'Stop Censoring Yourself!' Pastors Don't Need to Fear the IRS


WASHINGTON – Pastors often refrain from talking politics so they won’t catch the attention of the tax-man. But as the election of 2016 heats up, many are wondering what their legal limits actually are.

Pro-life leaders and legal tax experts held a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to tell them they should stop worrying and start speaking out.

“Stop censoring yourself. That’s what we’re saying to the churches today,” Father Frank Pavone, who leads Priests for Life, said. “There’s a lot more we can do in elections than we think we can do.”



Whenever this is discussed, I think it’s valuable to mention the history of the federal prohibition on non profit speech. It’s not a grand American tradition of keeping religion out of politics. It dates from 1954 and only exists because Lyndon B Johnson (D-Texas) wanted to make sure two non-profit groups were removed as a threat to his reelection as a Senator.


Especially considering that this censoring only goes in one direction.

The DNC holds political rallies during worship services, and no one bats an eye.


I’ve been saying this for years.

Planned Parenthood is a non-profit and they have no qualms about getting involved in politics and public policy debates. This has long been a veiled threat used as a scare tactic to imply that churches better be silent or they will have to pay through the nose.

Of course, I think a lot of pastors shy away from being too political not because they are afraid of the tax man but because they don’t think it is conducive to their ministry.


I agree - I think they fear losing people in the seats more than the heavy hand of the feds. There is enough precedent of the feds allowing political speech (so long as they agree…)


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