Pastors Endorse John McCain Over Abortion to Overturn IRS Regulations

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 28, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pastors Endorse John McCain Over Abortion to Overturn IRS Regulations

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 28
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — A group of pastors issued endorsements for John McCain on Sunday morning in a concerted effort to overturn a decades-long rule prohibiting endorsements from the pulpit. The pastors are aided by a pro-life law firm, the Alliance Defense Fund, and say the rule violates their free speech rights.

Pastor Luke Emrich of New Life Church in West Bend, Wisconsin told his congregation on Sunday that he supports Senator John McCain because of his pro-life position on abortion.

Rev. Ron Johnson Jr. also joined in the national campaign, known as "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," and he is the senior associate pastor at Living Stones Church in Crown Point, Indina.

Johnson also said abortion is the key issue in the campaign for Christian voters and highlighted the division between Obama and McCain.

"If a candidate supports something that is evil and wicked from a biblical perspective," Johnson said, "then I have the right to call out the wickedness, and I have the right to say this is what this person stands for — this is wrong."

The Rev. Jody Hice of Bethlehem First Baptist Church outside of Atlanta also endorsed McCain and said he based his recommendations on McCain’s opposition to abortion compared to Obama’s strongly pro-abortion position.

“These are not political issues,” Hice said. “There are moral issues.”

More than 33 pastors across the United States are involved in the endorsement effort.

Hice’s endorsement received the support of his members with Doug Freeman telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I am really proud of him for standing up and having the backbone to talk about the moral issues.”

The effort is intended to elicit an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service that ADF would then challenge in federal court, with the ultimate goal of persuading the Supreme Court to overthrow the 54-year-old ban called the Johnson Amendment that restricts tax-exempt non-profits, such as churches, from engaging in political campaigns.

ADF attorney Erik Stanley previously told, "For so long, there has been this cloud of intimidation over the church. It is the job of the pastors of America to debate the proper role of church in society. It’s not for the government to mandate the role of church in society."

"We’re not encouraging any congregation to violate the law. What we’re encouraging them to do is exercise their constitutional right in the face of an unconstitutional law," he added.

Stanley said three dozen church leaders from more than 20 states have agreed to deliver a political sermon that will endorse a political candidate despite the risk of losing their churches’ tax-exempt status.

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