Barry Lynn’s Americans United for Separation of Church and State has asked the IRS to investigate Pastor Tom Brown and his Texas-based ministry. According toLynn’s group, Pastor Brown’s ministry has been actively involved in the recall efforts of El Paso Mayor John Cook and city council members Steve Ortega and Susie Byrd, which is a violation of federal tax laws governing tax exempt religious groups and churches.
Pastor Brown admits that he has been personally involved with the recall movement, but explained that he has done so as an individual, not as a pastor. He contends that every American has a right to be politically active regardless of their occupation. Brown’s response to the charges was:
You just have this group that is anti-religious, very liberal. They are known for attacking people of conservative values as well as those who are Bible believers — so they’re just trying to intimidate us to try to get our voice silenced. But their intimidation is not going to work… I as a person definitely have been working tirelessly trying to get him recalled. As far as the church, church members wanted to participate in the recall — and since the IRS doesn’t forbid recall petitions, there’s nothing illegal that we’re doing.
He refuses to be intimidated by the complaint lodged with the IRS.
I ask Lynn if it is illegal for a politician to attend church and talk about his job with other parishioners. If not, then why would it be illegal for a pastor to do the same, as an individual citizen?
Historically, the AUSCS has targeted pastors and members of churches and any other religious affiliations from being able to carry out their Constitutional rights of citizenship. Perhaps Barry Lynn should take his group to a completely non-Christian country where they won’t have to worry about a mythological separation of church and state.