ELECTIONS CAN BE challenging times for nonprofit organizations, especially those of us deeply committed to social change. Sojourners is incorporated under the IRS Code as a 501(c)(3) organization, which means that we are prohibited from “directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”
While scrupulously avoiding “intervening” in any partisan activities, we of course remain committed to our mission, which is to “articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world.”
Those two poles—staying neutral in partisan campaigns, on the one hand, and working to build a movement to “change the world,” on the other—define the space within which we work, during an election year and at any other time.
We believe that elections matter—especially, from a biblical point of view, because they profoundly affect those that scripture calls the “least of these,” the likelihood of war or peace, and the health of our planet. (See Jim Wallis’ article “How to Choose a President” for more on that theme.) And many of us have strong convictions about which candidates, and which party’s approach, better reflect those biblical commitments.
Individually, in our personal lives, we have the indisputable right to make our convictions known, to advocate for candidates, even to run for office if we so choose. But as an incorporated nonprofit, Sojourners must do its best to maintain electoral nonpartisanship.