Home Pastors Pastor Sumter Approves Mid-Service Candidates; raising questions about IRS status

Pastor Sumter Approves Mid-Service Candidates; raising questions about IRS status

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SUMTER, SC (WIS) — Churches across the country are tax-exempt, but that exemption comes with rules.

A WIS viewer has contacted the station to raise concerns about an Oct. 9 service at Jehovah’s Missionary Baptist Church in Sumter.

YouTube published by the church video shows Pastor Marion Newton discussing the importance of the vote during her announcements. After 30 minutes of the video, he then references a brochure. He said:

“I asked the ushers to distribute this leaflet on behalf of Citizens for Progress, it was this organization that was very active when the school board was not where we wanted to be. These are the names of the people we support. Of course, you have the freedom to vote however you want to vote. If you live in one of these zones, these 9 zones, and we have the candidate per zone. Please take one and let us put people on the board who care about our children and not personal means, okay? »

The viewer forwarded an email to WIS containing the flyer that appeared to be from the church. It features the names of nine candidates vying for the nine open seats on the Sumter County School Board, endorsed by Citizens for Progress.

Sumter School Board Election Flyer(clear)

Attempts to contact Citizens for Progress were unsuccessful.

IRS the regulations state that churches can educate voters and encourage voting, but pastors cannot promote candidates at official meetings.

An IRS spokesperson declined to comment on the situation.

University of South Carolina political science department chair Kirk Randazzo said churches of all political persuasions have become more active in recent years.

“Churches are increasingly mobilized and engaged in politics and as someone who studies the Constitution, the notion that there is a separation of church and state is something that goes back to the founding fathers and seeing churches of whatever ideology push those boundaries, that’s kind of disappointing to me,” he said.

WIS showed the video to Randazzo.

“This is, I think, an example, albeit a very serious one, of churches across the ideological spectrum toeing the line when it comes to the separation of church and state,” he said. .

Newton told WIS he would need to speak to his attorney before commenting.

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