Some 60,000 churches in America have been warned not to preach about the moral beliefs or policies of presidential candidates ahead of the upcoming election.
A campaign group has written to the churches telling them that their tax-exempt status will be revoked if they talk about such issues from their pulpits.
But religious liberty lawyers have told churches not to be intimidated into silence, because the US constitution protects their freedom of speech.
The letters have been sent by a group called Americans United for Separation of Church and State, ahead of the presidential election on 6 November.
Erik Stanley of Alliance Defending Freedom said: “It’s very ironic that a group with ‘separation of church and state’ in its name is arguing for more governmental monitoring and control of churches.
“That’s not the separation of church and state. These letters are nothing more than intimidation tactics.
“But churches must not be afraid. They need to stand and proclaim biblical truth during this election season, and there’s nothing wrong with doing so.”
Alliance Defending Freedom is a religious liberty legal group in the US, and is promoting a ‘pulpit freedom Sunday’.
The initiative seeks to promote and protect the freedom of churches to preach about public issues without restriction by the Government.