West Ashley pastor says IRS guideline is unconstitutional - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

West Ashley pastor says IRS guideline is unconstitutional

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(Rebecca Lamb/WCIV) (Rebecca Lamb/WCIV)

By Ava Wilhite
awilhite@abcnews4.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)-- The Rev. Kevin Baird of Legacy Church in West Ashley used his Sunday sermon to talk about politics.

"The bible touches every aspect of life and every area of life, so to be a faithful pastor to touch on those topics you will naturally enter to public policy discussions,"said Baird.

During a nationwide event called Pulpit Freedom Sunday, about 1600 pastors endorsed the  presidential candidate of their choice, President Barack Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney. Baird endorsed Romney.

Baird admits he's not exactly thrilled with either candidate but he says it's important for all pastors not to be afraid to say what's on their minds.

"It is time we quit being in fear. We are so afraid they take away our tax exempt status. Let's try and see," said Baird during his sermon last Sunday.

Baird is referring to the IRS 501(c) 3 guidelines, which require all churches and religious organizations not to endorse political parties or candidates as a nonprofit.

"We believe the Johnson amendment to the IRS code is unconstitutional and an unbiblical stance for the government to take," said Baird.

Baird says the IRS uses tax exempt status to scare pastors. He hopes he sent a strong message to the agency.

"We are hoping that the IRS might choose to litigate this, so we can take this to the court system. Lets have the Supreme Court make the final decision as to if the pulpits are free to be able to express their particular beliefs," said Baird.

The IRS chose not to comment on Pastor Baird's sermon.

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