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Church autonomy

Selected Works

Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer

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Politics At The Pulpit: Tax Benefits, Substantial Burdens, And Institutional Free Exercise, Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer Oct 2016

Politics At The Pulpit: Tax Benefits, Substantial Burdens, And Institutional Free Exercise, Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer

Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer

More than fifty years ago, Congress enacted a prohibition against political campaign intervention for all charities, including churches and other houses of worship, as a condition for receiving tax deductible contributions. Yet the IRS has never taken a house of worship to court for alleged violation of the prohibition through political comments from the pulpit, presumably at least in part because of concerns about the constitutionality of doing so. This decision is surprising, because a careful review of Free Exercise Clause case law - both before and after the landmark Employment Division v. Smith decision - reveals that the prohibition …