- The Washington Times - Monday, November 3, 2014

Pastors at churches around the nation are openly defying the IRS’s rules against nonprofits endorsing political candidates, and they’re speaking from the pulpit about their preferred politicos.

The number of pastors who have endorsed candidates in what’s been billed as Pulpit Freedom Sunday have spiked from 33 in 2008 to more than 1,600 this year, the Alliance Defending Freedom reported, according to Politico. Church leaders have jumped into the mix of high-profile races in record numbers, endorsing candidates such as Thom Tillis in North Carolina and Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.

Rev. Mark Cowart, the pastor for Church For All Nations in Colorado Springs, said in a recent sermon that Christians ought to vote Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper out of office in favor of Bob Beauprez, Politico reported.

“Beauprez is against more gun control, does not support abortion and he does protect the man-woman marriage — that’s the one I’m voting for. … I’m endorsing biblical principles,” he said in the sermon.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which sued the IRS in 2012 for neglecting to enforce electioneering restrictions on churches, has already voiced opposition.

“You can’t have a tax-exempt entity engaged in politics because that involves using tax-exempt money for political purposes, so it’s an unfair playing field, Annie Laurie Gaylor, the group’s co-founder, told Politico.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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