Although only 33 churches nationwide signed up to participate in a conservative Christian group’s “pulpit freedom” protest on the last Sunday of September, the planners viewed it as a success.
Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund, which encouraged pastors to endorse political candidates from their pulpits, said the purpose was not to inject politics into worship services. Rather, it was aimed at prompting a legal battle over an Internal Revenue Service restriction which, as a condition of churches’ tax exemption, prohibits them from endorsing political candidates.
ADF officials said they are prepared to defend any pastor targeted by the IRS for endorsing a candidate on September 28 and would do so on the basis of the First Amendment guarantee of the right to free speech.
Attorneys for the Arizona-based alliance may be fighting both in actual courtrooms and in the court of public opinion.