Reporting Violations to the IRS

Although Americans United’s emphasis is always on educating clergy, lay leaders, and congregants in the hopes of heading off violations of the “no-politicking” law, there are, unfortunately, instances every year of blatant violations of the law. Some of these are due to a lack of knowledge about the law, but most are not. A large Religious Right group, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), has been prodding pastors to openly violate the law. Every election year, ADF hosts a mis-named event called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” during which pastors are urged to endorse or oppose candidates during sermons.

In cases of clear violations of the law, Americans United has in the past sent complaints to the Internal Revenue Service. In recent years, we have urged the individuals who have contacted us with examples of pulpit politicking to file their own complaints, pointing them to a form on the IRS website that can be used for this purpose. The idea is to show the IRS that this issue is of concern to a growing number of Americans and that they want to see the law enforced.