Usually when you hear about a pastor violating his church’s tax-exempt status by endorsing a candidate, the candidate is conservative, Born-Again, Republican, anti-gay, anti-woman, etc.
That’s not always the case, though.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State is asking the IRS to look into a church whose pastor recently endorsed Barack Obama:
Obama spoke during services at the Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ in Las Vegas on Jan. 13 in what the Las Vegas Review-Journal described as a “surprise appearance.” Before the Illinois senator arrived, Pastor Leon Smith told the congregation, “The more he (Obama) speaks, the more he wins my confidence, and … if the polls were open today, I would cast my vote for this senator.”
Smith added, “If you can’t support your own, you’re never going to get anywhere…. I want to see this man in office.”
“The pastor clearly stated that Obama should be elected, and he did so from the pulpit during Sunday services,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “It’s impossible to see this as anything but an endorsement.”
Not that anyone questioned this, but it just goes to show that groups like AU are not partisan, looking to attack Republicans only.
More than anything, they’re interested in playing fair.
Even when it comes to churches endorsing candidates who support AU’s basic mission.