Quoting from The Role of Pastors and Christians in Civil Government by David Barton, “In earlier generations, American ministers stood in the pulpit and called candidates and parties by name, set forth their positions, compared them to the Bible, and then advised that a Christian should or should not vote for a candidate or a party based on what the candidate said compared with what the Bible said…”
There is no Biblical model where God had his ministers remain silent with civil leaders, or on civil issues. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. When did it all change? What happened? In 1954, Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson added a rider to an appropriations bill in the U.S. Senate, which effectively muzzled any organization with a 501 (c)(3) status. Johnson’s goal was to end McCarthyism, protect the loyalist wing of the Texas Democratic Party and win re-election to the Senate.
Few Christians realize that these current restrictions have been in place for less than 50 years. American law books and early American sermons clearly demonstrate that such is the case. To a large extent this began the “silence from the pulpit.”
Alliance Defending Freedom started Pulpit Freedom Sunday, the goal of which is simple — have the Johnson Amendment declared unconstitutional and stop the ability of the IRS to censor what a pastor says in the pulpit. In 2008, there were 33 pastors from 22 states participating in PFS. In 2009, more than 80 pastors. In 2010, nearly 100 pastors participated. In 2011, the number jumped to 539. As of this date, none of the churches that have participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday have had their tax-exempt status revoked nor have they received any penalties for expressing support or opposition to political candidates. Not even for comparing positions held by candidates with what scripture says about the issues. They went so far as to make specific recommendations about the candidates and recommended whether the congregation should vote for or against them.
These pastors brought all this to the attention of the IRS hoping that an audit would result in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Johnson Amendment.
Pulpit Freedom Sunday falls on Oct. 7 this year. Please pray about joining those already involved in this endeavor. It is time to end “silence from the pulpit.”