Recent online news stories have highlighted religious leaders using their pulpits to influence the November Presidential election and incite their congregations to violence:
April 29 - Sean Harris, senior pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina: “Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch.”
May 20 - Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church, North Carolina: “I figured a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers, but I couldn't get it passed through Congress…. Build a great, big, large fence - 50 or 100 mile long - put all the lesbians in there… Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified 'til they can't get out... And you know what, in a few years, they'll die out. Do you know why? They can't reproduce.”
Worley went on to say, “our President getting up and saying that it was all right for two women to marry or two men to marry…Someone said, ‘Who ya gonna vote for? I ain’t gonna vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover. You said, ‘Did you mean to say that?’ You better believe I did.”
May 27 - Curtis Knapp, pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas: "They should be put to death -- that's what happened in Israel…That's why homosexuality wouldn't have grown in Israel…Oh, so you're saying we should go out and start killing them? No, I'm saying the government should. They won't, but they should."
It is illegal for a pastor urge his congregation from behind the pulpit bo vote for or against a certain candidate. It is a violation of tax law. He can say this outside of his church but not from behind the pulpit.
The First Amendment does not protect incitement to violence.
The IRS should not look the other way when religious leaders take advantage of their position to advocate hate, physical harm or murder. There’s value in speaking up. One of America’s key strengths lies in its separation of church and state. A look at the histories of other countries demonstrates how critical this is to a nation’s stability. We need to tell the IRS and the Department of Justice that we’re watching, we’re paying attention, and we urge them to investigate and monitor churches whose pastors violate tax law, and whose sermons incite their congregations to violence.