First Church of the Hypocrites | Arkansas Blog

First Church of the Hypocrites

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I mentioned yesterday that Republican senatorial candidate John Boozman's campaign manger, Sarah Huckabee, had complained about opponent Jim Holt taking his campaign to churches on Sunday. It's no place for politics, she Tweeted.

Democratic research highlights the towering hyprocisy of such a complaint from the Boozman camp. It shows he not only is fine with politics in church (politics and politicians are not barred from churches, but it can be hazardous to tax-exemptions if a church pushes a specific candidate), he'd go much farther:

Boozman Voted To Allow Churches To Participate In Political Campaigns.

In October 2002, Boozman was the only member of the Arkansas delegation to vote for the Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection Act that would amend the tax code to allow churches and other houses of worship to participate in political campaigns. The bill failed 178-239. [Vote 429, 10/2/02; NYT-AR States News Service, 10/4/02]
 
Boozman Sponsored Reintroduction Of Bill Too Allow Churches To Participate In Elections And Retain Tax Exempt Status.

In July 2004, Boozman advocated for the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act of which he was one of 166 co-sponsors, following an IRS complaint about a a sermon at First Baptist Church of Springdale in his district. The sermon by Rev. Ronnie Floyd was equated to an endorsement of President Bush by the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. [Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 7/23/04]
 
·         Sermon Instructed Congregants To “Vote God” And Held Up Pictures Of Bush And Kerry. According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, “Americans United claimed that the sermon amounted to an endorsement of President Bush's re-election. The group said this is prohibited under the IRS code for tax-exempt organizations. Church officials said the sermon was easily in compliance with the rules because in the part of the service cited by Americans United the names of Bush and his Democratic challenger, John Kerry, weren't mentioned. In the sermon, Floyd told the congregation to ‘vote God’ in November. He contrasted the positions of the candidates, with a picture of each candidate displayed as Floyd said something pertaining to him.” [Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 7/23/04]
 
·         Boozman: Sermon Did Not Violate IRS Code.

Boozman said, “This is the kind of talk that's going on over coffee tables and dinner tables nightly. I really believe pastors should have the right to speak about current issues and values without losing their tax-exempt status.” [Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 7/23/04]

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