Commentary / Response / Story / Video

Kicked Out of Pulpit Freedom Sunday

On Sunday, Oct. 7, more than 1,000 pastors nationwide planned to defy their restrictions on political candidate endorsements by preaching from their pulpits about who their members should vote for in what they are calling “Pulpit Freedom Sunday”. These churches believe that their rights to Freedom of Speech are being violated and are daring the IRS to come after them.

According to their tax-exempt status regulations issued by the IRS, this is a violation of their 501(c)(3) charter in that these organizations are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.” These are the same rules for other charities and non-profits.. it is not exclusive to churches.

This is once again not about religious liberty, but rather, privilege. The First Amendment guarantees that you cannot be prohibited from practicing your religion within the bounds of the law. It does not entitle churches or religious adherents exemption from any law which happens to contradict one’s faith. These pastors want to receive government support in the form of tax breaks and then be allowed to tell their members who those government representatives should be. Tax exemption is not guaranteed in our Constitution to anyone.

The facebook group “Hammer the Gods”  started an event encouraging non-believers who support the separation of church and state to go into these participating churches to document the violations ourselves, in order to hold these pastors accountable for their illegal challenge to the IRS.

We decided to join in, heading to the nearest participating church, “Park Temple Baptist” in Pasadena, Texas. But we were unable to get any footage of violations as we were met with a high level of suspicion and asked to leave.

It occurs to me that some of the churches “participating” are just taking the opportunity to breach the law in front of their congregations, but were never actually planning on reporting themselves to the IRS. Which, though we got no footage of the violations, proves that the endeavor to take it into our own hands to hold churches accountable for these breaches is worth the attempt.

As also mentioned in the video commentary, many churches break this law regularly. So even though the official “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” has passed, there are countless churches playing politics every week.

If you witness a violation, consider the following (from the “Hammer the Gods” event page):

Contact your state’s “Tax Payer Advocate” to report “Systemic Violations”, as this affects all American Citizens! Tell them we need more oversight and enforcement on this very important issue, and report any violations you have documented!
Taxpayer Advocate Service – “Your Voice at the IRS” Toll-free: 1-877-777-4778 or TTY/TTD: 1-800-829-4059

Find the “Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (Referral) Form” Here:
Please note: “Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance” is NOT the correct form for this issue; use the PDF form linked above!

Share your photos, videos, and accounts of any violations here; along with any information you receive from the IRS!

Or sign this petition:

The President of the United States: Revoke tax-exempt status of “political” churches

10 thoughts on “Kicked Out of Pulpit Freedom Sunday

  1. Then they know they’re in the wrong… just like any illegal activity, no witnesses no proof. Sad really, you’d think they’d be proud of their ‘god’ and want people see them in defiance.

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  3. You should have told the truth when you were asked who you were with, yes you are with yourselves but you know full well what they meant when that question was asked. You were trying to be sneaky. She brought up the IRS because you said you heard about the Pulpit Freedom Sunday and you guys are aware of the IRS issue these churches are fighting. Think it through guys. I think most people would ask who you are with if you come in with a camera and say you heard about the Pulpit Freedom Sunday. Their response to you has NOTHING at all to do with your being Pentecostal which isn’t actually true is it? Since you are part of Better off Damned. You said if they aren’t doing anything wrong then you shouldn’t have any issue with you filming them. You said you are trying to bring more attention to it but that’s half truths and you tried to win them over by telling them you attended a Pentecostal church and then acted surprised by saying wow, when she said they tape it and send it to the IRS themselves. They are leery of you for good reason. Your liers off the bat so why would they trust you to be honest with your presentation of this video? Be honest about being and atheist. What are you afraid of by telling that right off the bat? People are going to be more open and respectful of you if your honest regardless of wither or not you believe in God or not.

    • The sad thing is that this group of “Christian” people have very little funds, and help many and I mean many in that Pasadena community. Helping to feed many of the local elderly and handicapped and helping with their bills when able even when that church couldn’t pay their own bills. So for any of you camera toting individuals that find it necessary to revoke a churches 501c you are sad very sad human beings. May I ask you ‘What” have you done for community lately what have you contributed to the elderly and the disabled what have you done to contribute?? What exactly can you gain from trying to harm those that are actually making a difference in that community

  4. This is a weak and pathetic attempt to censor a small church from speaking to their members about their shared beliefs. You say that you believe in moral and values yet you are attempting to hurt this church by threatening IRS action. What is the purpose of that? Why the need to hide and lie about what you are doing? Have you put no thought into the number of people and families that church has helped? Christian and non? A man of any morals and values would think of those people, not his selfish attempt at some type of fame. That church is in no way attempting to hurt your cause. Why would you want to hurt theirs? They are at least being honest about what they preach and teach on. You were less than honest about your intentions making this video.

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    Men With Thrush isn’t usually a lasting problem. The individual should be quarantined for at least 15 minutes then you may also develop it yourself. I believe the vaccines are very similar, each dose of the varicella zoster virus in which itchy spots spread over the skin. It then multiplies within the cells initially infected, and then the skin once again becomes like before.

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  7. Having been to that church, you can yank their 501(c)(3) status. It will not affect them. They don’t have ANY money.

  8. Did you enter any “black churches” and see what kind of politics many of them are preaching? Is there any possibility that the IRS plans to take away THEIR tax free status, since we all know they are and have been for decades preaching Democratic Party politics and having voting drives . I know for a fact Obama used them.

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