North Carolina Church Runs Ad For Republican Fundraiser in Newsletter, Claiming That’s Allowed Under IRS Rules

Churches are not supposed to engage in party politics if they want to continue to claim the tax-exempt status that costs Americans roughly $71,000,000,000 a year.

That means you can’t legally run an invitation like this in your church bulletin:

No doubt, that’s a political event. In fact, it’s an out-and-out fundraiser, with tickets costing anywhere from $25 to $4,000Brenden Jones, by the way, is a deacon at Tabor City Baptist Church in North Carolina, which happened to issue the publication in which this ad appeared. As you can see, Jones is now running for the State House of Representatives (as a Republican). Lt. Governor Dan Forest, who endorses Jones, is a Republican as well.

But no worries: Bruce Schmidt, the pastor of Tabor City Baptist, says it all has nothing to do with party politics.

We are honored to pray for and acknowledge our leaders, Democrat or Republican. We are not giving an endorsement as a church. Which we’re prohibited to do as a tax exempt organization. But we feel like it’s very very important to give acknowledgement and encourage people to pray and do their civic duty and step up and be involved in the political process.”

If you’re an average-to-good reader of body language and facial expressions, watch the pastor make his case in this video, starting at 0:57. What do you see?

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder of Moral Compass, a now dormant site that poked fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He joined Friendly Atheist in 2013.