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Meeting IRS Requirements When a Pastor Runs for Office

How one church navigated the tricky issue of political involvement.

With the presidential election coming up, many churches and ministry leaders may wonder what they can and cannot do when it comes to politics. Is there a line, and, if so, when do you cross it?

Churches are required to remain impartial toward candidates, yet church leaders tend to invest more in social issues, such as pro-life and same-sex marriage, than the average voter. Clearly the church’s interest in politics isn’t going away anytime soon.

Salem Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, understands the conflicts that can arise between politics and the church firsthand. Their senior pastor, James Meeks, was a former Illinois State Senator from 2003 to 2013 and currently serves as the chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education. Meeks ran for office in 2002, won, and was re-elected for two additional terms, acting as an advocate for the Roseland community on Chicago’s ...

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  • March 10, 2016

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