rain
Saturday July 4th, 2015 9:38AM

Georgia churches challenge IRS rules on politics

By Derreck Booth Anchor/reporter
ATLANTA - Dozens of Georgia's religious leaders, including one in Blairsville, are embracing a new movement to challenge a decades-old tax law that prohibits preaching about politics from the pulpit.

Several pastors in the state have openly criticized the law in recent weeks. The pastors say the Internal Revenue Service's rule is an intrusion on their free speech rights.

Other religious leaders have endorsed a political candidate. Some have even dared the federal government to sanction them for expressing their political preferences.

The stakes are high, as violating the rule could cost a church its tax-exempt status, costing it thousands of dollars.

``There are risks to be taken and I knowingly take those risks. But I refuse to compromise God's word and I refuse to be muzzled,'' Jerry Helton, who leads Blairsville's House of Prayer Interdenominational Church, said in a sermon earlier this month.

Helton is among at least 38 in Georgia who participated in ``Pulpit Freedom Sunday,'' a national movement sponsored by the Alliance Defending Freedom. The group says it will hire lawyers to support churches who were challenged by the Internal Revenue Service, but so far the federal government has steered clear of sanctioning participants.

In Blairsville, Helton stopped short of endorsing a candidate, but urged congregants to view the presidential election through a biblical lens. That perspective was echoed by preachers in both Alpharetta and downtown Atlanta Sunday, where they reminded their parishioners to vote on Nov. 6 and all but stated their presidential choice.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 2 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
UNG campuses adding more parking, classrooms this summer
Construction projects to add more parking, classroom and recreational spaces on the University of North Georgia's (UNG) four campuses are in progress and should be finished sometime this fall.
By AccessWDUN staff
9:15AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Security heightened for Fourth of July events in Ga.
Emergency responders had an increased presence at the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta and plan to be at more than 100 other events throughout the state during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
By Associated Press
8:33AM ( 1 hour ago )
America welcomes July 4 with hot dogs, cool music, cold beer
As the nation gears up to celebrate America's birthday, here are some Fourth of July highlights from around the country:___IN AMERICA'S BIRTHPLACE: CONCERTS, A PARADE AND BEERPhiladelphia started its...
1:06AM ( 8 hours ago )
Billy Dilworth veteran Georgia, SC journalist dies at 80
A veteran journalist whose career touched newspapers, radio and television stations in Georgia and South Carolina has died in northeast Georgia.
5:32PM ( 16 hours ago )
Forsyth Co. water main break shuts down Shiloh at Majors Rd.
Forsyth County officials are urging drivers to stay away from Shiloh Road at Majors Road while they try to repair a watermain break.
1:40PM ( 19 hours ago )