Pro-Abortion Group Files IRS Complaint Over Pastors Endorsing John McCain

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 29, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Group Files IRS Complaint Over Pastors Endorsing John McCain

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 29
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — A leading pro-abortion group has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service over the group of 30 pastors who banded together last weekend to endorse John McCain. The pastors are challenging IRS regulations and federal laws that prohibit them from supporting a candidate from the pulpit.

The pastors backed McCain and said they did so because he is pro-life on abortion and markedly different than Barack Obama, who supports unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy funded with tax dollars.

Now, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, which has intimidated pro-life churches and pastors in the past, has filed formal complaints with the IRS over the pastors.

Barry Lynn, the director of the group, said in a statement that the pastors who violated the anti-endorsement law should be "ashamed."

“These pastors flagrantly violated the law and now must deal with the consequences,” he said.

"This is one of the most appalling Religious Right gambits I’ve ever seen. Church leaders are supposed to tend to Americans’ spiritual needs, not behave like partisan political hacks. I urge the IRS to act swiftly in these cases," he added.

“A pastor who knowingly violates federal tax law is setting a poor example for his or her congregation. Every pastor who took part in this stunt ought to be ashamed," Lynn continued.

The endorsement effort was 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.

It restricts tax-exempt non-profits, such as churches, from engaging in political campaigns.

ADF attorney Erik Stanley previously commented on the campaign.

"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," he said.

"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.

A pro-abortion group of Christian and Jewish clergy, led by United Church of Christ pastors Eric Williams and Robert Molsberry asked the IRS beforehand to put a stop to the effort.

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