The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) held its “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” this week. The annual event encourages pastors to “preach from their pulpits … about the moral qualifications of candidates seeking political office.” The event encourages pastors to stand up against tax regulations that, according to the ADF, unconstitutionally regulate pastor speech.

However, in practice, pastors are free to speak out on candidates.

The ADF event is part of its Pulpit Initiative, a larger legal strategy to change tax law—not the way the IRS implements it. This strategy, ironically, needs the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to start punishing pastors so that the ADF can sue to have the IRS stop punishing pastors.

As non-profits, churches cannot participate in political campaigns for or against a candidate for office. The so-called Johnson Amendment limits nonprofits’ involvement in electoral politics. The ADF considers the Johnson Amendment to be unconstitutional.

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