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Recently, Lifeway conducted a research poll containing some startling statistics that reveal where public opinion stands in relation to same-sex “marriage” and the acceptance of homosexual behavior. The poll reported that 58 percent of those surveyed believe that same-sex “marriage” is a civil rights issue just like age, race, and gender. The narrative by those who want to redefine marriage that same-sex “marriage” is a “civil right” seems to have taken hold.

Some of the other research findings are:

- 63 percent agree and 27 percent disagree that pastors should be allowed to refuse to officiate same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state;

- 58 percent agree and 33 percent disagree that photographers should be allowed to refuse to work same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state;

-40 percent agree and 52 percent disagree that rental halls should be allowed to refuse to rent out their facilities for same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state;

These statistics should be a wake-up call for pastors who think that they can avoid preaching about these issues. Public opinion on the issues of same-sex “marriage” and homosexual behavior is shifting dramatically. What are you as a pastor doing to counter this shift?

The Supreme Court is poised to render decisions on two cases by the end of June that could redefine marriage. Before the Supreme Court has its say, shouldn’t America’s pastors be heard about what God says on the subject?

Make your voice heard by participating in Pulpit Freedom Sunday on June 9, 2013. Make sure your congregation knows where the Church stands on marriage. The Bible has not changed.  God’s Word remains true that homosexual behavior is wrong and that marriage is as God Himself defined it in the beginning pages of Scripture – between one man and one woman only.  Public opinion cannot change Truth. But Truth must be proclaimed to be believed and adopted.  And that is where your role as a pastor comes in. You are to proclaim the Truth of God’s Word “in season and out of season.” (2 Tim. 4:2).  After all, God’s Word is profitable for, among other things, teaching and correction. (2 Tim. 3:16). But, as the Apostle Paul reminds pastors, how are others to hear God’s Truth without someone preaching to them? (Rom. 10:14-15).

The fact of the matter is that our society desperately needs to hear what the Creator of marriage and sexual behavior says about what He created. That’s what Pulpit Freedom Sunday this year is all about – marriage. Pastor, please do not let this opportunity pass you by. Go to and sign up to participate either on June 9 or on a Sunday as close to that as you can. Stand together with hundreds of your fellow pastors from across the country proclaiming God’s Truth to a society that is in great need of hearing it.

It is vital that you participate because, to be candid, there’s a lot of work to be done. And, as a pastor, you are in a position to be heard. You can make a difference in your congregation, in the community, and eventually throughout the culture.

For resources to help you construct your sermon, please visit our Marriage Resource Page on


My grandmother used to always quote the old mariner’s saying: “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.  Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.”  While meteorologists will debate whether this saying is accurate, one thing about it is true.  Before the days of radars and satellites, the sailors of old would always keep an eye on the horizon to judge whether gathering clouds were harbingers of bad weather.

We also have a saying at Alliance Defending Freedom: “While you shepherd your flock, we’ll watch the horizon.”  The sentiment behind this statement is that pastors frequently lack time or expertise to watch the horizon and judge what poses a legal threat to the church. That’s why God placed Alliance Defending Freedom in this place at this time. We are watching the legal horizon.

This year, marriage is a hot topic in legal circles. The United States Supreme Court is deciding cases involving the definition of the institution created by God in the Garden of Eden even before the fall of man. How can you as a pastor best respond in these challenging times?

Before the Court has its say, America’s pastors must have their say

The Supreme Court decision is expected to be handed down by the end of June. In its decision, the Supreme Court will have its say on how our laws will treat marriage. But before the Supreme Court has its say, America’s pastors must have their say. That’s why we are conducting Pulpit Freedom Sunday on June 9, 2013. On that day, pastors across the country will stand united to proclaim with one voice what God’s design for marriage is and why our country should honor that design and resist the siren’s call to redefine this most basic of human institutions.

If you have not yet signed up for Pulpit Freedom Sunday, please do so. The sign-up process only takes a minute.  If you cannot preach on June 9, then pick a Sunday as close to that day as possible and indicate the date of your message in the sign-up process.

In this crucial time in our country’s history, the voice of God from the shepherds of God’s flocks must be heard proclaiming biblical Truth about marriage to a society that far too often seems on the verge of forgetting marriage altogether.

What’s the state of the marriage battle?

Given the complexities of the legal process, many pastors feel daunted by the prospect of communicating the state of the marriage battle. However, we’ve made it easy for you.  This simple map will show you the current state of the battle to protect marriage in the United States.

There are also numerous sermon preparation resources on our website to help you effectively communicate about marriage to your congregation. There are resources about God’s design for marriage, and the threat that same-sex “marriage” poses to religious freedom.

We also have created a resource highlighting the positions certain elected officials took before the Supreme Court on the issue of marriage. You can use this resource to praise elected officials who fought to protect marriage as God intended, or to call out with biblical Truth those officials who took a public stand against marriage.

