Churches Fight For Bigger Political Role

The division between church and state becomes more tenuous as the days go on.

Tired of being restrained by the IRS, many right-wing churches are pushing for a larger role in the nation’s political landscape and have launched a drive to break out of their tax-exempt status:

Defying a federal tax law they consider unjust, 33 ministers across the country will take to their pulpits this Sunday and publicly endorse a candidate for president.

They plan to then send copies of their sermons to the Internal Revenue Service, hoping to provoke a challenge to a law that bars religious organizations and other nonprofits that accept tax-deductible contributions from involvement in partisan political campaigns.

The protest, called Pulpit Freedom Sunday, was organized by the Alliance Defense Fund, a consortium of Christian lawyers that fights for conservative religious and social causes. When the fund first announced the protest this year, it said it planned to have 50 ministers taking part. As of Thursday it said it had hundreds of volunteers, but had selected only 33 who were fully aware of the risks and benefits.

As the ADF organizes its forces, activists in California are instructing Churches on how to fight for Proposition 8, a ballot measure aimed at reversing this year’s gay marriage win. This isn’t the first time religious organizations have played a role in politics, but the determination of these recent actions indicates a more aggressive push against our nation’s constitutional foundation. And it’s really, really scary.