This Article explores some of the policy justifications offered in support of restricting the political activities of tax-exempt religious organizations. The author begins with an overview of the scope of current federal restrictions and then considers the contention that it is inappropriate for religious organizations to be involved in politics from their own standpoint. He argues that federal restrictions on the political activities of tax-exempt religious organizations raise a fundamental question of mission that must be resolved by each organization according to its conscience. The author also considers restrictions front the standpoint of public policy and constitutional law, with a focus on the government's interest in not. compelling taxpayers to subsidize political speech with which they disagree, and its interest. in preserving its ability to prevent the taking of tax deductions for contributions to political candidates. He concludes that appropriate respect for the values of free speech and free exercise warrants a narrowing construction of the restrictions in certain circumstances.
Steffen N. Johnson, Of Politics and Pulpits: A first Amendment Analysis of IRS Restrictions on the Political Activities of Religious Organizations, 42 B.C.L. Rev. 875 (2001), http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol42/iss4/5