The final tally is in on the number of pastors who defied the IRS on Pulpit Freedom Sunday, a day set aside for churches to talk politics, endorse candidates, and risk their tax-exempt status. Three area churches participated, according to the national organization that sponsored the event: Wallace Memorial Baptist Church and St. Paul Presbyterian in Knoxville and Nance’s Grove Baptist Church in New Market.
The list includes 1,586 churches, up from 539 last year. There were 26 churches in Tennessee who made the list.
A group called the Alliance Defending Freedom organized the event to protest an IRS ruling that says political endorsements risk a church’s tax-exempt status. No church has lost its tax exemption since the administrative rule was put into effect.