Last week, we wrote to Interfaith Alliance’s members about the Alliance Defense Fund’s (ADF) manipulative “Pulpit Initiative,” a project encouraging Christian pastors to preach a sermon on September 28th – this Sunday – “intended to challenge the Internal Revenue Code’s restrictions by specifically opposing candidates for office that do not align themselves and their positions with the Scriptural truth,” according to the ADF’s website.
Today, USA Today features a report that:
Four in 10 Americans believe that religious leaders should be permitted to endorse political candidates from the pulpit without risking their organization’s tax-exempt status, a new survey by the First Amendment Center shows. […] The finding was based on a new question in the Washington-based center’s annual “State of the First Amendment” national survey. When asked to name specific rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, just 15% mentioned religion, the lowest percentage to recall that topic since 2000.
While the study shows most American’s don’t want clergy campaigning for their favorite political candidate, it also illustrates a growing disconnect in our thoughts about religion and the Constitution. What the ADF and the pastors who plan to participate don’t understand is that the IRS Code protects houses of worship from being turned into a political convention hall. Without that Code, money put into the collection plate on Sunday could be used to line politicians’ coffers on Monday, leaving our religious freedom in ruins.
To fight back against the ADF and encourage religious leaders around the country to speak about the issues of the day, not the candidates, Interfaith Alliance has launched its Clergy Pledge nationwide. We now have signatures from more than 175 clergy around the country who have taken action, vowing to keep partisanship out of houses of worship and to protect both religious freedom and the First Amendment.
You can help by sending our Clergy Pledge to the leader of your congregation. Together, we’ll unite diverse voices to challenge extremism and build common ground, during the election and beyond.