Could our church lose  tax exempt status if I discuss politics from the pulpit?

This question - more than any other - seems to handcuff our pastors and spiritual leaders when it comes to discussing political issues at church such as abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, traditional marriage, and other highly-charged topics.

 

Many fear that they will jeopardize their church if they even address these issues, but this is simply not true. The IRS provides remarkably clear guidance on what will and won't make a church or religious institution vulnerable to loosing this status. 501(c)3 status deals more with how donations are used than what opinions are expressed. The full IRS guide for religious non-profits is attached HERE.

Churches are 100% permitted to educate their members on matters of public policy (see quote below from IRS guide.) One activity which may jeopardize your status is substantial lobbying (explained below). If however, you as a leader can still educate and influence your congregation on the Biblical Worldview.

 

There is a way, however, that churches can become legally involved with lobbying: this is to partner with a 501(c)4 organization. 

"Churches and religious organizations may, however, involve themselves in issues of public policy without the activity being considered as lobbying. For example, churches may conduct educational meetings, prepare and distribute educational materials, or otherwise consider public policy issues in an education manner without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status."

Pictured below are relevant excerpts from the IRS guide for 501(c)3 non-profits:

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