Pastor Jim Garlow Endorses Political Candidate at Church, Then Tells IRS, “Sue Me”

Last week, I posted about “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” an event where church pastors defy the law by endorsing political candidates from the pulpits of their tax-exempt churches. (The law basically says that non-profit groups, including churches, don’t have to pay taxes — in exchange, though, they can’t endorse or campaign against specific candidates.)

The IRS ignored pastors participating in this event for years due to (what they say were) bureaucratic reasons, but they recently settled a lawsuit brought about by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and promised they would prosecute pastors who violated the law.

So what does it look like when a pastor endorses a candidate? CNN’s Sara Grossman tells us:

On Sunday, pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in California stood before his congregation of more than 2,000 and told them he would be making an unusual announcement.

The pastor proceeded to warn his audience against voting for a candidate in the upcoming midterm elections who supports gay marriage and abortion, even if that candidate, Carl DeMaio, is a Republican.

Garlow told his followers he would be endorsing DeMaio’s rival, Democratic incumbent Scott Peters, representative for California’s 52nd District, to send a scathing message to Republican leadership that candidates who back abortion and gay rights are unacceptable to the party’s Christian base.

You can watch the video below. It was part of a sermon series called “Brave” (sure…) and featured an in-person message from Rick Santorum. The fun begins around the 53:00 mark:



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Even More Church/State Violations Uncovered in Texas School District; Is Anyone There Trying to Fix the Problems?

A few weeks ago, I posted about the numerous church/state violations taking place at China Elementary in Texas’ Hardin-Jefferson Independent School District.

Just to offer some quick examples, the school’s Facebook page was full of mentions of the teacher-led “Hawks for Christ” group, not to mention pictures of teachers wearing club shirts — both of which are illegal:



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Student-Led Prayers Are Okay… but What’s This?

In an article for the Cape Gazette in Delware, editor Dave Frederick wrote about how two local football teams met at midfield after the game

… to give thanks and put the football game into perspective, yielding to a higher power. Jevon Currie of Cape followed by Tyuane Johnson of Cambridge led services. Anyone who has first amendment issues with prayer by public school players, remember that the spontaneous display led by players is perfectly permissible.

Well, he’s right about that.

But if you scroll down the page, Frederick includes this interesting picture:



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Is This Painting of Two Kids Praying Religious? A School District’s Lawyer Says No

This is a painting called “Faith in America” by Donald Zolan:

That image might have a place on a postcard or church wall, but certainly not in the main office at Kenneth Cooper Middle School in Oklahoma City… which, as you might guess, is exactly where it is. The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the district’s superintendent urging him to take it down:

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After Speaking Out Against “In God We Trust” Display, Alabama Atheist’s Next Target is Religious Veterans’ Monument

Back in August, several non-Christians spoke in front of the Mobile County Commission (in Alabama) to request they put up displays reading things like “In Reason We Trust.” It was in response to a vote to put “In God We Trust” on a plaque in the city’s Administration Building. Despite the pushback, the Commission denied those requests, saying only the Christian phrase would go up.

Amanda Scott, a member of the Mobile Atheist Community, was one of the people who fought against the Christian privilege:

Her willingness to speak up also made her the target of several online threats, including one from a correctional officer.

But Amanda isn’t backing off. In fact, she has a new mission involving a veterans’ memorial at the Baldwin County Courthouse:

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