Each Presidential election renews the thorny debate over the appropriate role of churches and other religious organizations in American political life. Although churches are subject to other rearaints on political activity, the prohibition on church political activity tinder section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code is the harshest in terms of penalties. Faced with the extraordinary scope of the prohibition as interpreted by the IRS, and perceived non-enforcement of egregious violations, churches tend toward one or two extremes: they either ignore the prohibition and endorse candidates or they avoid legitimate involvemetit with important policy issues.
Deirdre Dessingue, Prohibition in Search of a Rationale: What the Tax Code Prohibits; Why; To What End?, 42 B.C.L. Rev. 903 (2001), http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol42/iss4/6