News9, Edmond, Oklahoma, 9-27-2010
Churches now endorsing political candidates without fear of losing their tax exemptions. Here comes the theocracy!
Story from News 9:
EDMOND, Oklahoma — In 2008, pastors created “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” a movement created to try and an erase a law that prevents pastors from preaching politics. The participation from pastors over exercising their rights more than doubled this Sunday.
Edmond Pastor Paul Blair was one of over 100 pastors across the country who say they exercised their First Amendment right to endorse political candidates in their sermon Sunday.
The pastors claim a 1954 amendment to the tax code that prohibits such speech is unconstitutional and needs to be challenged.
“The First Amendment is to keep the federal government from coming and telling me what I can and can’t preach,” said Fairview Baptist Church Pastor Paul Blair. “Pastors have been conned by groups like the Americans United for Separation of Church and State that this is wrong, you aren’t suppose to do this.”
It’s a message Pastor Blair has been delivering for two years now. It’s the reason he continues to use his pulpit to endorse candidates.
“On November 2, as this God fearing Oklahoman, as this patriotic American steps into the election booth, I will be casting my ballot for Representative Mary Fallin for governor,” Pastor Blair preached during his sermon.
But federal law says Blair shouldn’t be using the pulpit for politics and the IRS prohibits religious organizations from endorsing candidates.
“The religious people in our society seem to think there are no boundaries for their role in our society,” said Bruce Prescott, a religious talk show host.
The religious radio show host heads the Norman chapter for the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He fears pastors endorsing candidates will only reflect negatively on the church.
“I don’t care who you put in charge. They are fallible human beings. They are not perfect. They are going to do something that doesn’t reflect well on Christ,” said Prescott.
But Blair hopes more pastors will continue to defy the federal government.
“We need another generation of God fearing, Bible thumping, Patriot pastors. That’s why I do what I do,” the pastor said.
Pastor Blair said even if the IRS takes away the church’s tax exempt status, he heatwon’t stop endorsing candidates. He also sent the IRS a DVD of his endorsement of John McCain two years ago. The agency took no action against Blair or his church.