November 4, 2008

Americans United Asks IRS To Investigate N.C. Church That Hosted Obama Rally

Barack Obama and Michelle ObamaImage via WikipediaThe Christian left we heard so much about in the lead up to the American presidential election may have better politics than the Christian right which has held power for the last 8 years, but this does not excuse it from breaking the law. Thus, I was happy to see Americans United for Separation of Church and State calling on the IRS to investigate a North Carolina Baptist group after it hosted an Obama rally. Nonpartisan watchdogs groups like Americans United serve an important function in making sure that the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state is observed in our superstitious nation. You can find their full press release below.

Americans United Asks IRS To Investigate N.C. Baptist Group That Hosted Obama Rally

Event Featuring Michelle Obama May Have Violated Federal Tax Law, Says Watchdog Group

The General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina may have violated federal tax law by hosting Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, at an event that appeared to be little more than a campaign rally, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

During her Oct. 29 appearance before the group, Obama praised her husband and told the crowd he is qualified to be president because of his past struggles. "Don't we deserve a president with that kind of experience?" she asked. "Barack Obama gets it because he's been there."

Obama also told the crowd, "I also come here as a wife who loves my husband, and I believe my husband will be an extraordinary president."

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, said the event was not the type of non-partisan activity that churches are permitted to host.

"This was an Obama campaign rally taking place during the meeting of a religious group," Lynn said. "Federal tax law simply does not allow religious organizations to sponsor events like this."

In a letter to the IRS today, Lynn requested an investigation of the matter. Letter PDF link: http://www.au.org/site/R?i=Oh1So1YGFFxx2SGJxs12hw..

"This appearance took on the trappings of a campaign rally, and during it Ms. Obama promoted her husband's candidacy and appealed for votes," wrote Lynn in the letter.

Americans United maintains a special initiative, Project Fair Play (projectfairplay.org), designed to educate religious leaders about the requirements of federal tax law. In cases of egregious violations of the law, AU asks the IRS to intervene.

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