A church in Alabama and another one in Florida flagrantly violated a long-standing law forbidding churches from engaging in political speech with signs endorsing Roy Moore for Alabama Senate.
As Snopes.com points out, an image began making the rounds in social media late last month showing a billboard from Living Way Ministries in Opelika, Alabama, reading, “They falsely accused Jesus! Vote Roy Moore.”
— Sky Palma (@DeadStateTweets) December 5, 2017
In a local news report on 4 December 2017, the church admitted that their billboard displayed a pro-Moore message, but did not say who was responsible. Instead, an unidentified woman said “several people” had keys allowing them to change the billboard. But the church’s pastor, she said, asked for the message to be taken down two days after it was first displayed.
The reader, though, challenged the church’s account, saying that the billboard “was changed twice within hours of my photo surfacing.” Regarding the attention the photo had garnered online, they said: “I was very surprised by how quickly and far it spread. At times, nervous because some of [Moore’s] supporters can be extremists. However, glad to bring to light an issue here in Alabama and unfortunately [to] how many of our citizens view politicians.”
According to the Internal Revenue Service, federal law prohibits politicking by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one “which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
Featured image via Snopes