June 2022 Church & State Magazine

AU Asks IRS To Investigate Tenn. Church For Politicking

  AU Asks IRS To Investigate Tenn. Church For Politicking

Americans United urged the IRS last month to investigate Tennessee pastor Greg Locke for violating federal law May 15 when he repeatedly told members of his congregation at Global Vision Bible Church not to vote for Dem­ocrats.

“You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation,” Locke declared. He added, “If you vote Democrat, I don’t even want you around this church. You can get out.”

In a letter to the IRS, AU said that Locke’s remarks violated the Johnson Amendment, a nearly 70-year-old federal law that prevents nonprofits, including houses of worship, from endorsing or opposing political parties or candidates.

“Though Locke stated he was not a ‘full-fledged Republican,’ he clearly told his congregants to vote against the Democrats, from the pulpit of his church,” observed AU Staff Attorney Ian Smith in a letter to IRS officials. “This violates the law, and we ask for an investigation into Locke’s conduct.”

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