The pastor of a Rocklin mega-church who defied California’s COVID-19 restrictions urged supporters in a Sunday sermon to oust Governor Gavin Newsom in recall elections, testing IRS regulations that restrict political campaigns inside churches.
During a passionate sermonPastor Greg Fairrington of Destiny Christian Church called on his followers to vote “yes” on impeaching the governor in six weeks.
“Are you afraid of Gavin Newsom?” My God, do your job as Christians on September 14 and vote ‘yes’ on the recall of an immoral governor, âFairrington said, gesturing to a screen behind him that delivered the same message.
In fluorescent red letters and on a yellow background, the screen read: âVOTE YES TO THE SEVEN REMINDER. 14. ”
âNot paid by any candidate or committee,â said a smaller second line.
Under federal law, churches are free to participate in many political activities, such as efforts to obtain the vote. Religious organizations, however, can jeopardize their tax-exempt status if they or their leaders demonstrate bias for or against a candidate in a political campaign.
More specifically, the tax code stipulates that it is absolutely forbidden for these tax-exempt beneficiaries to participate or intervene directly or indirectly in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for an elective public office. .
When making political statements, religious leaders are also encouraged to make it clear that their views are personal and not on behalf of the church.
These rules do not prevent pastors from supporting candidates outside the church or appearing at events with politicians. They restrict political activity inside places of worship. Pastors generally cannot explicitly endorse a chair candidate.
Newsom critical church leader
In a statement, Fairrington slammed Newsom for signing laws that updated California sex offender registration rules, put money aside for transgender health care and mandated public universities provide abortion pills at campus clinics.
“Throughout the governor’s tenure, his policies and politics have continually contradicted the Word of God and have been in opposition to the millions of Christians in California, âsaid Fairrington.
“My comments on the recall do not support a candidate but rather highlight Governor Newsom’s unfortunate actions which have traumatic consequences for families, schools, communities and the church,” Fairrington continued. “This is not a political issue, but a moral one, and it is the responsibility of the church to our community to preach what Ephesians 5:11 says: ‘Do not take part in the fruitless works of darkness, but expose them. rather. “”
He “tells people how to vote”
Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School and an expert on political ethics, said it was clear the church was weighing in on a campaign issue that should technically be banned.
âThere’s something about the ballot, it involves candidates, and (Fairrington) is telling people how to vote,â Levinson said.
Levinson said it was not clear what the consequences might be for the church or Fairrington, but “I guess they’re just getting a warning letter.”
Fairrington already made headlines last year with an increase in COVID-19 cases when he refused to close the doors of his church, despite restrictions on indoor gatherings.
During Sunday’s sermon, Fairrington also asked its members if they were afraid of President Joe Biden, along with a list of what are considered left-wing ideologies.
âAre we afraid of big technology, of socialism, of higher taxes? Are we afraid of a vaccine, of liberal school boards, of racial social agendas (critical race theory), of an LGBTQ agenda, âFairrington said. âThe non-sexist, anti-American doctrine of radical groups like Black Lives Matter? What are we afraid of, church?