Americans United for Separation of Church and State has a long history of going after conservatives and Republicans. But in case you ever need an example of the church/state separation group going after Democrats, here’s a recent example (PDF) where Barack Obama‘s wife Michelle campaigned for him at a meeting of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina yesterday. AU’s Executive Director Barry Lynn wants the IRS to investigate:
I write today with information about what appears to be a violation of federal tax law by a non-profit religious organization in North Carolina. I believe this matter warrants the attention of the Internal Revenue Service.
Several media accounts have discussed the appearance of Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, at a meeting of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina in Fayetteville Oct. 29. This appearance took on the trappings of a campaign rally, and during it Ms. Obama promoted her husband’s candidacy and appealed for votes.
Federal tax law permits candidates to appear in churches or before religious groups under certain conditions. For example, a candidate may speak in a non-candidate capacity or as part of a non-partisan event designed to educate voters by allowing them to meet candidates and ask questions. In this case, the candidate’s wife represented the candidate and presided over an event that appeared very similar to a standard campaign rally. This is problematic, to say the least.
In short, I believe this appearance by Ms. Obama before this religious group raises a host of issues, and I urge the IRS to investigate the matter.
The IRS should investigate the church’s violation of its tax-exempt status. You can bet if Cindy McCain did the same thing for her husband, we’d be all over the church.