Church Runs Republican Ad, Possibly Violates Tax-Exempt Status

| by Lina Batarags

A North Carolina church has run a controversial, politically-invested invitation in its church bulletin. The invitation describes a luncheon to be held in honor of Brenden Jones, Republican candidate for North Carolina House of Representatives.

Jones is currently a deacon at the Tabor City Baptist Church in North Carolina, which issued the publication featuring the questionable ad.

Churches are able to claim tax-exempt status on the grounds that they abstain from involvement in party politics. This invitation, with its decidedly Republican slant, violates the terms of the tax-exempt status.

Notably, the church is not hosting or funding the luncheon – it simply advertised the luncheon. With tickets to the luncheon going for anywhere from $25 to $4,000, it appears that the luncheon is actually a fundraiser for the Republican candidate.

The invitation promises an appearance from Republican Lt. Governor Dan Forest, who endorses Jones.

Bruce Schmidt, the pastor of Tabor City Baptist, has stated that the advertisement is in no way politically inclined. “We are honored to pray for and acknowledge our leaders, Democrat or Republican,” he has said.

“We are not giving an endorsement as a church,” he continued, noting that the church is legally prohibited from doing so.



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