August 17, 2007

Christian Leaders as Political Operatives

That continues to be a concern, and some (including me) believe a violation of IRS regulations.


Recently, Wiley Drake, the pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, California and second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, endorsed republican candidate Mike Huckabee for president. He did so in a press release made on church stationary and referenced his title with the SBC.


From Beliefnet.com:


"Federal tax law is clear," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United.


"Churches and other nonprofits may not endorse candidates if they want to keep their tax exemption. I am confident that the vast majority of Americans do not want to see their houses of worship politicized."


I hope Rev. Lynn is right, he usually is. I know I agree with him.


Drake responded on Tuesday. "In light of the recent attack from the enemies of God I ask the children of God to go into action with Imprecatory Prayer, especially against Americans United for Separation of Church and State."


I had to look up what an imprecatory prayer was, figuring is wasn't good. I was right. After checking several sources, the consensus is that an imprecatory prayer is akin to a curse, wishing misfortune on others, seeking some twisted form of what they perceive to be appropriate judgement from God for their offenses.


Yeah, this is the kind of guy I want to endorse my favorite presidential candidate (if I had one yet). Well, while he's busy praying against a legitimate non-profit organization, Drake is breaking the law with his political endorsement. I'm sure he will have a way to justify it, these kind of people always seem to, but it speaks poorly of his church for supporting him and the Southern Baptist Convention for having him in a position of leadership.


Maybe the IRS can lead him into paying taxes like other political operatives are required to do.

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