What do I need to do to protect my church?

We also receive many questions about what proactive steps churches can take to protect themselves.  There are a couple of things all churches can do to best position themselves for the future.

First, read our resource Seven Things all Churches Should have in their Bylaws. We also have some suggested bylaw language on marriage and human sexuality that will help churches in this regard.

Second, we advise every church to adopt a facilities usage policy that governs use of church facilities for wedding ceremonies. We have created a sample policy for you to use to ensure your church is protected.

Even in those states that adopted same-sex “marriage” or some equivalent, such as civil unions, churches do not have to allow use of their facilities for wedding ceremonies that are inconsistent with their faith. But there is an effort underway in some areas — such as Hawaii and Hutchinson, Kansas — to force churches to allow use of their facilities for same-sex “weddings” if they open their facilities for use by non-members for weddings at all. Passing a facilities usage policy provides a good defense. Put simply, no government official has the right to force a church to allow its facilities to be used for events that violate its religious beliefs.

Never forget that Alliance Defending Freedom is “watching the legal horizon.” We will continue to keep you updated and provide the best ways you as a pastor can respond to protect your church from legal threats.


ADF Senior Legal Counsel - Church Project

For some time now, the IRS has not been auditing churches.  As I explained in more detail in this post, the IRS’ decision to “suspend” church audits stems from a 2009 federal court decision finding the IRS’ regulations on church audits to be unlawful.  Since that decision, the IRS, to the best of anyone’s knowledge, has not been auditing any churches.  It has said since 2009 that it is preparing new regulations that will enable it to begin auditing churches again, but we have not seen those regulations finalized.

However, at a recent tax conference, Treasury Attorney-Advisor Ruth Madrigal said that the IRS’ long-awaited rules on church audits are “close” to being finalized.  So what does this mean for churches?

What this means is that once the IRS’ regulations on auditing churches are finalized, then it is logical to assume that the IRS will begin auditing churches again.  Whether this means that the IRS will audit churches that participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday remains to be seen.  We will have to closely watch the IRS’ actions once the church audit rules are finalized.

But ultimately, the constitutional rights of pastors and churches do not turn on whether the IRS decides to audit churches.  Alliance Defending Freedom has said for years that the Johnson Amendment in section 501(c)(3) of the tax code is unconstitutional.  If the IRS audits and penalizes churches for something it believes violates the Johnson Amendment, then Alliance Defending Freedom stands ready to defend the constitutional rights of America’s pastors to speak biblical truth uncensored by the IRS.

For now, we will continue to monitor the situation and will make you aware of any changes the IRS proposes.  As we say here at Alliance Defending Freedom, “You watch your flock, and we’ll watch the horizon.”  And if you have not yet signed up to participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday, please do so today.  This year, Pulpit Freedom Sunday is all about marriage, and America desperately needs to hear what God says about marriage at this crucial time.  Signing up for Pulpit Freedom Sunday is easy and we hope to see thousands of pastors standing united on June 9, 2013, preaching biblical truth about marriage.  Will you be one of those pastors?  Please sign up today.


ADF Senior Legal Counsel - Church Project

America is in the midst of a debate on the definition of marriage, the foundation for a stable society and a stable home.  Americans desperately need to hear from their pastors what God says about marriage, the institution He created.

This year, our country faces one of the most pressing issues in our history as efforts are underway to radically redefine the institution of marriage, the relationship that God established long ago in the Garden of Eden even before the Fall of mankind.  The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear two cases where plaintiffs are hoping to radically redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.  Oral argument on these cases will be in late March and a decision by the Court is expected at the end of June.  These are the first cases ever where the Supreme Court will address the definition of marriage directly.

With all this in mind, Pulpit Freedom Sunday 2013 will be a Sunday focused on marriage.

Even though this year is a non-election year, that does not mean it is a non-engagement year for pastors.  The heartbeat of Pulpit Freedom Sunday has always been to remove legal restrictions on what a pastor can say from the pulpit and by doing so, to empower pastors to speak boldly and courageously on the pressing issues of our day that are addressed by Scripture.

As many of you know, Alliance Defending Freedom launched Pulpit Freedom Sunday in 2008 as a legal challenge to the Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment is a 1954 law that grants the IRS the power to censor what you as a pastor say from your pulpit about candidates during an election season.  The law is hopelessly unconstitutional.  Yet despite this fact, no court has ever been presented with a constitutional challenge to the law.

Courageous pastors stood in their pulpits as part of Pulpit Freedom Sunday and proclaimed biblical truth as it relates to candidates and elections.  They recorded their sermons and sent them to the IRS in hopes of sparking a legal challenge to the Johnson Amendment to have it declared unconstitutional.

