I sent the following e-mail to CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) regarding Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and his appearance at a New Orleans church:
Dear Sir or Madam,
Last October, you posted the following on your website:
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) today filed an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) complaint against the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, MN for violating IRS law by openly endorsing state Senator Michele Bachmann’s candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Churches, like Living Word Christian Center, are absolutely prohibited from intervening in elections for any public office. This prohibition is a condition of the very favorable tax benefits public charities receive under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code.
On October 14, 2006 Ms. Bachmann delivered a campaign stump speech from the Living Word Christian Center’s pulpit and the church’s pastor, Mac Hammond, openly endorsed her candidacy. Pastor Hammond’s comments and Ms. Bachmann’s speech were made during the Living Word Christian Center’s weekend services, presented before the entire congregation and broadcast over the Internet. By using church resources to promote the candidacy of Ms. Bachmann, the church jeopardized its tax status.
So can I expect you will file a similar IRS complaint against First Emmanuel Baptist Church in New Orleans? On Sunday, August 26, Presidential candidate Barack Obama appeared before members of the aforementioned church. He spoke about such issues as expanding employment opportunities for New Orleans residents and well as improving health care. Would those not be considered political issues? More importantly, is First Emmanuel jeopardizing its tax status by providing a platform for Senator Obama’s presidential campaign?
Any clarifications you could provide would be greatly appreciated!
Coon Rapids, MN
I'll post CREW's response in the event I actually receive one.