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Posted by on Jan 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

Prominent Black Southern Baptist Pastor Endorses Ron Paul on Church Website

Back in October, Americans United for Separation of Church and State requested the Internal Revenue Service to investigate whether First Baptist Church of Dallas broke the law when it posted media clips of Pastor Robert Jeffress endorsing Texas governor and (now) failed presidential candidate Rick Perry.

Now, another Southern Baptist pastor from Texas has endorsed a presidential candidate via the church’s website.

Rev. Voddie Baucham of Houston-area Grace Family Baptist Church recently posted a lengthy, detailed endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on the church’s website.  [Side Note: Baucham’s rationale for supporting Paul is indeed interesting; check it out]

Baucham is one of the most well-known African-Americans in the Southern Baptist Convention and perhaps the most prominent African-American Baptist Calvinist.

Ron Paul 2012 websites have also touted the endorsement of Baucham.  Talking Points Memo covered Baucham’s endorsement as well.  See “Ron Paul Touts Endorsement From Pastor Who Railed Against ‘Sodomites’”  [Anyone who has followed Baucham knows he has a penchant for ‘railing’ against a host of things]

TPM does not address the church-state issue at play here.  Additionally, there’s no mention of the most fascinating angle to Baucham’s endorsement: that a prominent African-American pastor has endorsed Paul despite the fact that Paul continues to be hounded by charges of racism.

Returning to the issue of Baucham using church resources to endorse candidate Paul:

In the case of Robert Jeffress, a clip of his televised introduction of Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit was posted on the FBC Dallas website.  A second clip of Jeffress endorsing Perry during an interview with Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball was also posted on the church’s website.

Baucham, however, has offered a more direct endorsement of a candidate.  In our digital age, is there any real difference between a pastor making a direct endorsement of a candidate via the church’s website or via the church’s pulpit?

This seems to be a rather blatant violation of the law.  I suspect the IRS will again turn a blind eye to this matter though.

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  1. Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

    In 1954, Congress amended the Internal Revenue Code to include a prohibition on charities (which includes churches) from “participat[ing] in, or interven[ing] in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”


    Interesting that you, as an elder of a church (which is a 501c3 organization), are not familiar with the relevant IRS regulations.

    Most pastors do not blatantly violate the law in this manner.

    If you desire the freedom to engage in politicking, why not forfeit your tax-exempt status?

    That’s be the more honest approach than breaking the law…

  2. Churches are tax exempt by federal mandate, not because they have a 501c3 (which our church does not). Even if they decided to revoke a 501c3, it would not affect the churches taxes because you can only be taxed on income and all “gifts” to a church are donations (therefore untaxable).

    Moreover, the first ammendment trumps IRS code and I would be willing to take that to court.

    I encourage you to do a little more research and not let the federal government scare you into not voicing a Biblical opinion on politics. Here is a link to the ADF website that has been fighting this battle:

  3. From the above website:
    1. Under the First Amendment, a pastor, not the IRS, determines what his sermon will say.

    Groups like Americans United intentionally trigger IRS investigations that will silence churches through fear, intimidation, and disinformation.
    It’s a contradiction for groups that say they believe in “separation of church and state” to say it’s the role of the IRS to decide what pastors can talk about in church without being investigated.

    A pastor’s duty to speak truth from the pulpit is a duty owed to God, not the tax man.

    2. The IRS shouldn’t be allowed to violate the Constitution.

    Churches were tax exempt long before the IRS even existed.
    IRS rules don’t trump the Constitution, and the First Amendment certainly trumps the Johnson Amendment.

    Pastors spoke freely from the pulpit without worrying about tax exemptions until 1954. That’s when Senator Lyndon Johnson amended the tax code to prohibit any speech about a political candidate.

    There is no surer way to destroy religion than to begin taxing it. As the U.S. Supreme Court has noted, the power to tax involves the power to destroy. The real effect of the Johnson Amendment is that pastors are muzzled for fear of investigation by the IRS.

    3. This is not about:
    A. turning the church into a political action committee
    B. Allowing Contributions to candidates
    C. Any particular candidate or political party

    This is about pastors taking a stand for religious freedom without fear of censorship by the government or worrying about jeopardizing their church’s tax-exempt status.

  4. Let me start off by saying: While I’m sure you know more than I about pastoring a church (I’m not a pastor), I’m confident that I have a stronger background in the field of First Amendment, Religion and the Law.

    A couple things:

    Whether or not you have formally sought 501c3 status and completed Form 1023, any “charitable organization” that wishes to be exempt from federal taxes must abide by the relevant portion of the Internal Revenue Code.

    If your church does not pay federal taxes, you are indeed TAKING the exemption.

    I don’t know anything about the inner workings of your church. But most churches do generate income – income that would be taxable were it not for the tax exemption.

    While you seem to be familiar with the ADF, your comments suggest otherwise. You write as being exempt from federal taxes is not a “big deal” to churches and other charitable organizations.

