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Pastors and Churches Make a Difference in Marriage Initiatives and Political Campaigns

Contact: Liberty Counsel Public Relations Department, 800-671-1776


ORLANDO, Sept. 1 /Standard Newswire/ -- Pastors and churches are making a difference in marriage initiatives and political campaigns. Gearing up for midterm elections, with primary races set to begin next week, pastors and churches are mobilizing for the fall elections.


While churches may not endorse or oppose candidates for elective office, they may register voters by setting up voter registration booths or by distributing motor-voter registration forms. They may conduct "get out the vote" campaigns to encourage voting. Pastors may preach about biblical and moral values, and may take specific positions on such issues that have become, or should become, part of the political debate. Churches may distribute objective voter guides which address a broad range of issues. Churches may also host forums where the candidates are invited to present and defend their positions.


Pastors in their individual capacities can endorse or oppose candidates. They can lend their names, titles and church affiliations for or against candidates, so long as there is a notation that says, "Title and affiliation for identification purposes."


Churches may directly support marriage amendments or other similar legislation or initiatives, such as the abortion initiative in South Dakota. Since 1934, when the Internal Revenue Code was amended to include a limitation on lobbying activities of 501(c)(3) organizations, not one church has ever lost its tax-exempt status for engaging in too much lobbying. Contacting legislators to support the passage of a constitutional marriage amendment is considered lobbying, and such activity is clearly a permissible activity of churches.


This fall, eight states are already certified to vote on marriage amendments, including Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. Today, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the marriage amendment can be placed on the ballot. Twenty states have passed marriage protection amendments thus far.


For more information about what pastors and churches may do, visit Liberty Counsel's web site at Liberty Counsel's Founder and Chairman, Mathew Staver, has written many articles on this subject and has devoted an entire chapter to this topic in his book, Eternal Vigilance: Knowing and Protecting Your Religious Freedom.