Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A warning to all religious fundies!!


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.

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.

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:
"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.


Anonymous said...

Well, I agree with your sentiment, but don't you think such a standard should be applied to both sides?

Will you rant & whine the next time you see Bill, HIlary, or Sen. Obama speak in a church while campaiging? If you will, I'll join you in denouncing the Huckster doing so.

Jacques Lemaire said...

It always has seemed to be a double standard that people whose religion brings them to vote for conservatives are mixing church and state, whilst the people that pander to the black vote in black churches are just trying to spread enfranchisement.

Either both should be allowed to have religion be a guide, or neither (and I'm pretty sure there is one party that would rather not sequester itself from the votes of blacks in America).

Terry Carter (DC) said...

I absolutely agree it should apply to both sides. I think we can all agree that Conservatives play politics with Religion far more than Liberals & Progressives do. :)

Anonymous said...

Re: Terry Carter -- I don't agree to that stipulation at all. I would say that the Right is stereotyped in this matter much moreso than the left. And, if the Right DOES play politics with religion more than the left, it's still only a matter of degree, not kind. So, even if your assertion is correct, so what? Saying, "I may be a killer/robber/rapist, but at least I don't kill/rob/rape as much as that guy" is no justification.

What's sauce for the goose, etc.

Anonymous said...

I call hypocrisy!

Terry Carter (DC) said...

He's being investigated for using church stationary to actively campaign for Mike Huckabee, thus putting his Church's tax exempt status in jeopardy. There is a difference between speaking at a church and a church actively CAMPAIGNING for you.

Jacques Lemaire said...

So pandering to the religion of some whilst at the same time decrying the religious involvement of others is ok, but once a church official actually endorses someone they've gone too far.

The law is the law, and it should be followed, but it is clear that the other side of this argument is not on solid ground either.

Terry Carter (DC) said...

Once again:

He's being investigated for using church stationary to actively campaign for Mike Huckabee, thus putting his Church's tax exempt status in jeopardy. There is a difference between speaking at a church and a church actively CAMPAIGNING for you.

Pay attention, stop trying to spin buddy.

NptPrchr said...

You're the one spinning, Terry. Nobody who has commented has argued with your repeated reasoning, just your hypocrisy. Who is to say that what you're pointing out is worse than allowing a candidate to use a church's pulpit and worship service to campaign? "Church stationery?" Oooh, that sounds especially heinous.

That church should be investigated; but so should all those that allow Democrat candidates to use their facilities & time to campaign.

Once again: It's about the double-standard.

Terry Carter (DC) said...

You're not too smart there, are you? Using church stationary to actively campaign for a candidate and encourage church members and others to support him is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from having a candidate simply speak at your church.

Besides, I don't think this is an argument the right wing wants to go up against because they will clearly lose.


Anonymous said...

Terry is spot on. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a church pastor openly voicing who he or she would vote for, nor is there anything wrong (or illegal) with a candidate speaking in a church while campaigning. Nor does having a candidate speak in a church indicate an official church funded endorsement or campaign. (And actually, a church giving an official endorsement on its stationary and a candidate talking in a church are two different things entirely anyway.) However, using church stationary as a political endorsement or actively campaigning using church funds is clearly illegal. There isn't a double standard.