Fairview Baptist Church May Violate Spirit of IRS Tax Code for Inviting Political Candidate to Speak to Congregation Before Election

Pixabay/Steve Buissinne

Mayoral candidate Brian Shellem was given the opportunity by Pastor Paul Blair to speak to the Fairview Baptist Church congregation before the election in April of this year. The church also urges its followers to support the political candidate by voting for him and contributing money to his campaign. However, it has been noted that this behavior goes against the principles of the IRS Tax Code.

Invitation of Church Pastor on Political Candidate

On Mar. 5, Shellem delivered sermons throughout Sunday services at the Fairview Baptist Church. NonDoc reported that during the services, he recounted the events that led to him settling in Edmond and mentioned the pending legal action he was taking against Edmond Public Schools. In the end, he was the one who pushed a campaign event. Former Oklahoma Representative Dan Fisher, who now serves as an associate pastor at Fairview Baptist Church, urged congregation members to vote for Steve Shellem and contribute to his campaign.

Fisher thanked Shelem for participating in the event and said to the church members, “I know that he probably needs help knocking on doors and just encouraging people to vote for him come early April.” Moreover, a similar incident in 2010 was reported by ABC News. As mentioned, Pastor Paul Blair is being accused by Americans United for Separation of Church and State of using his tax-free religious group, Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ, to solicit endorsement and financial contributions for state Representative Sally Kern, a Republican who is running for an additional term in her seat.

A watchdog group based in Washington, District of Columbia, wrote a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) pointing to an email sent prior to an initial kick-off event in June 2010 called “Rally for Sally.” In the email, Blair exhorted congregants and supporters to fight back against what he referred to as an attempt by the “homosexual lobby” to take control of the elected position.

Also Read: Registrar of Societies Sent Cancellation Notice to Controversial Churches For Not Filing Tax Returns

Understanding IRS Tax Code

In acknowledgment of the singular place that churches, religious groups, and pastors hold within American culture and of the rights to which they are entitled under the United States Constitution’s First Amendment, the United States Congress has passed specialized tax regulations that apply to these entities. According to, churches and religious organizations are generally free from paying income tax and are granted other benefits under the tax law. Nevertheless, particular earnings of a church or religious organization may be subject to taxation, such as revenue from a company unconnected to the church or religious organization. 

Furthermore, churches and other religious groups can use the IRS fast reference guide to government tax law and processes, which the IRS provides, to assist them in voluntarily complying with tax regulations. This book contains the IRS’s views on tax laws adopted by Congress, the Treasury Department’s regulations, and the courts’ decisions. Yet, the information must be more comprehensive and address every possible circumstance. 

As a result, it is not meant to serve as the only source of information or to take the place of the law. The precise facts and circumstances of a specific taxpayer may determine how any problem, in particular, is resolved. It also addresses matters on which a court may have rendered a more advantageous conclusion to taxpayers than the explanation offered by the IRS and provide an analysis until these varying interpretations are addressed by decisions made by higher courts or in some other way.

Related Article:Kris Jenner Allegedly Established California Community Church to Write-Off Tax

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