The issue of churches taking an active position in partisan politics is heating up:
In a challenge to the ethics of conservative Ohio religious leaders and the fairness of the Internal Revenue Service, a group of 56 clergy members contends that two churches have gone too far in supporting a Republican candidate for governor.
Two complaints filed with the tax agency say that the large Columbus area churches, active in President Bush's narrow Ohio win in 2004, violated their tax-exempt status by pushing the candidacy of J. Kenneth Blackwell, who is the secretary of state and the favored candidate of Ohio's religious right.
The goal of the challenge is "for these churches to stop acting like electioneering organizations," said the Rev. Eric Williams, pastor of North Congregational United Church of Christ. "I don't want to harm or demonize these churches. I want these churches to act legally."
Now lets take a look at this. First we had this reported a year ago:
Some in Pastor Chan Chandler's flock wish he had a little less zeal for the GOP.
Members of the small East Waynesville Baptist Church say Chandler led an effort to kick out congregants who did not support President Bush. Nine members were voted out at a Monday church meeting in this mountain town about 120 miles west of Charlotte. Forty others in the 400-member congregation resigned in protest.
"He's the kind of pastor who says 'Do it my way or get out,' " said Selma Morris, the former church treasurer. "He's real negative all the time."
Chandler told WLOS-TV in Asheville on Friday that the actions were not politically motivated, but on Saturday he refused to comment, citing the advice of his attorney.