Pastors preach for politics on pulpit

Sunday, September 28th 2008, 7:55 pm
By: News 9

By Jon Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Pastors all across the country chose to bring politics to the pulpit by taking part in "Pulpit Freedom Sunday." This movement was created to try and an erase a 54-year-old law that prevents pastors from preaching politics.

Sunday morning, Pastor Paul Blair gave a different type of sermon at the Fairview Baptist Church. The sermon had him endorsing a candidate for president, something the law makes clear he isn't supposed to do.

He outlined the differences between the two candidates for president by bringing up gay marriage. The pastor told his congregation it would be a mistake to vote for Senator Obama because in his words, Obama "doesn't defend the sanctity of the home."

"As a Christian, a born again believer in Jesus Christ, as a citizen of the United States of America, I will be casting my vote in the November election for the patriot John Sydney McCain, not for Barack Hussein Obama," Pastor Blair said during his sermon.

By standing at the pulpit and giving this sermon, Pastor Blair took the law head on, and he may have delivered his most controversial sermon ever.

According to the IRS, the law specifically states a pastor speaking from the pulpit cannot endorse a candidate nor should he compare voting records of candidates. His church now risks losing its tax exempt status and may even face additional taxes.

Pastor Blair said he's only doing what many pastors did before him.

"Pastors for centuries named names of who to vote for and who not to vote for, and it wasn't unusual until this last generation, the last 50 years, we've been conned into believing that we're supposed to not talk about religion and politics," Pastor Blair said.

After Pastor Blair gave his sermon, he received a big cheer from those in the church. His members were very supportive.

"Incredible sermon, this sermon needs to get out to everyone in the United States," church member James Basinger said.

Pastor Blair was one of hundreds of other pastors in 22 states taking part in "Pulpit Freedom Sunday."

"That's what we do here. We preach the book regardless of what public opinion seems to feel about it," Pastor Blair said.

As for how the IRS will feel about, it is unclear. The IRS said they are well aware of the "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" movement and said they will be investigating the issue.

A conservative legal group plans to send copies of several pastors' sermons to the IRS with hopes of setting off a legal fight and ending the restriction on church involvement in politics.