This Sunday, Pastor Brad Brandon gave a speech at the Berean Baptist Church in Hastings, Minnesota in which he told the members of the church that they should vote for particular political candidates, including Tom Emmer for Governor, and the following candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives:
Several local candidates were endorsed as well. Furthermore, Pastor Brandon didn’t just tell who to vote for during his sermon. He also used church money to print up a pamphlet with voting instructions for church members that was handed out to everyone during the church service.
Churches are free to endorse political candidates in the United States. However, they are not allowed to claim special tax exempt status as non-profit, non-partisan organizations and endorse political candidates at the same time. Pastor Brad Brandon and the Berean Baptist Church clearly violated the law in this respect.
The law that forbids tax exempt organizations, such as churches, secular charities and issue organizations from endorsing particular political candidates is meant to protect both these organizations and the American people. The American people are protected from political party organizations that are established as fake non-profit groups, merely with the purpose of directing money that’s supposed to be used for non-profit purposes into spending to benefit political parties or candidates. Churches and other non-profit organizations are also protected by the law, because it prevents political party machines from converting the organizations into little more than appendages of the political parties.
In violating the law, and endorsing particular political candidates at the same time that he claims tax exempt status for his church, Brad Brandon is endangering both the survival of his church and the integrity of the political process.
The pattern of Brandon’s endorsements was extremely partisan. He endorsed no Democratic candidates at all – as if the Christian God is a registered Republican.
Was Pastor Brandon approached by Republican Party officials attempting to use him as political tool? Will he be rewarded for his political allegiance, by Republican elected officials who gain the power of government?