Texas Church Posts Sign: ‘Vote for the Mormon, not the Muslim’

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has asked the Internal Revenue Service to determine whether a Texas church has violated federal tax law by posting a public sign urging people to “vote for the Mormon, not the Muslim.”

According to AU, the pastor of the Church in the Valley in Leakey, Texas, posted the message on the church’s marquee outside. Leakey is west of San Antonio. The full message read, “VOTE FOR THE MORMON, NOT THE MUSLIM! THE CAPITALIST, NOT THE COMMUNIST!”

From AU’s press release:

“This sign is a blatant attempt to intervene in a political campaign,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “I urge the IRS to crack down on this over-the-top law-breaking.”

ABC News reported that the sign “was an obvious reference to President Barack Obama, who conservatives say is a secret Muslim even though he says he is a Christian and attends church with his family.” The “Mormon” reference is to Gov. Mitt Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In a letter delivered to the IRS today, Lynn requested an investigation of the matter.

“Miller [the pastor] may indeed have strong feelings about the election, but that does not give him the right to use his tax-exempt church to endorse a candidate,” Lynn wrote to IRS officials. “In fact, Miller’s actions are a clear and flagrant violation of the law.”

Religious-right groups have been urging conservative Christian churches to flout federal tax law, which bars houses of worship and other tax-exempt nonprofits from supporting or opposing candidates in political elections. Organizations found in violation of that law can lose their federal tax exemption.

Beyond the question of law, however, is the pastor’s outrageous attack on President Obama’s religious faith. The president has affirmed — repeatedly — his Christian faith and was a longtime member of a Chicago Christian church.

So once again we see an example of efforts to drag churches into partisan politics and to use faith as a political weapon to divide Americans.

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17 Comments

  1. Posted October 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Oops. I should have said fully “unitarian God,” not “monothestic God.” This would place Mormons in with Unitarians in addition to Moslems and Jews but definitely not Christians. These religions plus Christianity all claim to believe in a single God or monotheism, not in multiple Gods, polytheism. Mormons do not accept the Nicene Creed, also known as the Apostle’s Creed, that all Christians must believe. Mormons do believe that Jesus is divine and the son of God, just not God. The concept that Jesus is actually God is central to Christianity, so Mormons cannot be Christians. Mormons also do not believe in hell or damnation. Mormons also believe, very controversially, that God was once a human such as all of us but became exalted, and that all Mormons can ultimately become like God (now that’s cool). Mormons also believe that the current God is a corporal being, not necessarily a spiritual one. All of these beliefs and many others would be considered heretical by Christian theologians.

    Republicans who understand the differences are not emphasizing these because they are so racist that they will accept anyone who can defeat Obama, and they quite rightly expect their ranks to be so ignorant that the vast majority will not know the differences, so why bother to inform them. Democrats are ignoring the differences because they don’t want to appear bigoted. Fortunately, that is not a problem with me. I am happy to point out the hypocrisy, ignorance, and racism of Republicans and especially their cynical leaders.

  2. Posted October 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    This attitude is hilarious. For the first time, all the evangelical Christians are openly advocating the election of the first non-Christian to the Presidency. President Obama is obviously a sincere Christian, but Romney is not a Christian. For several theological reasons, Mormons are not Christians and both political parties are ignoring that fact. Mormons do not believe that Jesus is God or part of the Trinity. Like Muslims and Jews, Mormons believe in a fully monotheistic God, not a trinitarian one such as Christian do. Ironically, Romney’s theistic beliefs are closer to Islam than to Christianity in the identity of God.

  3. Will F
    Posted October 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    retch

  4. Kerry Wolf
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    At my own church, a Roman Catholic church, I have heard nothing but Romney Romney Romney 24-7 for the past few months. My car was even keyed for having an Obama-Biden sticker on it. I cannot turn on the Catholic radio station or EWTN, the Catholic tv channel, without being bombarded with the evils of Obama and the glorious perfection of Mittens, and the constant insinuation that the jaws of Hell are awaiting me if I vote for anyone but Romney. It matters not, seemingly, that Romney could care less about the poor, the uninsured, the disabled, the low wage earner who makes less than half of what it would take a single person to live in the most frugal way possible. The ONLY thing that matters is that he is “pro life”–though apparently that only applies to unborn life.

  5. Robert Bohmfalk
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    The sign should have said: “Vote for the Christian, not for the Mormon”.

    • Rubin Sunset
      Posted October 24, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Good points, Kerry Wolf. It has been suggested by many others that “pro-life” really means “pro-birth.” There’s huge difference.

  6. 1toughlady
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I think it’s time to remove the tax exemption houses of worship have always received. Put your money where your mouth is, people.

  7. Breckenridge
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    I do think that if Jesus Christ were alive he’d be sorely tempted to spit right in the face of “Pastor” Miller, this allged man of God. And at a minimum he’d toss his butt right the heck out of the temple.

  8. Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Disgusted with any sort of religion right now.

  9. Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Disgusted with any sort of religion right now.

  10. Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Deborah: You make a good point. We noted that President Obama is a Christian not because there would be anything necessarily offensive if he really were Muslim. We noted it because it’s offensive when religious-righters question and even attack (as they often do, unfortunately) the religious faith of people, including the president, they oppose, and especially when they do so in an attempt to wield faith as a political weapon.

    • Rubin Sunset
      Posted October 24, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Damn straight, Bill. Like Sam Harris said, so eloquently… (I paraphrase…) A presidential candidate could have the social skills of Opra, looks of Clooney, unassailable intelligence & grasp of the issues and leadership ability, but if he (or she) did not publically subscribe to a host of religious myths … never be elected….

  11. Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Deborah: You make a good point. We noted that President Obama is a Christian not because there would be anything necessarily offensive if he really were Muslim. We noted it because it’s offensive when religious-righters question and even attack (as they often do, unfortunately) the religious faith of people, including the president, they oppose, and especially when they do so in an attempt to wield faith as a political weapon.

  12. Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    terrible sign, obviously. But I disagreed with the short article even bringing up that Obama is not Muslim, but a member of the Chicago Christian Church. I’m waiting for the day when it’s OK FOR A MUSLIM TO BE PRESIDENT – or a Jew, or atheist, or Buddhist, whatever…

  13. Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    terrible sign, obviously. But I disagreed with the short article even bringing up that Obama is not Muslim, but a member of the Chicago Christian Church. I’m waiting for the day when it’s OK FOR A MUSLIM TO BE PRESIDENT – or a Jew, or atheist, or Buddhist, whatever…

  14. Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    lol… oh jeez.

  15. Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    lol… oh jeez.

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