 500 E. Colorado BLVD starting at 2 pm
Friday, September 23 in Asheville, NC, "Keeping Sacred Spaces Sacred" with Maggie Garrett also talking about church-state legislation at First United Church of Christ, 20 Oak Street from 10-2
Thursday, September 22 in Charlotte, NC, "Keeping Sacred Spaces Sacred" with Maggie Garrett also talking about church-state legislation at Selwyn Presbyterian Church, 2929 Selwyn Avenue from 10-2
Wednesday, September 21 in Durham, NC, "Keeping Sacred Spaces Sacred" with Maggie Garrett also talking about church-state legislation at First Presbyterian Church, 305 East Main Street from 10-2
Tuesday, September 20 in Greenville, NC, "Keeping Sacred Spaces Sacred" with Maggie Garrett also talking about church-state legislation at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 401 East 4th Street from 10-2
Wednesday, August 3 in San Antonio, TX, a rally for Partisan Free Houses of Worship, Religious leaders will meet on the steps on the Bexar County Courthouse (100 Dolorosa, San Antonio) to urge houses of worship to remain free of partisan activities. The event begins at 10 am.
Friday, July 22 in Indianapolis, IN Rev. Barry Lynn will be speaking at the event, "God and Government" at Indiana Interchurch Center, Krannert Room, 1100 W. 42nd Street #110, Indianapolis, IN 46208 6:30-8:30 pm
Tuesday, June 14 in Palm Coast, FL "Keeping Sacred Spaces Sacred" at the African American Cultural Society, 4422 US 1 North at 7 pm
Thursday, May 19 in Houston, TX Rev. Barry Lynn will be speaking at a Clergy Breakfast at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 1819 Heights Blvd., from 9-11 am
Tuesday, May 17 in San Antonio, TX Rev. Barry Lynnwill be speaking at a clergy luncheon, 3233 N. St. Mary's Street at noon
Tuesday, May 10 in Des Moines, IA "Keeping Sacred Spaces Sacred" at First Christian Church, 2500 University Avenue, from 12-1 pm, Bring your own lunch!
Thursday, May 5 in Philadelphia, PA "Keeping Sacred Spaces Sacred" at the Free Library, 19th & Vine Streets, Room 405 from 7-8:30 pm