Kentucky gov. urges politics at pulpit despite federal law

(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin urged a group of preachers to embrace political speech at the pulpit by telling them not to fear a federal law that prohibits candidate endorsements by tax-exempt churches.

Bevin called the federal law a “paper tiger” during an address to preachers at the governor’s mansion last month. A group called Kentuckians Against Matt Bevin posted video captured by someone at the gathering. Bevin says no church has ever been punished under the law.

The governor calls the law “an absolute paper tiger and there is no reason to fear it, there is no reason to be silent.”

The 1954 law says tax-exempt organizations, including churches, may not participate or intervene in any “political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.”

Related: Bevin removes ABC commissioner, citing ‘lost confidence’

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