Churches and the Domocratic Process
Churches and Campaigns
Churches are free and encouraged to speak out on current moral and ethical issues of the day that have political components. However, they may not intervene in partisan political campaigns.
In exchange for the benefit of tax exempt status, churches (and other nonprofit organizations) may not endorse or oppose candidates for political office. While the law is not black and white as to what constitutes an endorsement or opposition of a candidate, the IRS has issued guidelines that help churches steer clear of activities which may endanger their tax-exempt status.
- IRS Regulations for Churches
- IRS guidelines for churches with specific examples
- IRS to crack down on churches’ political campaigning
There are, however, many things a church may do to encourage informed voting and civic participation by its members. This includes:
- Issue Education
- Unbiased candidate forums
- Voter registration drives
The CLC is available to help churches stay within the law. Click here for more about Keeping Your Church Out of Court.
Democracy is not a spectator sport…
Click here to register to vote
Voter Registration Drives—host a non-partisan registration drive at your church. The CLC Austin Office is happy to assist churches wishing to host a voter registration drive.
Learn About the Candidates
So you don’t know anything about the candidates running for office? The League of Women Voters provides non-partisan information on the candidates. Click here to find out more about your statewide and local candidates.