ADF Challenges Church, State Divide

Alliance Defense Fund sure loves a good brouhaha!

Still stinging from their loss here in New York – you know, when the Arizona-based group sued New York Governor David Paterson for recognizing out-of-state marriages – ADF’s now cooking up another overbearing protest.

Federal law prohibits churches and the such from endorsing a particular political candidate. As tax-exempt organizations, they’re supposed to sit on their hands and leave matters to the voters. Distraught over this church/state organization, ADF’s urging houses of worship to back candidates, thus forcing a Supreme Court showdown:

The battle over the clergy’s privileges, rights and responsibilities in the political world is not new. Politicians of all stripes court the support — explicit or otherwise — of religious leaders. Allegations surface every political season of a preacher crossing the line.

What is different is the Alliance Defense Fund’s direct challenge to the rules that govern tax-exempt organizations. Rather than wait for the IRS to investigate an alleged violation, the organization intends to create dozens of violations and take the U.S. government to court on First Amendment grounds.

“We’re looking for churches that are serious-minded about this, churches that understand both the risks and the benefits,” Stanley said, referring to the chance that they could lose their coveted tax-exempt status or could set a precedent.

Stanley said three dozen church leaders from more than 20 states have agreed to deliver a political sermon, naming political names.

Not all preacher men and women are backing the ADF’s ridiculous protest. Two Ohio-based pastors are calling on their allies to speak out against what they call a “stunt.”