Did Kamala Harris violate federal law in Virginia?
Jonathan Turley: There is a serious problem if the White House is encouraging these violations
News broke this week about the desperate attempts Democrats are making to try to eke out a victory for Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia.
Vice President Kamala Harris taped a video that reportedly is being shown for the next few Sundays in about 300 churches across the state.
The ad features the vice president herself instructing churchgoers to go to the polls to vote for McAuliffe after their church service lets out. Near the end of her video, Vice President Harris says this, and I’m quoting directly here:
“In 2020, more Virginians voted than ever before, and because you did, you helped send President Joe Biden and me to the White House. This year, I know that you will send Terry McAuliffe back to Richmond” …. “This is the first year that you can vote on Sunday. So please, vote after today’s service.”
The Vice President just encouraged churches across Virginia to violate the law that she herself is in charge of enforcing as a part of the Executive Branch that oversees the IRS. The infamous Johnson Amendment, passed in 1954, prohibits churches and charities from officially endorsing or opposing any candidate for office (though pastors are free to personally support candidates).
The IRS has been highly selective in its enforcement of the Johnson Amendment. Earlier this year, Biden’s IRS denied tax-exempt status to Christians Engaged, a Texas nonprofit group that educates Christians about political issues like the sanctity of life and religious freedom, claiming that telling people to vote their “biblical convictions” is the same as telling them to vote Republican—a stunning statement when you think about it.
And yet now that the tables are turned, Biden and Harris want churches to show their campaign ads for Democratic politicians in a Sunday morning church service. Apparently, the rules don’t apply to Democrats.
It may be strange to say it, but today I’m finding myself thankful for the Secular Coalition for America. They are avowed atheists and agnostics. They’re opposed to just about everything I stand for. But at least they’re consistent.
They said Vice President Harris is “using religious institutions for politicking” through an “inappropriate mixing of government, politics, and religion.”
The Secular Coalition for America may not want me to say it, but I will—amen!
Now, let me say clearly that I think the Johnson Amendment is unconstitutional and should be abolished. Government has no business policing what is said in a church service. However, until Congress does abolish the Johnson Amendment, churches—including mine—should follow government regulations or suffer the consequences.
When my church had Vice President Mike Pence speak in 2020 to share his Christian testimony, we carefully followed the IRS restrictions including making no mention of the 2020 election, no solicitation of support from the congregation, and no official endorsement from the church.
However, the current Vice President Kamala Harris and any church airing this video calling for support of Terry McAuliffe for Governor of Virginia is violating every rule of the IRS.
Will the Biden IRS punish Democrat-leaning churches the same way it punishes conservative groups like Christians Engaged? Don’t hold your breath.
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