09/19/2008 - On Sept. 28, pastors from 20 states will give politically based sermons from the pulpit as part of a protest organized by the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal-advocacy group. The protest will challenge an Internal Revenue Code restriction that limits the political activities of charitable organizations - including churches and other religious groups - that are exempt from taxation. According to the Internal Revenue Code, religious groups may lose their tax-exempt status if they officially endorse a political candidate. The ADF says that if its protest leads the Internal Revenue Service to penalize houses of worship for their pastors' political advocacy, ADF will bring a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of these penalties.
To discuss the ADF protest and IRS restrictions on the political activities of religious organizations, the Pew Forum turns to church-state scholar Robert W. Tuttle.
Robert W. Tuttle, David R. and Sherry Kirschner Berz Research Professor of Law and Religion, The George Washington University Law School
Jesse Merriam, Research Associate, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
Read the full transcript Pastors to Protest IRS Rules on Political Advocacy on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.