    Obviously, it is a big deal. Otherwise, the ADF wouldn’t have spent much time and money to sponsor their Pulpit Freedom campaign. In fact, the link you offer makes clear that there is such a prohibition on church politicking.

    ADF does not deny the existence of the prohibition. They just don’t the prohibition to be enforced. Thus, their recruitment of pastors to challenge the prohibition in Court.

    Your second comment is simply an argument against Americans United and an argument against the PROHIBITION.

    That’s fine. Let’s just not pretend that the prohibition doesn’t exist. Also, the last sentence you cited makes clear the importance of the tax-exempt status to churches. If the tax exempt status were not important, all this would be much ado about nothing. Clearly, it is important. Oddly, you’ve simultaneously touted the efforts of ADF and downplayed the value of tax exemption to churches. Bizarre.

    Speaking of a Biblical opinion on politics, I realize that the endorsement of Ron Paul was supported with a handful of bible verses. Although, I’m not sure how Luke 6:40 supports the eradication of the Department of Education.

    Interesting that the endorsement made no mention of Paul’s newsletters. I reckon it would be a little difficult to provide biblical justification for those racist newsletters. Nothing “biblical” about those particular opinions of Ron Paul.

  5. Most important, is not whether the church should be taxed, but whether donations to the church are qualified deductions for the members. Should the church violate the regulation, the IRS may deny members of that church from deducting their donations. The church would no longer be considered a charitable organization but a political one.

  6. Further, few churches operate at a “profit” but spend on operations every nickel they receive (sometimes in the form of outrageous salaries and benefits for pastors). Thus they would probably have no significant taxable income. However, the staff might lose the very valuable housing allowance deduction.

  7. BTW, I practice in the area of non-profit law and work with a lot of religious organizations that are not churches but are 501(c)3, as well as with a few churches and para-church organizations.

  8. Answer to big daddy weave. Try this little episode in Va. Colonial History. Elijah Craig and the Committee of Baptists met with the colonial legislators and agreed that in exchange for their freedom, the Baptist ministers would encourage the young men in their communities to enlist in the patriots; cause (read enlist in a civil war against a duly established government). Could that be why Thomas Jefferson attended a Baptist church meeting in the Capital Building, when he was president? And why did the Supreme Court in the 1790s and again in the 1890s call the United States a Christian nation? Could it be because, the laws of this nation as well as its structures were really taken from the biblical background? And didn’t the congress pass that piece of junk legislation, because LBJ was made at some Baptist preachers who had opposed his election to the Congress? In other words, it was a spite law, and the IRS, always ready to grab more control, leaped into the fray. Sooner or later they will decide that Big Daddy Weave can’t preach Hell or against Sodomy cause that is just so much junk from the past that needs to be jettisoned. And, of course, there are those who want to put all Bible believing preachers in insane asylums as one liberal female chaplain said back in circa 1990. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! I live about a 55 minute drive from where one of my ancestors took part in the American Revolutionary Battle of Guilford Courthouse, and I think I can safely say he did not intend for any outfit like the IRS to tell his denomination what they could or could not preach. Big Daddy Weave, you have bought the liberal, contemporary pabulum that is costing us our freedoms right now…

  9. The IRS is not engaged in telling a denomination “what they could or could not preach.” Likewise, a denomination cannot step across the line and tell a worshiper for whom they should vote. That is a political position being taken by an entity that is tax-exempt. The violation is obvious, and it is flagrant. On the theological side, if we would remain centered on praising the Lord and telling the story of grace, we wouldn’t get side-tracked by trying to re-interpret the Constitution.

  10. Funny. For the record, I believe in separation between church and state, but for religious reasons (keeping the holy away from the profane), not out of any concern for government. Still, allow me to state that when the many liberal religious organizations start getting harassed by the IRS, that is when I will believe that the degenerate Barry Lynn actually cares about separation between church and state. As you brought race into this discussion, allow me to propose that Barry Lynn has never brought IRS charges against a black pastor that endorses, raises money for and uses church property, resources, and volunteers to organize for Barack Obama, and never will. Do not claim that this does not routinely go on, because I live in one of this country’s erstwhile civil rights movement capitals.

  11. Job, I can agree with you in one sense, i.e., we know that African-American churches push the line, where others would not get away with it. However, for the rest of us to say constantly, “they did it, and you didn’t go after them,” sounds dangerously like my grand-twins, who claim: “She did it, and you didn’t punish her.” Are we so immature? Should we not be living above this, and realizing that there is a right and a wrong way for us to do things? We must maintain a constitutional standard here, rather than using others’ questionable actions as some kind of justification for our own transgressions. It is wrong for a church to take an exemption and then endorse a candidate, period. While we complain about others doing that, we must not fall off the cliff ourselves and expect to get away with it.

