September 30, 2008

Politics from the Pulpit

by David Masters

More than 30 pastors across 22 US states preached politics from the pulpit this Sunday, endorsing their preferred presidential candidate and asking their congregations to vote according to the Scriptures.

In the US, pastors who make political speeches disqualify themselves from tax-exempt status.

The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) wants the ban on politics in church lifted, and orchestrated the effort to get pastors to endorse political candidates.

Transcripts from the sermons at all the churches taking part will be sent to the IRS with the aim of sparking a legal battle.

Once the issue is taken to court, the conservative ADF hopes the ban will be lifted.

Critics say the plans are divisive, and unlikely to succeed.

The Interfaith Alliance has gone as far to launch a counter-campaign, with almost 200 members of the clergy signing a pledge not to back a candidate on behalf of their house of worship.

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