National Organization Calls for Investigation into Edmond Church

Thursday, September 30th 2010, 1:30 pm
By: News 9

By Jon Jordan, NEWS 9

EDMOND, Oklahoma -- The Americans United for Separation of Church and State is asking the IRS to investigate a Church in Edmond after the church's pastor declared his support for a gubernatorial candidate from the pulpit.

Read a letter from the Americans United for Separation of Church and State to the IRS.

Last Sunday Pastor Paul Blair, who in 2008 announced he was voting for then presidential candidate John McCain, declared his support for Republican gubernatorial candidate Mary Fallin.

Standing from the pulpit Blair told his congregation, "On November 2, "as this God-fearing Oklahoman, as this patriotic American steps into the election booth, I will be casting my ballot for Representative Mary Fallin for governor."

Federal law prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit groups, which includes houses of worship, from intervening in elections by endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.

"When churches become cogs in a candidate's political machine, they ought to lose their tax exemption," said Executive Director for Americans United for Separation of Church and State Barry Lynn. "I urge the IRS to investigate this matter and apply the law."

Blair joined a number of other pastors across the country who endorsed candidates as part of "Pulpit Freedom Sunday." According to Americans United the annual event is sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund, a religious right legal group founded by preachers who chose to ignore the law by opposing candidate from the pulpit.

More: Edmond Pastor Continues Preaching Politics from Pulpit