The pastor of an evangelical church in Albuquerque is under scrutiny for endorsing a candidate for city council from the pulpit during a church service.

In late November, Pastor Steve Smothermon of Legacy Church told attendees at the service to vote for Lori Robertson, reported KOAT-TV.

“Listen, early voting is open now,” Smothermon said. “Go vote till Dec. 4th because we need people like her on the city council.”

Robertson, who was attending the service at the time, insisted that Smothermon had done nothing wrong.

“He said I, personally, would vote for her, but that’s up to you,” Robertson said, adding that Robertson told the congregation, “She will be in the lobby to answer any questions, and you can talk to her and find out if she’s somebody you would like to vote for.”

Tammy Fiebelkorn, Robertson’s opponent in the Dec. 7 runoff election, criticized the endorsement.

“I would never set up a informational table for an election in a church lobby under any circumstances because there is a separation of church and state,” Fiebelkorn said. “Churches are 501(c)(3) nonprofits and should not be engaging in political discourse like that.”

Federal law states that religious and secular organizations holding 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status may not intervene in partisan politics by endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.

Fiebelkorn easily defeated Robertson in the runoff election, winning 62 percent of the vote.


Americans United & the National Women’s Law Center file suit to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans.

Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state. Americans United and the National Women’s Law Center—the leading experts in religious freedom and gender justice—have joined forces with thirteen clergy from six faith traditions to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans as unconstitutionally imposing one narrow religious doctrine on everyone.

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