Freedom Writer |
November 1994 |
What churches may do
As private citizens, pastors have the same rights as all Americans. A
pastor should always make it clear that any candidate-oriented efforts
are those of a private citizen and not made on behalf of his church.
Personal funds must also be used for such activities. Pastors may
express personal opinions about candidates from the pulpit, but should
avoid doing so lest the Internal Revenue Service argue that some use
of church funds is involved.
- Conduct non-partisan voter registration/education drives.
- Host candidate forums where all are invited and are treated
- Distribute voting records and candidate survey in compliance with
the neutrality rules set forth by the IRS.
- Rent a church mailing list (at market value) to a candidate.
- Publish an ad in the church bulletin for all who request, as long
as the ad is purchased at the regular rate.
- Publish news stories on political candidates, campaigns, and
third-party endorsements of candidates.
- Invite a political candidate to attend a church service or
meeting. Should your church invite a candidate to a church service,
there are two points to remember. Other candidates for the same
office, regardless of party, must also be given the same opp
ortunity should they request it. No church representative may endorse
or solicit funds for any candidate.
© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.