National Group Wants Tax-Exempt Status Stripped from Edmond Church

Tuesday, October 5th 2010, 4:27 pm
By: News 9

By Jon Jordan, NEWS 9

EDMOND, Oklahoma -- Americans United for Separation of Church and State is urging the IRS to strip an Edmond church of its tax-exempt status. The organization said the church's pastor Paul Blair refuses to follow the law by continuing to endorse political candidates from the pulpit.

"Pastor Paul Blair is defiant. He is openly violating the law," said Rob Boston, with Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "People like Pastor Blair and those who think like him want all the benefits of tax exemption but they don't want to meet the responsibility that comes with it."

Boston is referring to Blair's constant refusal to follow law by choosing to endorse candidates from the pulpit like he did in 2008

"I will be casting my vote in the November election for the patriot John Sydney McCain," said Pastor Paul Blair during a sermon.

He most recently endorsed the republican candidate for governor, Mary Fallin.

"As this patriotic American steps into the election booth, I will be casting my ballot for Representative Mary Fallin," said Pastor Blair during a sermon in September.

Blair said endorsing candidates is a right given to him under the Constitution.

"The First Amendment is to keep the federal government from coming and telling me what I can and can't preach," said Pastor Blair.

But Americans United, who wrote a letter urging the IRS to act against Blair's church, believe it's only a matter of time before they act.

"People like Pastor Blair may have a moment in the media right now, but in the long run he's just shooting himself in the foot as far as being a religious leader who is going to be taken seriously," said Boston.

Americans United believes the reason the IRS has failed to act against pastors is because the IRS has been focusing its efforts on internal restructuring.

More: Edmond Pastor, Church Group Under Fire Again for Preaching Politics