Pulpit Initiative | Pulpit Freedom Sunday

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Description:  Pulpit Freedom Sunday is an event associated with the Pulpit Initiative, a legal effort designed to secure the free speech rights of pastors in the pulpit. Pulpit Freedom Sunday encourages pastors to exercise their constitutionally protected freedom to speak truth into every area of life from the pulpit. Alliance Defending Freedom also hopes to eventually go to court to have the Johnson Amendment struck down as unconstitutional for its regulation of sermons, which are protected by the First Amendment.

ADF: Free Speech Fairness Act is legally sound, needed

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Erik Stanley regarding the Free Speech Fairness Act, a bill that Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and Rep. Jody Hice, R- Ga., introduced in the House on Wednesday that would restrict enforcement of the Johnson Amendment against churches and other non-profit groups for whom the law was never intended:

“The IRS has no business acting as the speech police of any non-profit organization, as its many scandals over recent years have made clear. This bill corrects an unconstitutional restriction put in place in 1954 that was never intended to affect churches and other non-profit groups but has been used to intimidate them ever since. By removing the threat of an IRS investigation and potential penalties based simply, for example, on what a pastor says from the pulpit, this bill brings the law into conformity with the First Amendment. No tax exemption can be based on a requirement that a church or any other non-profit organization give up a constitutionally protected freedom, including free speech. With regard to churches, they can decide for themselves what they should or shouldn’t say from the pulpit. Americans don’t need the IRS to be the referee.”

ADF has been actively seeking to end the enforcement of the Johnson Amendment against churches through its Pulpit Freedom Sunday effort since 2008.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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Additional resources: Pulpit Initiative | Pulpit Freedom Sunday

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Previous news releases:

  • 2016-09-27: News conference Wednesday on new Free Speech Fairness Act
  • 2015-01-28: ADF joins panel discussion on vague tax laws muzzling nonprofits, churches
  • 2014-10-10: Pulpit Freedom participation exceeds 1,800 pastors, continues through Election Day
  • 2014-10-02: Pulpit Freedom Sunday vs. IRS
  • 2013-06-07: Pastors to again stand for pulpit freedom this weekend
  • 2012-10-05: Record 1,500 pastors to participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday this weekend
  • 2012-10-01: All present for pulpit freedom: pastors in 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico will fight IRS
  • 2012-09-26: Grand total: More than 1,000 pastors to challenge IRS
  • 2011-09-30: Participation in ADF Pulpit Freedom Sunday more than quadruples over last year
  • 2011-09-12: 86 percent of pastors say gov’t shouldn’t regulate sermons under threat of revoking tax exemption
  • 2010-09-27: Participants in annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday increase for third year
  • 2010-09-23: Pastors ready for third-annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday on Sept. 26
  • 2010-06-22: ADF agrees to represent SD church reported to IRS
  • 2010-02-17: ADF attorney to debate at Stanford Law School on IRS religious speech restrictions
  • 2009-10-05: Maine churches threatened with IRS complaints for supporting marriage
  • 2009-09-24: Pastors ready for second annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday on Sept. 27
  • 2009-07-28: IRS withdraws audit on Minn. pastor’s sermons
  • 2008-09-29: ADF prepared to defend churches against possible IRS free speech investigations
  • 2008-09-25: Pulpit Freedom Sunday
  • 2008-05-09: ADF announces new initiative to reclaim pastors’ First Amendment rights

  • Erik Stanley: Pulpit freedom hasn’t existed in America since 1954 (CNS News, 2016-08-17)
  • Jeffery Ventrella: Politics and the pulpit: Profane, provocative, or prudent? (Part 1) (Canon and Culture, 2014-11-03)
  • Erik Stanley: IRS to churches: To exercise free speech, give up your tax-exempt status (CNS News, 2014-10-15)
  • Erik Stanley: IRS apologizes, more apologies necessary (Townhall.com, 2013-05-30)
  • Erik Stanley: Government can’t require churches to abandon constitutional freedoms (Townhall.com, 2012-10-08)
  • Alan Sears: Why pastors must be free to preach on politics (Townhall.com, 2011-10-05)
  • Erik Stanley: IRS has no business telling pastors how to choose their words (Washington Times, 2011-10-02)
  • Erik Stanley: What is Pulpit Freedom Sunday all about? (Townhall.com, 2011-09-14)

Legal documents, related news, and other related resources available in the right panel when this page is viewed at ADFmedia.org.