Yesterday had been declared “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” by a group of activist pastors and a conservative legal organization. Over a thousand pastors purposefully violated the law by endorsing, by name, a political candidate, something non-profit organizations are not allowed to do. They recorded their endorsement sermons and are all going to send a copy to the IRS.
The idea is to force the IRS to take action against them, setting up a court challenge on the grounds that the law violates the Constitution’s guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. See Pastors to take on IRS in plan to preach politics from the pulpit | Fox News.
Did any of you pastors take part in this act of civil disobedience? Did any of you attend a church where this happened? Do you know of any Lutheran churches that participated (which would seem to be a clear violation not only of the secular law but of Lutheran doctrine with its Two Kingdoms theology)?
Doesn’t this violate Romans 13? Shouldn’t the churches that did this lose their tax exempt status? After all, civil disobedience includes taking the punishment for violating the law. If churches want to exercise a political authority–something that the Reformation utterly opposed when the Pope did this sort of thing–shouldn’t they just abandon their tax exempt status so they can function like other political organizations? Is it really unconstitutional? Or is there a case to be made for Pulpit Freedom Sunday? If so, what is it?