Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Politics, the church, the IRS, & Parsley

In a challenge to the ethics of conservative Ohio religious leaders and the fairness of the Internal Revenue Service, a group of 56 clergy members contends that two churches have gone too far in supporting a Republican candidate for governor.

Two complaints filed with the tax agency say that the large Columbus area churches, active in President Bush's narrow Ohio win in 2004, violated their tax-exempt status by pushing the candidacy of J. Kenneth Blackwell, who is the secretary of state and the favored candidate of Ohio's religious right.

The clergy members said the churches improperly held political activities and allowed Republican organizations to use their facilities.

The goal of the challenge is "for these churches to stop acting like electioneering organizations," said the Rev. Eric Williams, pastor of North Congregational United Church of Christ. "I don't want to harm or demonize these churches. I want these churches to act legally." (WaPo)

The two churches in question are World Harvest Church and Fairfield Christian Church. Although the article identifies Russell Johnson as the pastor of Fairfield Christian Church, it fails to recognize the pastor at World Harvest. This omission is fairly peculiar considering that the WHC pastor is Rod Parsley (see - he even made it into Wikipedia!), a nationally known author and preacher who appears regularly on the Trinity Broadcasting Network through his show Breakthrough. He has been to events with Senator Zell Miller and Columbus mayor Michael Coleman besides appearing with Blackwell. Parsley has talked openly about his belief that Christians should be involved in politics, but those politics seem to be what appeals to Christians on the political right (abortion, marriage) as opposed to what appeals to Christians on the political left (poverty, social justice).

Parsley is probably as Pentacostal as a person can get. It is difficult to determine when watching his show (which is often a recording of a service at WHC) whether he is being a preacher who is concerned about truth, or a showman - or some bizarre mixture of both.

1 comment:

  1. It is amazing to me that nothing is ever said during an election about the HIGHLY VISUAL Democrates attending church rallies (excuse me)church services when they are out on the Political trail.