Interfaith Alliance is making a difference in America by promoting the positive and healing role of religion in public life; encouraging civic participation; facilitating community activism; and challenging religious political extremism. However, religion’s powerful healing force can be severely compromised when America’s shared values are replaced by values that advance only particular sectarian interests. Our Election Year program analyzes and interprets the role that religion plays in an election year and seeks to establish a partnership between religion and government that preserves the autonomy of houses of worship and ensures that religious institutions are not held accountable to the priorities and interests of political candidates.

Eye on the Elections

Have you witnessed any misuse of religion by candidates or campaign representatives in the races you’re following? If so, please let us know by submitting an “Eye on the Election” report.

5 Questions for political candidates

As religion plays an increasingly prominent role in American politics, preserving the boundary between religion and government is more vital than ever. America’s political process can be divisive, and never more so than when candidates use the language of faith to advance their own partisan interests, or when they seek to marginalize religious minorities and emphasize their beliefs as the only truth. Rhetoric like that is unhealthy for politics and for religion.  Learn the 5 questions you should be asking political candidates. And get a copy of our guide to engaging candidates on the role of religion in American politics to take with you to the debates this election season. Click here.

Election Year Guides For Candidates AND Religious Leaders

The guide for religious leaders offers legal and ethical counsel on how religious leaders, congregations and religious institutions may appropriately participate in the electoral process. The guide for political candidates describes proper and improper ways to incorporate religious language and references into campaigns.

Running for Office: A Guide For Political Candidates

This resource helps political candidates understand the importance of:

  • Reaching out to religion for personal strength.
  • Communicating respectfully in the world’s most religiously diverse nation.
  • Approaching religion with integrity.
  • Not using religion for partisan political purposes.
  • Speaking in Houses of Worship, Things to know before entering / while in different faith traditions’ Houses of Worship.
  • The Do’s and Don’ts at the intersection
    of religion and politics.
Religion and Politics: A Guide for Houses of Worship

This resource helps religious leaders during the campaign season understand:

  • The importance of encouraging their members / congregants to vote.
  • Why they should never tell members / congregants whom to vote for.
  • That a partnership between religion and government can and should preserve the autonomy of houses of worship and ensure that religious institutions are not held hostage to the priorities and interests of federal, state, or local governments.
  • That religion’s powerful healing force in politics can be severely compromised when America’s shared values are replaced by values that advance only particular sectarian interests.

Civic Participation: Voter Registration and Mobilization

Working with our local Alliances and via our web site, we are ensuring that people of faith and good will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. Through grassroots voter registration drives and broad email distribution, we are helping all Americans to make their voices heard. Our supporters are attending candidate forums, writing letters to their local papers, and sending emails to campaigns to encourage our public leaders to pay careful attention to their concerns.

IRS Resources

IRS Guidance on Churches and Election-Year ActivityIRS Report: Charities, Churches and Politics
IRS “Tax Talk Today”: Political Intervention Do’s and Don’ts for 501(c)(3) Organizations

On October 11th, 2006, The Interfaith Alliance and The IRS teamed up for a NATIONAL PHONE SEMINAR explaining the legal and ethical guidance for 501(c)(3) organizations (including houses of worship) in an election year.

  • READ Speak out, Speak up, Speak Wisely: tips for clergy and lay people.
  • LISTEN to the audio of the discussion (use audio link)
  • READ the transcript of the discussion

Navigating the Intersection of Religion and Politics