Election Year Guides for Candidates, Voters and Houses of Worship

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The Engaging Candidates guide suggests a series of questions for voters to ask candidates about their views on the intersection of religion and government. Questions like “What role will your faith or values play in creating public policy or making appointments?” and “How will you balance the principles of your faith and your obligation to defend the Constitution, particularly if the two come into conflict?”

A Guide for Houses of Worship provides very specific guidance to houses of worship on what they can and cannot do during an election. For example: Did you know that houses of worship can invite candidates to a debate for its members as long it does not favor one candidate over another in structure or in any other way? On the other hand, a house of worship cannot ask a candidate to pledge support for its religious denomination’s position on an issue or publicize a candidate’s independent decision to support or oppose the denomination’s position.

A Guide for Political Candidates offers important advice to candidates on how to appropriately speak about their beliefs and engage with religious communities during a campaign without stepping over the line or endangering a house of worship’s tax-exempt status. We suggest candidates speak about their own beliefs rather than those held by their opponents, don’t claim to speak for any particular faith and respect IRS guidelines and the institution’s integrity when speaking at any house of worship.

While it is important that organizations like Interfaith Alliance continue to serve as watchdogs to protect the integrity of both religion and democracy during the campaign season, it is equally important that we educate candidates, clergy and voters to help them avoid both legal and ethical problems. We will continue to count on supporters like you to help us get these important guides into the hands of those who need them.