I am sure there are those of you who will be able to excuse this kind of nonsense:
The minister of a Haywood County Baptist church is telling members of his congregation that if they’re Democrats, they either need to find another place of worship or support President Bush.
Already, the Reverend Chan Chandler has ex-communicated nine members of East Waynesville Baptist Church. Another 40 members have left in protest.
During last Sunday’s sermon, he acknowledged that church members were upset because he named people, and he says he’ll do it again because he has to according to the word of God.
Chandler could not be reached for comment today, but says his actions weren’t politically motivated.
One former church member says Chandler told some of the members that if they didn’t support George Bush, they needed to resign their positions and get out of the church, or go to the altar, repent and agree to vote for Bush.
A former church treasurer says she’s at church to worship God and not the preacher.
It’s not clear whether the church’s tax-exempt status could be jeopardized if the claims about Chandler are true.
The Internal Revenue Service exempts certain organizations from taxation, including those organized and operated for religious purposes, provided that they do not engage in certain activities, including involvement in “any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
Valerie Thornton, a spokeswoman for the Internal Revenue Service, said she could not comment on the East Waynesville situation specifically, but noted that “in general if a church engages in partisan politics it could put their tax-exempt status in jeopardy.