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Religious groups have the right to speak out on political and social issues. Federal law, however, prohibits most tax-exempt bodies, including houses of worship, from intervening in elections by endorsing or opposing candidates for public office. Churches are not political action committees and should not act like them. Religious leaders should abide by the law and refrain from turning their congregations into cogs in a political machine.

Project Fairplay

In 1996, Americans United launched Project Fair Play to educate religious leaders and other Americans about tax exemption and political activity. We send informational letters to clergy, and we file complaints with the IRS when there are egregious violations.

Please visit Project Fair Play to learn more.
 


 

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Blogs
Most Recent Blog Posts
All the most recent posts from AU's Wall of Separation Blog & The Protect Thy Neighbor Blog

Court To Rhea County: "Read Your Constitution"

During the infamous "Scopes Monkey Trial" 79 years ago, fundamentalist Christians went on the offensive in Rhea County, Tenn. Opposed to the teaching of evolution in public schools, they stretched a banner across the courthouse that exhorted, "Read your Bible." All these years later, some citizens of Rhea County still haven't learned their lesson.

Altar Call: Bush Campaign Woos 'Friendly' Churches

Debate over the issue of religion in politics reached a fever pitch this week when the George W. Bush re-election campaign's effort to build a political machine in churches came to light. News media reports say the Bush plan to enlist 1,600 "friendly" houses of worship in Pennsylvania may endanger congregations' tax-exempt status. Americans United notes that IRS rules forbid churches from endorsing candidates or engaging in partisan politics. Read all about it in the press clips below:

Holy War, Anyone?: Gen. Boykin Implicated In Abu Ghraib Scandal

Lt. General William Boykin is again making headlines, but this time not only for his offensive remarks. Boykin, the deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, sparked controversy and investigation last year when he said Muslims worship idols and cast the war on terrorism as a religious conflict. Boykin declared that the real enemy of America -- which he describes as a "Christian nation" -- isn't Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden.

The Bishop's Political Pastoral: Selective Coercion?

Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs has issued a pastoral letter saying that American Catholics should not receive communion if they vote for candidates who defy church teaching on abortion, same-sex marriage and other social issues, according to The New York Times. This proclamation comes on the heels of moves by others in the Catholic hierarchy to deny communion to politicians who stray from church doctrine.

Politicizing the Communion Line

Almost 50 years ago, candidate John F. Kennedy assured a skeptical America that the Catholic Church would not influence his decisions as President. Kennedy believed "in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute." An increasingly aggressive Catholic hierarchy is undermining this historic principle by attempting to control the votes of Catholic politicians on important social issues.

Pages

Most Recent Blog Posts
All the most recent posts from AU's Wall of Separation Blog & The Protect Thy Neighbor Blog

Court To Rhea County: "Read Your Constitution"

During the infamous "Scopes Monkey Trial" 79 years ago, fundamentalist Christians went on the offensive in Rhea County, Tenn. Opposed to the teaching of evolution in public schools, they stretched a banner across the courthouse that exhorted, "Read your Bible." All these years later, some citizens of Rhea County still haven't learned their lesson.

Altar Call: Bush Campaign Woos 'Friendly' Churches

Debate over the issue of religion in politics reached a fever pitch this week when the George W. Bush re-election campaign's effort to build a political machine in churches came to light. News media reports say the Bush plan to enlist 1,600 "friendly" houses of worship in Pennsylvania may endanger congregations' tax-exempt status. Americans United notes that IRS rules forbid churches from endorsing candidates or engaging in partisan politics. Read all about it in the press clips below:

Holy War, Anyone?: Gen. Boykin Implicated In Abu Ghraib Scandal

Lt. General William Boykin is again making headlines, but this time not only for his offensive remarks. Boykin, the deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, sparked controversy and investigation last year when he said Muslims worship idols and cast the war on terrorism as a religious conflict. Boykin declared that the real enemy of America -- which he describes as a "Christian nation" -- isn't Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden.

The Bishop's Political Pastoral: Selective Coercion?

Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs has issued a pastoral letter saying that American Catholics should not receive communion if they vote for candidates who defy church teaching on abortion, same-sex marriage and other social issues, according to The New York Times. This proclamation comes on the heels of moves by others in the Catholic hierarchy to deny communion to politicians who stray from church doctrine.

Politicizing the Communion Line

Almost 50 years ago, candidate John F. Kennedy assured a skeptical America that the Catholic Church would not influence his decisions as President. Kennedy believed "in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute." An increasingly aggressive Catholic hierarchy is undermining this historic principle by attempting to control the votes of Catholic politicians on important social issues.

Pages

Most Recent Blog Posts
All the most recent posts from AU's Wall of Separation Blog & The Protect Thy Neighbor Blog

Court To Rhea County: "Read Your Constitution"

During the infamous "Scopes Monkey Trial" 79 years ago, fundamentalist Christians went on the offensive in Rhea County, Tenn. Opposed to the teaching of evolution in public schools, they stretched a banner across the courthouse that exhorted, "Read your Bible." All these years later, some citizens of Rhea County still haven't learned their lesson.

Altar Call: Bush Campaign Woos 'Friendly' Churches

Debate over the issue of religion in politics reached a fever pitch this week when the George W. Bush re-election campaign's effort to build a political machine in churches came to light. News media reports say the Bush plan to enlist 1,600 "friendly" houses of worship in Pennsylvania may endanger congregations' tax-exempt status. Americans United notes that IRS rules forbid churches from endorsing candidates or engaging in partisan politics. Read all about it in the press clips below:

Holy War, Anyone?: Gen. Boykin Implicated In Abu Ghraib Scandal

Lt. General William Boykin is again making headlines, but this time not only for his offensive remarks. Boykin, the deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, sparked controversy and investigation last year when he said Muslims worship idols and cast the war on terrorism as a religious conflict. Boykin declared that the real enemy of America -- which he describes as a "Christian nation" -- isn't Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden.

The Bishop's Political Pastoral: Selective Coercion?

Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs has issued a pastoral letter saying that American Catholics should not receive communion if they vote for candidates who defy church teaching on abortion, same-sex marriage and other social issues, according to The New York Times. This proclamation comes on the heels of moves by others in the Catholic hierarchy to deny communion to politicians who stray from church doctrine.

Politicizing the Communion Line

Almost 50 years ago, candidate John F. Kennedy assured a skeptical America that the Catholic Church would not influence his decisions as President. Kennedy believed "in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute." An increasingly aggressive Catholic hierarchy is undermining this historic principle by attempting to control the votes of Catholic politicians on important social issues.

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Press Releases
Church & State
June 2017 Church & State

Out Of Order

Trump’s New ‘Religious Freedom’ Directives Set The Stage For Attacks On Real Liberty, Says Americans United

February 2017 Church & State

Prayers Or Politics?

President Donald Trump Wants To Allow Houses Of Worship To Intervene In Partisan Elections Yet Remain Tax Exempt

January 2017 Church & State

Snake Oil Solution

Why Repealing The Ban On Pulpit Politicking Is A Colossally Bad Idea

December 2016 Church & State

Payback Time

Donald Trump Won the White House With Strong Support From Religious Right Groups. What Will They Get In Return?

November 2016 Church & State

Pulpit Politicking Panned

Americans United Reminds Faith Leaders To Focus On Issues, Not Candidates