Monday, May 22, 2006

Katherine Harris Hosted By Sanderson Christian Revival Center

U.S. Representative, Katherine Harris spoke at Sanderson Christian Revival Center in Baker County Florida on Sunday, May 20, 2006, according to Karen Voyles at Gainesville.com. (www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=20060522/LOCAL/205220320.

The article says that "Harris limited her political remarks while speaking from the altar, and used her time in front of the congregation to talk about her beliefs. The political questions and answers were mostly dealt with in the church lobby and during fellowship following the evening service."

Whoops!
According to IRS guidelines, the church may be in violation because they failed to invite all of the candidates. It does not matter whether she spoke about politics in the pulpit or the nursery, the church is still required to treat all candidates identically. Neither the church nor the preacher may endorse a candidate. Rev. Duwayne Bridges Jr., walks the fine line by saying "If I weren't a preacher, I would be working in a campaign somewhere," the younger Bridges told his congregation Sunday night. "My primary goal is to encourage people to run for office and to support those who have the footprints of Jesus behind their life."

Was that an endorsement of Harris?

Blog Mission

This blog will explore the convergence of church and state by cataloguing examples of religious institutions that may be walking the line and risking their 501(c)3 status through involvement in political activities.

Most not-for-profit organizations avoid political activity altogether because the guidelines have never been clear. The IRS has finally studied the issue and has published their results and new guidelines at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=154712,00.html

My initial assumption is that leaders of these institutions would never wish to risk the nonprofit status of their church, and therefore will appreciate the information contained herein. After all, the last thing on earth that parishioners should want is the invasion of their church by politics and the government. Rather, the church should be their haven in which they may worship as they wish in our free country.

We shall see how this plays out.
Please submit links to stories that I've missed in the comments so that we can collect an ongoing record.