A pastor from Tennessee who said Democrats couldn’t be Christians because of the party’s pro-choice stance noted that he gave up his tax-exempt status.
Pastor Greg Locke of Mt. Juliet’s Global Vision Bible Church, close to Nashville, told his congregants he considered Democrats to be “baby butchers.”
In a sermon earlier this month, Locke said: “You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation. I don’t care how mad that makes you. You can get as pissed off as you want to. You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation. They are God-denying demons that butcher babies and hate this nation.”
In response, the advocacy group Americans United For Separation of Church and State (AUSCS) called on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate Locke to determine if he made partisan political remarks in his sermon.
The AUSCS claims that Locke’s sentiments violated the Johnson Amendment. This amendment prevents houses of worship from taking a partisan stance.
On May 14, a letter was sent by the AUSCS to the IRS attorney, Ian Smith, reading: “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. This violates the law, and we ask for an investigation into Locke’s conduct under 26 U.S.C. § 7611.”
On a Facebook post on Sunday, Locke said that he renounced his tax-exempt status and stood his ground regarding his stance on Democrats.
He added: “Guess what I did this week. I got an attorney, and I dissolved our stinking 501c3 in this church because the Government ain’t gonna tell me what I can and what I can’t say. So, IRS, we don’t need your stupid tax-exempt status. You can put it in a bag and burn it in your front yard for all we care. I renounced 501c3 communism in this church.”