Campaign Finance Ethics North Carolina Religion

Who Would Jesus Donate To?

Mark Harris, a Republican running for a Senate seat in North Carolina, has allegedly received funds from collection plates at local churches.

The question has arisen in light of a new video showing Rev. Bill Saylor of the Blackwelder Park Baptist Church urging attendees to donate money to Harris, either as a pastor or a Senate candidate.

“Now, I want you to do this also —we’re going to take an offering, all right? We’re going to take an offering for Dr. Harris, for his coming and preaching, also for whatever you want to do otherwise for supporting him in this campaign,” Saylor said.

Harris says that some churches “haven’t given [him] anything” which appears to be an admission that some churches also have.

What I would like to know is how funds that parishioners dumped into collection plates were allocated. Did each member of the church attach a note to their donation detailing whether or not they wanted their money to be used for Harris’s campaign? Did the church decide what their intentions were on its own? Did some members of the church pressure others into making a donation for his campaign?

I’ll be thoroughly disappointed but not surprised if Blackwelder Park Baptist Church isn’t punished for this.

  • Churchlady320

    This is totally illegal, and someone needs to report it. However, the IRS (not under Bush that targeted a supposed endorsement of Kerry at a liberal Episcopal church – it wasn’t true) requires first hand observation of the events. Given what happened to All Saints Episcopal in CA, that’s good because the Bush IRS went after the church based on a newspaper story read by someone in another state. So if you want to observe this, do. Then report it. It IS flamingly illegal, and the churches should have their tax exempt status removed.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Now is when the IRS needs to start scrutinizing.

  • ninjaf

    They consulted a higher power for each donation.

  • muselet

    Why am I not surprised this is happening? Or that an R is involved?


  • Christopher Foxx

    Rev. Bill Saylor of the Blackwelder Park Baptist Church speaking on behalf of his organization:

    We’re going to take an offering for Dr. Harris … for supporting him in this campaign,

    The IRS, writing on the tax code:

    Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

    Seems absolutely clear to me.