While religious leaders are allowed to preach about political issues, they are not allowed to tell their congregations how to vote, if they want their house of worship to keep its tax-exempt, non-profit status.
However, a video (below) has surfaced that appears to show Pastor Fred Smith instructing his congregation at the Watertown Community Church how to vote in Wisconsin's recent spring election, reports CrooksandLiars.com.
In the video, Pastor Smith tells congregants that he placed an insert from the Wisconsin Family Council, a conservative political action group, in their church bulletin.
Pastor Smith then states:
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And on the Supreme Court election, there is a very liberal incumbent Supreme Court Justice up for re-election to a ten-year term. The person that is running against this liberal is a conservative circuit court judge from Janesville, and he is James Daley. He is on your insert with some descriptions of some of the different positions that he's taken.
Because judgeships are non-partisan, people are not able to campaign, taking positions on specific issues, but it’s very clear from Judge Daley’s statements and his record as an existing judge how much devotion he has to the federal and the state constitution. He is a strict constructionist.
He is a judicial conservative, as opposed to Judge Bradley, who is a extreme judicial liberal. The Constitution means whatever she thinks it is, whatever that might be on any given day, God only knows. So it is important. So I encourage every Christian to go out and vote because it is our call to be concerned about the society in which we live.
Judge Daley lost to Justice Bradley on Tuesday's vote by 16 points, according to the Associated Press.
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"I think I won because I think the message resonated to keep political parties out of the judiciary," Justice Bradley told the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. "People in Wisconsin want to keep the tradition of a nonpartisan judiciary."
Following his defeat, Judge Daley said in a statement, "Tonight we witnessed firsthand the power of incumbency, as liberal special interests band together to protect their candidate."