Federal tax law is clear: Tax-exempt 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.
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.
In recent years, a small but aggressive group of political and religious leaders has pushed to America’s houses of worship centers of partisan politics. 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.
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.