Thursday, June 12, 2008

Warroad pastor tells Amercians United he will not be intimidated

From Americans United for Separation of Church and State

IRS Should Investigate Minnesota Church For Electioneering, Says Americans United

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Warroad Community Church Pastor's Partisan Preaching Violates Federal Tax Law, Says AU's Lynn

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today urged the Internal Revenue Service to investigate a Minnesota church whose pastor insisted that Christians cannot vote for presidential candidates Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

Pastor Gus Booth of Warroad Community Church in northern Minnesota delivered a sermon May 18 in which he said, “If you are a Christian, you cannot support Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.…Both Hillary and Barack favor the shedding of innocent blood (abortion) and the legalization of the abomination of homosexual marriage.”

Booth’s sermon was profiled in the Warroad Pioneer, a weekly newspaper, under the headline, “Local pastor uses scripture to oppose presidential candidates Clinton and Obama.”

About two weeks after the sermon, Booth, who was a delegate to this year’s National Republican Convention, sent an e-mail message to Americans United, noting that he had used his pulpit for partisan purposes and attaching a copy of the newspaper article.

(emphasis MFC)

“I am writing you to let you know that I preached a sermon in my church on Sunday, May 18, 2008, that specifically addressed the current candidates for President in the light of the Bible,” Booth wrote. “As you can see from the attached newspaper article, I specifically made recommendations as to who a Christian should vote for.”

Booth continued, “I have read in the past about how you have a campaign to intimidate churches into silence when it comes to speaking about candidates for office. I am letting you know that I will not be intimidated into silence when I believe that God wants me to address the great moral issues of the day, including who will be our next national leader.”

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, called Booth’s actions a flagrant violation of federal tax law. Churches and other tax-exempt organizations are free to address moral issues but are not allowed to engage in campaign intervention.

“Booth is free to endorse anyone he wants to as a private citizen,” Lynn said. “But when he is standing in his tax-exempt pulpit as the top official of a tax-exempt religious organization, he must lay partisanship aside. The IRS needs to look into this apparent violation of federal tax law.”

In his
letter to the IRS, Lynn noted that the federal tax agency has enhanced its enforcement of the “no-politicking” rule and urged the agency to make certain Booth follows the law.

Lynn told that IRS that Booth’s message to AU “is a clear indication that Booth is aware that his actions are legally problematic, yet he chose to proceed anyway.”

18 comments:

John said...

Too bad for AU that Booth beat them to the punch. He sent the IRS a copy of the same newspaper article on his sermon that he sent AU. That pitiful wail you hear is the sound of AU losing its ability to intimidate pastors.

Anonymous said...

Break the law, you pay. Knowingly violate the law, and you are a criminal.

Just start paying taxes and he can spout all the hate he wants.

Give to Caesar what is Caesars.

John said...

"Give to Caesar what is Caesars."

Finish the verse: Give to God what is God's.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Booth wrote,

"...I preached a sermon in my church on Sunday, May 18, 2008, that specifically addressed the current candidates for President in the light of the Bible."

In the light of what **you** say the Bible says, that is. Similarly, you state - based on **your** interpretation of the Bible - that gay marriage is an abomination.

Judge not, that you be not judged. We are all sinners.

Anonymous said...

posted youtube video on this issue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rkh7SjgM1NQ

Anonymous said...

The only thing Jesus rendered to Caesar was His life but He wasn't obligated to do that....

He knew Ceasar was a thief but still died for him.

Anonymous said...

Americas' church-going Christians are 100% controlled by the State via IRS (unless the church is not a 501 c 3 corporation)

501 c 3 "Christians" are cut-off from Jesus Christ by definition and are powerless in today's society....they are like headless zombies....

Anonymous said...

When the publicity surge dies down, each person directly impacted by this will most likely evaluate whether they feel ok about the types of messages that were conveyed, the fact that rules were openly disobeyed, the types of attention that were received, and ultimately, any resulting changes. In the end, each person in the affected congregation will ask themselves: do I feel like this was acceptable and productive behavior for someone to whom I trust my most personal of all guidance? Some will say yes; others will be uncomfortable with how this unfolded. Similarly, family members and friends must be affected by surges of publicity. I sometimes wonder what kind of clean-up might be necessary after the initial burst onto the public scene due to controversial topics...

Chuck Darrell said...

I wish LBJ had asked himself the same question when he put a mean-spirited gag order on the freedom of speech of pastors.

FYI - this wll be happening in scores of churches across the United States. Gus was just the first shot across the bow.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the "gag order" apply to leaders of all religious institutions - not just to Christian church leaders? Would anyone here be concerned if all the spiritual leaders of a non-Christian religion began urging everyone in their places of worship to vote a certain way....and if they succeeded in electing a new president because of it? I suggest this scenario in case it might help illustrate why so many people want religion separate from government. Maybe this is a non-issue. Would anyone here change their response if the person who made national news for deliberately trying to influence presidential votes came from a different religion?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't have any problem with any religious institution speaking freely from the "pulpit."

I do not harbor ignorance and fear towards faith. It seems that many posting here are haters of relion.

Freedom of speech should apply to all religions. Censoring religious leaders on the most important issues in society harms everyone as government has no moral authority to check its' excess.

Allowing all faiths to speak freely and openly establishes none.

Anonymous said...

I hate no religion. just oppression.

Anonymous said...

Gag orders hide liberal torture chambers

Anonymous said...

Can you further explain: Gag orders hide liberal torture chambers"? I am not sure what that means. What are liberal torture chambers?

I think the bottom line is that you don't want anyone to be restricted from speaking about politics. Is that right or am I way off? Does that also extend to retaining the tax exemption even when any 501c3 organization speaks about politics?

Anonymous said...

I am the liberal that has commented very often I don't understand that?

sorry please explain.

JohnnyRussia said...

Rev Gus Booth says, "John McCain, of course" when asked who he endorses.

Why?

Does he think an unqualified, witchcraft-"saved" lunatic who shares his fringe views is an ideal candidate to be a heartbeat away from the highest office in the land?

Guess, what, Junior!

The majority of this country doesn't share your views!

So I guess we can thank "god" for that!

Cat said...

Whatever happened to invoking the name of God instead of the name of McCain, Palin, Obama or Biden.

I guess that's just old news and not powerful enough and you sure can't get on stage with God either.

Cat said...

I think churches are on a slippery slope called the lure of power.

I have been Christian all of my life and left "religious institutions" during the last election. I have also worked at one time for Crisis Pregnancy Centers. What I found was that I could VERY EASILY get volunteers for politic campaigning but when it came time to donate to help unwed pregnant mothers with babysitting so they could work, or a place to sleep that wasn't pitiable, those same enthusiastic volunteers weren't available. So I could talk someone into keeping their unborn child and condemn them to the life of an outcast in the Church.

The pulpit should be used to inspire people to great acts of mercy and compassion. Maybe if the Church were doing it's job, we wouldn't have to worry so much over the legislation aspect. People would simply be inclined to do the right thing or get help if they made a mistake.

It's so very easy to chase politics and power; it's much harder to inspire and work for all humanity.

My kids started get flack from a friend becuase they were allowed to read the Harry Potter series. When they asked me about the accusations from the religious friend, I told them that the world would do itself in just fine with or without Harry Potter because the Church has lost view of it's first obligation - taking care of those around us - instead of legislating those around us.

I will not return to any Church until the satanic lure of politics and hatred has been stripped from it's halls; and this kind of behavior only furthers my resolve.