“This is not about turning churches into political action committees. … This is not about promoting any particular candidate or political party,” Stanley insisted.
“In fact, this is not about political speech from the pulpit. When you as a pastor stand in your pulpit and you preach the Word of God to your congregation it is not political speech. It is core religious expression. You can’t get any more religious expression than a pastor preaching from the pulpit,” he added.
“This is about stopping government censorship of what pastors can and cannot say from the pulpit,” Stanley said.
Stanley noted that even pastors who believe it is wrong to speak about political candidates from the pulpit should still support the effort because it’s wrong for the government to censor religious speech.
To those pastors, Stanley said, “You should certainly agree with the principle that the pulpit should be free, and that pastors ought to be free to speak scriptural truth.”
He said pastors should also support the effort because elections have consequences.
“Votes translates into actions that effect people and that’s why elections are important. That why the light of scriptural truth must be shined in that area,” he said.
Stanley stressed that pastors who participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday can be confident that ADF will stand by them if the IRS challenges those churches’ tax exempt status.
“This is not some fly-by-night thing,” he said. “Our board has very prayerfully and very carefully considered this issue and has committed the full resources of the Alliance Defense Fund to this issue, not matter what it takes, not matter how long it takes until this issue gets resolved, one way or another, through federal court action that declares the Johnson Amendment unconstitutional or through some kind of legislative action.”
ADF was founded in 1994 by the leaders of 35 national ministries, including James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, Bill Bright and others concerned about the deterioration of religious liberty in America’s courts.
Stanley said he hopes “hundreds” of pastors will participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday this year.
“Never, ever, ever let the IRS intimidate you—or anybody else for that matter—intimidate you into not saying certain things from the pulpit that you feel God wants you to say, because the IRS is a paper tiger,” Stanley declared.
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