Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow Americans United for Separation of Church and State has asked the IRS to investigate First Baptist Church of Dallas and its pastor for posting videos that endorse a presidential candidate, but the pastor isn't concerned about it.
Pastor Robert Jeffress, who is familiar with Americans United's executive director Barry Lynn, introduced Rick Perry at last weekend's Values Voter Summit at the request of the Family Research Council. Following the scuffle about the pastor's subsequent comments on Mormonism being a "cult," the church-state separation advocacy group targeted Jeffress. (See earlier story)
"Barry Lynn has spent his whole career writing letters to the IRS trying to intimidate churches. This is absolutely nothing but an attempt by Barry Lynn to get some much-needed publicity," the First Baptist pastor contends. "Look -- they are challenging my right as a pastor to endorse a candidate, and of course I would never officially endorse a candidate as pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas."
But he says that he personally has every right, as does every American, to say whatever he wants to say and to endorse whomever we wants to endorse.
"Barry Lynn has been trying to muzzle pastors for years [by] threatening their tax-exempt status," Jeffress notes. "And what Barry never tells anybody is that there has never been a church in American history that has ever lost its tax-exempt status."
He further argues that this attack from Americans United is just a lot of hot air designed to corner pastors into being silent, but he assures that "Lynn is not going to succeed." He believes the watchdog advocate is just trying to become relevant again, but "it's just not going to work."
And Jeffress reiterates that any endorsement of his was a personal one, as he would never make a political endorsement from the pulpit.
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