by Steven Ertelt
October 1, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A coalition of pro-life groups and a top law firm have banded together to release new guidelines for pro-life pastors and priests detailing the rights they have to speak on pro-life topics during the 2008 elections. The letter provides legal support for pro-life pastors who draw criticism from pro-abortion groups like the ACLU.
The James Madison Center for Free Speech issued a joint educational letter Monday with Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and the Alliance Defense Fund.
The letter, sent to pastors across the country, equips them with information about how they can speak out on issues like abortion during the elections and not jeopardize their churches’ tax-exempt status.
The joint letter, titled “Constitutional Protections for Pastors: Your Freedom to Speak Biblical Truth on the Moral Issues of the Day” is a response to misleading information sent to churches by organizations such as the Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
James Bopp, a leading pro-life attorney who has argued on numerous occasions before the Supreme Court, told LifeNews.com that detractors like AUSCS and ACLU hope to "silence the voices of churches and pastors on critical social issues."
"The letter assures pastors and churches that they have constitutional rights to express their views on a broad array of social issues as well as allow parishioners to sign petitions in support of moral positions," he added.
“Churches and pastors have First Amendment rights and should not be intimidated into silence on the great moral issues of the day by threats of legal action," he told LifeNews.com.
"Churches and pastors may lawfully engage in a number of activities as permitted by Federal law," Bopp concluded. "Reading this joint letter is the first step for pastors and churches in understanding those activities and making sure that their voices are heard.”
A copy of the joint letter can be found at https://www.jamesmadisoncenter.org.