I have long wondered whether this law was ever actually enforced, especially after Mike Huckabee made an appearance/campaign stop at Jerry Falwell's church in Lynchburg earlier this week.
Southern Baptist pastor Wiley Drake said Wednesday that he is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service for endorsing GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee in a press release written on church stationery.Americans United for the Separation of Church and State filed the complaint with the IRS, and Drake had the following to say about the situation:
Under federal tax law, church officials can legally discuss politics, but they cannot endorse candidates or parties without risking their tax-exempt status. Most who do so receive a warning.
Drake, a prominent pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention, said he received a 14-page letter from the IRS on Feb. 7.
On Aug. 11, Drake wrote a press release on letterhead from the First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park that announced his personal endorsement of Huckabee and asked all Southern Baptists to get behind the candidate.
"I think I'm perfectly within my rights and I am upset," he said in an interview.No sir, you're not by any stretch within your rights. I realize the Constitution is something easily disregarded by the religious fundies of the right wing, but you are certainly NOT within your rights to mix politics and religion, and you're certainly not within your rights to keep your tax exempt status if you do so. I commend the IRS and the Americans United for Separation of Church and State on this.