Trainings for Religious Leaders

Americans United sponsors special trainings for clergy and lay leaders around the country. These meetings give clergy an opportunity to meet with experts from the Americans United staff for an interactive, hands-on session with plenty of time for questions, as well as to collaborate and learn from fellow religious leaders.

These sessions, titled “Keeping Sacred Spaces Sacred: A Discussion on Pulpit Politicking,” are facilitated discussions designed to lead to a deeper understanding of the role that faith communities can take in public engagement. The workshops take a positive stance, urging participants to envision what faithful and constructive public engagement looks like and how faith communities can engage in advocacy and organizing without causing others harm or violating the tax rules. The goal is to equip clergy and lay leaders with useful, practical information about what they can do politically, in the hope of channeling energies into appropriate forms of activism that engage congregations while respecting the laws of the land.

Watch: November 2016 Facebook Live Discussion with Faith Leaders

Letters to Religious Leaders

Every presidential election and mid-term election year, Americans United sends letters to houses of worship nationwide that are designed to help them understand the current law. The letters note houses of worship and religious leaders can engage in plenty of activities during elections years, such as registering voters in a non-partisan fashion, addressing important issues of the day, and reminding congregants that voting is good civic behavior. The only activity that is not permitted is the endorsement or opposition of candidates. (The letter also warns against the distribution of biased “voter guides,” often produced by partisan organizations that are not tax-exempt, that clearly promote one candidate over another.)

In 2016, we sent 100,000 letters to clergy from a cross section of U.S. religious denominations in all 50 states, explaining the "do's and dont's" when it comes to elections.