Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Political Speech for Pastors?
The new US Supreme Court decision in Hosanna Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC makes a strong argument that the Internal Revenue Code restriction on political speech is unconstitutional as applied to churches. While the EEOC argued that the Americans with Disabilities Act was neutral law and should be enforced against church, the Court observed that the government has NO role in the internal affairs of a church. If the government involved itself in the internal affairs of a church, it would violate the First Amendment Establishment clause. It follows that the government has NO ability to govern what a minister says from the pulpit because that would amount to government interference with the internal affairs of the church. This analysis may explain why the IRS has no projects or plans to police political activity by churches this election year.