Some 1,400 pastors across the country will endorse candidates from the pulpit Sunday in the latest effort by religious leaders to force a showdown over the Internal Revenue Service’s ban on overt partisanship by tax-exempt groups, Religion News Service reports.
Supporters of “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” in which clergy have engaged around election time since 2008, contend the federal rules violate the separation of church and state by dictating what faith leaders can and cannot say in their sermons.
“Every pastor and every church has the right to decide what their pastor preaches from the pulpit and to not have that dictated to them by the IRS,” said Erik Stanley, a lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona group backing the effort.
Although they are explicitly violating the law, it is unlikely the participants will face any repercussions, says the news agency. Since a 2009 reorganization the IRS has not had explicit procedures for conducting church audits, leaving it largely unable to investigate politicking in the pulpit.