I encourage everyone to read the following article: Church Free Speech. It is an editorial on the way our government restricts political speech in the U.S. It turns out it was one of the many mad ideas of LBJ made law.This is perhaps not surprising, given the role of the churches in the civil rights movement. LBJ did what was politically expedient, and he said the right things in public, but the fact that many of his policies ended up having very racist outcomes, despite the War on Poverty rhetoric, should say everything about who he really was.
The First Amendment of the Constitution says that Congress shall make NO LAW either restricting the freedom of speech or setting up a state religion. This means that the government cannot tell people what they can or cannot say, particularly those in religious positions. It absolutely does not mean that religious leaders are not allowed to engage in political speech.
The tax-exempt status was a sinister way of shutting down political speech in our churches by first offering them something, and then threatening to take it away from them. Had it been in place, they would have been able to silence Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. before he even got started. Which, of course, is the intention of the law. The intention of the law is that it is and can be used to intimidate people to not engage in political speech. And that is outright illegal. It is time churches got together and brought this to the Supreme Court so we can get rid of this illegal law.