  12. Singer:

    “We must maintain a constitutional standard here, rather than using others’ questionable actions as some kind of justification for our own transgressions. It is wrong for a church to take an exemption and then endorse a candidate, period. While we complain about others doing that, we must not fall off the cliff ourselves and expect to get away with it.”

    First off, allow me to say that churches should not be politically active period. But in the context of this discussion, rest assured that Barry Lynn DOES NOT want to take exemptions away from churches that endorse candidates across the board. Lynn is a liberal activist and a Democratic Party activist. Lynn’s tactic is to intimidate conservative religious groups from participating in the political process while allwoing liberal religious groups to do so. His purpose is not the law, but mere political advantage. He is not concerned with principle, but with WINNING. The LAST THING that Lynn wants is a clear federal ruling AGAINST church political activity, because the religious left would have to abide by it also. And get this: stopping all religious politicking would hurt the left more than the right. Without the ability to use black Protestants, liberal white Catholics and Jewish groups for organizing and fundraising, the Democrats wouldn’t be able to elect dogcatchers in most areas. So, people like Lynn want to keep the law vague and the issue unsettled so they can work to stop Republican religious activism on one hand while promoting Democratic religious activism on the other. So there is no “it is wrong period and we should not complain about what others are doing … and expect to get away with it” because the courts have not conclusively stated that it is wrong. Folks like Lynn merely want the conservative religious people to THINK that they have. But here is the truth: conservative pastors have been holding “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” every year since 2008, and not a thing has happened. Folks like Lynn CLAIMED that the pastors who took part in it by endorsing candidates and speaking about political issues from the pulpit would face all these dire consequences like loss of tax exempt status and so forth in an attempt to intimidate them from participating, but they haven’t filed a single complaint against a single pastor with the IRS, the courts or anyone else. Why? Because they know that they will lose. Either the IRS and the courts will rule in favor of the Pulpit Freedom Sunday pastors, or they will rule against them, which means that the liberal pastors can’t endorse candidates, raise money, or bus people from church services to the polls for early voting (a common get out the vote tactic) either.

    Here’s the irony: when Jeff Sessions and John Ashcroft were politicians in Alabama and Missouri, they actually cited these same laws to try to stop black churches from working to help the Democrats. Guess what? No one cared about separation between church and state back then. Instead, Sessions and Ashcroft were pilloried as using Jim Crow black voter disenfranchisement tactics. The controversy cost Sessions a seat on the federal bench, an outcome which you had better believe that Barry Lynn was very pleased with.

    It isn’t about separation of church and state. It is about limiting the political activity of the GOP so the Democrats can win, and using intimidation campaigns to do so.

    If evangelicals get out of politics, let it be for theological reasons, not the actions of liars like Lynn.

  13. Job, my friend, you make a lot of charges in your missive, but you provide only your opinion of Barry Lynn’s purposes, with no documented statement for your charges. Since Lynn is not mentioned in the original article, nor in the printed responses, it is clear that you have some kind of fixation here. Since it is all your personal interpretation and you can provide no real evidence of Lynn’s intentions, it makes no sense to continue this conversation. Best wishes.

  14. I don’t understand. What is so “interesting” about Bauchum’s rationale for supporting Ron Paul. Seems pretty standard to me.

  15. Im sure you feel the same way about Al Sharpton Rallying Atlanta churches to register voters and use church buses to take church members to voting stations to vote for Democrat politicians..

  16. Bravo..I don’t know if he broke any laws, but I see nothing wrong with him voicing his opinion. What’s more is that this church is in my neighborhood ….and I’m really proud of this guy. Wow. I’ve been a Ron Paul supporter since January and since I started reading about him, I’ve come to understand his principles and there is just no way I could vote any other way. Either you love him or you don’t understand him.

    Ron Paul 2012

  17. All this discussion is absurd when it always seems to be ok for it to be done for DEMOCRATS. Such as in 08 when Obama was not only endorsed by several prominent Pastors, he even spoke in their Sunday Morning Services during the campaign (i.e. one place was Rick Warrens Saddleback) hence why he was chosen to pray at the inauguration. So now that Republican Pastors want to do the same there is a PROBLEM!!! I say BULL!!!

  18. Tax-exempt status is just a way government tries to manipulate the pulpit. We as Christians should be the first to be willing to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” so that we may preserve our freedom to speak freely on matters of doctrine and living.

  19. I guess freedom of speech and freedom of religion really isn’t free at all…I read a lot of talk about the “laws” this and “laws” that, but isn’t that the problem? We the people have to many laws all the while the true laws of the land continue to be dissolved? When have we the people become so complacent? When did we forget the reasons we gained our independence? When did we allow the government to have more power than the people it’s suppose to serve? A pastor endorsed a candidate, so what…if you don’t like it don’t visit his/her church. Don’t look at his website. Don’t donate to the offering. I swear, people cry over the littlest of things and while their eyes are full of tears they can’t see that big brother is growing stronger and stronger.

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