Tea Party and the Right  
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Religious Right Pushes Churches to Openly Defy the Law and Campaign for Tea Party and Other Conservative Candidates

As organizations that claim tax-exempt status, churches cannot directly intervene in elections. A religious right group is trying to change that.

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Lynn noted that a New York church lost its tax-exempt status in 1995 after it placed newspaper ads attacking Bill Clinton’s candidacy in 1992. (And lost a court battle to get it back.) In addition, large ministries connected to TV preachers Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell were assessed back taxes for intervening in political races. Other churches have endured audits or other forms of sanctions.

“Americans attend houses of worship for spiritual reasons, not to get a list of political endorsements,” Lynn said. “The sooner the Religious Right accepts this, the better.”

Project Fair Play

For accurate information about church electioneering, visit Americans United’s Web page addressing this issue: http://projectfairplay.org/

Rob Boston is the assistant director of communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which publishes Church and State magazine.

 
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