Los Angeles Times

Pulpit politics

All week, Erik Stanley and Barry Lynn debate free speech, religion and federal tax law.

  • Does the IRS go too far with churches?

    Does the IRS go too far with churches?

    Barry W. Lynn says the IRS generally cuts ministers too much slack. Erik Stanley says that any action taken by the IRS goes too far.

  • Tax laws and religious speech: what the Constitution says

    Tax laws and religious speech: what the Constitution says

    Erik Stanley says that conditioning a church's tax exemption on what a pastor says violates the 1st Amendment. Barry W. Lynn says that concerns over ministers' constitutional rights being violated by tax laws are overblown.

  • When do ministers cross the line?

    When do ministers cross the line?

    Barry W. Lynn says ministers are free to be politically active without using their organizations' resources. Erik Stanley says pastors ought to be free to speak openly from the pulpit without any fear

  • Why don't churches pay taxes?

    Erik Stanley says the power to tax enables the government to destroy the free exercise of religion. Barry Lynn says that it isn't unreasonable for organizations that pay no taxes to accept some federal oversight.

  • Do tax laws gag the clergy?

    Do tax laws gag the clergy?

    Today's question: Is federal tax law too restrictive on clergy who publicly endorse political candidates or voter initiatives? All week, Barry W. Lynn and Erik Stanley discuss the friction between church and state over the issue of political speech from the pulpit. The IRS is right to bar electioneering...

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