Pastors preaching politics is no longer taboo.

“If my calling gives me more influence than it gives others,” said Bishop Sherwood Carthen of Bayside Church, “then God bless ‘em!”

From town meetings to barbershops, Sacramento spiritual leaders are on the forefront, going just about everywhere to speak up on local issues.

“When we try to elect leaders,” Carthen said, “we want to elect leaders who will pay attention to these issues and won’t ignore them.”

As bold as it is, it can be risky for pastors to play the political game. For one, the IRS can strip a church’s tax exempt status for engaging in politicking.

Carthen says he isn’t concerned because his services aren’t political; they’re spiritual.

“To talk about a candidate or a specific candidate, it would be death to the church,” he said.

Outside of church, however, Carthen is very vocal about his political views. He has stood alongside Mayor Kevin Johnson in the fight against street gangs and in the fight against redistricting in Oak Park.

Carthen said he plans to keep voicing his political opinions; not in a church, but as individual.

“I certainly have the right to vote,” he said. “I also have the right to talk about who’s leading our city and who’s leading it well.”