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Part of the mission of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the public-policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, led by Richard D. Land, is to expand, generally, the freedom of religious groups to influence law and policy. This past Sunday, Land was among more than 400 religious leaders to participate in the Alliance Defense Fund’s Pulpit Freedom Sunday, wherein pastors videotaped themselves preaching to their congregations about scripture, politics and political candidates to challenge the Internal Revenue Services’s rule that prohibits churches with 501(c)3 status from endorsing political candidates, reported The Christian Post. The plan was for pastors to mail those tapes to the IRS and then the Alliance Defense Fund will defend churches if their tax-exempt status is threatened in court.
It appears the evolution of Gov. Rick Perry’s prayer event began even earlier than recently reported in Time, and is part of a wider strategy by influential conservative Christian figures to unseat President Barack Obama in 2012.