Legacy Church in NM tells members who to vote for
This past Sunday in Albuquerque, NM, a pastor handed out sample ballots that was highlighted with who they should vote for in the upcoming elections. Of course this is highly unconstitutional, but one thing that is different is that the members are starting to speak out with how wrong it is!
Members Speak Out!
Here is what one parishioner said about the ballots:
I think that's very wrong. It's just like you telling me you 'vote for these people.' Like, you have no choice. You vote for these people.
I have to say that that's exactly what is going on in this church. The Pastor is using his position to push a political agenda. Now here is the hitch, that's fine if you want to do that from your pulpit or your business. You just can't be a 501(3)(c) organization and do this. You will lose your non-profit status if you push politics from the pulpit and you are unable to file for a 501(c)(4) which is just another type of tax exempt business entity.
That means all those Sunday donations you get are no longer untaxed. You have to include them on your taxes. You would officially be a business and have to operate in such a manner. That is the issue here. The issue isn't just that some people don't like politics being preached from the pulpit. The issue is that as a 501(c)(3) organization it is ILLEGAL for you to do it!
This same parishioner had some interesting questions:
What is he doing with these political candidates? What is the underlying motive? Where is the money going to? Is he supporting them financially?
I think these are pretty reasonable questions. As a 501(c)(3) organization the church is allowed to dedicate funds to lobbying with some restrictions on the amount they spend. Is he lobbying for these candidates in the pulpit and with his members money as well? It would be interesting to find out wouldn't it.
To top it off, one of the highlighted candidates is a member of the church. James Scott Baird is running for sheriff and is a member of the church. This is the clearest example of a conflict of interest. How exactly can you trust that they are endorsing him because of his performance or policies when he's benefiting from the church?
I think the person speaking out against this Pastor has a good idea how to recover from this debacle:
He really screwed up. I think we have to advocate and lets get a real preacher back in that church. It's a good church, it's just a bad preacher now.
My guess is this preacher will be out on his ass looking for another flock soon so the organization doesn't endanger their 501(c)(3) status. I don't think it's going to be quick enough to retain some members of the church though considering some are already considering finding a new brainwashing center.
(h/t Tye Felland)