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Georgia churches challenge IRS rules on politics

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ATLANTA -

Dozens of Georgia's religious leaders are embracing a new movement to challenge a decades-old tax law that prohibits preaching about politics from the pulpit.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (http://bit.ly/a1eK) that several pastors in the state have openly criticized the law in recent weeks. They say the Internal Revenue Service's rule is an intrusion on their free speech rights.

Other religious leaders have endorsed a political candidate, and some have 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.

Jerry Helton, who leads Blairsville's House of Prayer Interdenominational Church, said in a recent sermon that "I refuse to be muzzled."

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Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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