You may be wondering what the IRS response has been.  In a word, silence.  Not one of the pastors who have participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday has been censored or punished by the IRS in any way.

Despite this fact, the Johnson Amendment remains in effect and the IRS continues to maintain publicly that it has the power to enforce the law against a pastor’s sermon.  Because of this, Pulpit Freedom Sunday is still necessary to keep up the pressure on the IRS and to regain the freedom of America’s pulpits.

  • When is Pulpit Freedom Sunday 2013?

Pulpit Freedom Sunday will be on Sunday, June 9, 2013.  We want every pastor available to speak on that same day, if possible, to declare with one voice God’s design for marriage.  If you cannot speak on that day, please pick another day close to that day and sign up to participate.

  • What will pastors do on Pulpit Freedom Sunday?

Pastors who sign up to participate will preach a sermon on God’s design for marriage.  Pastors can also take the opportunity to address the threat to religious freedom posed by same-sex “marriage,” or to call out their elected officials who are on record supporting same-sex “marriage.”

  • What resources are there to help me prepare for Pulpit Freedom Sunday?

There are sermon preparation materials, sample sermons on marriage, resources to help you understand how same-sex “marriage” poses a threat to religious freedom, and information about elected officials that are either supporting or opposing same-sex “marriage.” All of these can be found at

  • Where can I sign up to participate?

Sign up to participate at The sign up process only takes a minute to complete.

Now, more than ever, Americans must hear from their pastors regarding what God says about marriage.  Pastors have always guided the conscience of America through troubled times when the country faced a moral dilemma.  Pastors must once again assume that role as the conscience of America, guiding her into biblical truth.

Will you stand with thousands of your fellow pastors on Pulpit Freedom Sunday?  Sign up today at


ADF Senior Legal Counsel - Church Project

For years we have been warning that same-sex “marriage” is not the end goal of the radical homosexual legal agenda.  Instead, the end goal of that movement is the silencing of all dissent.  Numerous examples abound in other countries where we see the inevitable consequence of approving same-sex “marriage.”  In his latest column on, Alliance Defending Freedom President and General Counsel Alan Sears tells how France is now seeking to censor speech in opposition to efforts to redefine marriage or gender.

When a society’s laws recognizing marriage as the union of one man and one woman are changed to honor the unions of same-sex couples, it’s not just the law that changes—it’s also the society itself that changes. A top-down metamorphosis begins in which every aspect of public law changes to match the new definition of marriage.

Today, this is playing out in France with great clarity.

There, Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem is pressing Twitter to help control the speech of the people by censoring messages that run counter to the position of the French government.

In particular, Belkacem wants Twitter to censor messages that run counter to the government’s decision to grant special rights and an elevated status to people who engage in homosexual behavior and persons who are of one gender but claim to be of another.

Belkacem praises the French government for making it illegal to discriminate based on these and other things and calls on Twitter to share the convictions of the government:

It is the honor of France to have gradually included in the penal code punishment of incitement to hatred or violence against a person or group of persons because of their origin, membership or non-membership in an ethnic group, nation, or of their sexual orientation or gender identity…Twitter [needs] to find solutions so that messages sent from our territory, our language, and destination of our citizens do not bear a clear violation of the principles we have set.

Notice—now that France has added “gender identity” to its national non-discrimination policy, unapproved communiqués on the subject of homosexual behavior are punishable by law. Now that France has embraced and attempted to redefine morality on homosexual behavior, speech against such behavior is literally banned.

And Minister Belkacem approves of this. She said as much when she wrote that French officials support “freedom of expression” but not freedom of expression “with impunity.”

There are so many lessons here for Americans who think that such things can never happen in this country. Believing the falsehood that all advocates of homosexual behavior want is to be left alone, one need only read their own words and examine the legal landscape, where dissenters and people of faith are being persecuted by “human rights commissions” and other government authorities who have no tolerance for a different point of view from their own.

Alan is correct.  What we see happening in France is bound to happen here should our society recognize and approve of same-sex “marriage.”  And those who  think that the First Amendment will stand as a shield against such efforts must remember that the Constitution has never deterred the left from pursuing its agenda.  If you have any doubts about that, ask JuleaWard, Elaine Huguenin, Ake Green, and countless others who have had their religious freedom threatened simply because they chose to speak up and live their faith in the public square.

The churches of America must speak up on this issue before it is too late and before the inevitable consequences of recognizing same-sex “marriage” fall on the church.  If churches do not speak up now, then they may not have the opportunity later.  Visit the marriage resource page of our website for information about the efforts to legally protect marriage.  And if you are a pastor, consider preaching a sermon on marriage and why it is important to protect it from radical efforts to redefine this most basic human institution.


ADF Senior Legal Counsel - Church Project

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