The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has released a guide for religious bodies regarding the extent to which politics can be propagated from the pulpit.
Entitled "Preaching Politics From the Pulpit" and released on Tuesday, it is the third guide on the topic that Pew has released. The previous editions were released in 2004 and 2008.
"The guide sets out in plain English the rules governing political activity that apply to nonprofit organizations (including churches and other religious groups) that are exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code," reads a description of the guide at Pew's website. more >>
Come November, voters in Florida will not only decide who goes to the White House, but also how church and state issues will operate in the Sunshine State.
Amendment 8, which will be on the ballot, seeks to overturn the state's Blaine Amendment, a measure from the nineteenth century that bans state funding of religious programs.
"Except to the extent required by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, neither the government nor any agent of the government may deny to any individual or entity the benefits of any program, funding, or other support on the basis of religious identity or belief," reads the Amendment 8 language in part. more >>
Phoenix city council members struck down an ordinance on Wednesday that prohibited people from handing out free drinking water in public. The issue arose in the wake of a religious freedom law group's defense of Dana Crow-Smith, a Phoenix resident who was told she could not hand out the bottles of cold water on a city sidewalk during a "First Friday" festival.
"Our whole idea is just to glorify God, and do it with an act of kindness because it's so hot," said Crow-Smith, according to The Arizona Republic. "I had no idea it would turn into such a big deal."
Lawyers for The Rutherford Institute, who represented Crow-Smith, said a Neighborhood Preservation Inspector with the City of Phoenix informed her that she was violating the Phoenix City Code by passing out free bottles of water without a vendor's permit during the event last July. more >>
Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) has sent out a letter purporting to explain the law regarding "electioneering by nonprofit organizations." Those who receive it need to know it's full of inaccuracies and misstatements and is plainly intended to intimidate churches and pastors and to sideline their voices during this election season.
First, the AU letter states that churches "may not intervene directly or indirectly in partisan campaigns," and that "any activity designed to influence the outcome of a partisan election can be construed as intervention." These statements are purposefully vague. After all, who can define with any certainty what it means to "indirectly" intervene in a political campaign?
To be fair, AU is parroting some of the IRS' own language on this issue as the IRS itself has prohibited churches from "directly or indirectly" participating in a political campaign. Yet vague statements like this go further in illustrating the problem churches have in complying with the IRS code than with what a pastor should and shouldn't say when exercising his freedom of speech. more >>
The leader of a chaplains alliance group says he hopes the U.S. military will dismiss an atheist group's request to eliminate "personal religious expressions" during a long-standing suicide prevention program that includes chaplains counseling service members.
"Why would anyone not want every resource available to help our military personnel? This press release is one more example of intolerance toward faith that runs counter to everything we hold dear in this nation," Chaplain (Col.) USAR retired Ron Crews, executive director for the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, told The Christian Post on Tuesday. "I sincerely hope that military leaders will not bow toward this intolerance."
Crews responded to the statements of Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers President Jason Torpy by saying that chaplains have been rightly one of the primary resources the military has used in their suicide prevention program. more >>
A Wisconsin school district that lost a case regarding whether it violated the Establishment Clause by holding graduations at a nearby church is filing an appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
Elmbrook School District announced Tuesday the attorneys it has retained to represent them in the appeal case regarding a suit brought by some parents who took issue with the District's former usage of a church for high school graduation ceremonies. more >>