Photo courtesy of trust.org
Pastor Jamal Bryant’s Plan to Register Voters May Violate IRS Policies
Well, maybe Pastor Jamal Bryant may have had good intentions but he should have known that churches and non profits can’t get involved in how people vote and who people vote for. His ‘Preach Black Man’ mentality may be good for his sermons but he can’t preach that at the voting polls.
Read report below for how he may have to change his strategies on this one:
“The number one thing we are doing is going after registering 1 million voters in this fall’s election,” said Bryant, who pastors a church in Baltimore, Md., in a video for News One. “This is going to be a critical election when you deal with foreclosure, bankruptcy and healthcare. Our president has an agenda but he needs some help.”
Rob Johnson, who is a senior policy analyst with Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says pastors need to be careful how they encourage their members to engage in politics because of IRS regulations on nonprofits, which is the status of most churches. If the church advocates a particular candidate, the IRS could rule that the organization is political and thus not eligible as a charity to enjoy tax-exempt status and tax-deductible donations. Donors to a nonprofit church can deduct contributions as a charitable donation.
“There is nothing wrong with a church or any other organization encouraging people to exercise their right to vote,” Johnson told The Christian Post. “The IRS has been clear as long as churches encourage people to vote on a non-partisan basis they are on safe legal ground.”
But when Johnson was informed of Bryant’s quote that mentioned President Obama, he expressed some concern that the Baltimore pastor was close to overstepping his legal boundaries.
“I’m not familiar with this particular movement, but if he or any other pastor were to mention President Obama or any specific candidate by name and say people needed to register to vote or cast their vote for them they would be violating IRS rules.”
Permanent link to this post
(354 words, 1 image, estimated 1:25 mins reading time)