Senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett spent Sunday morning delivering a fiery partisan speech from behind the pulpit of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. That’s an utterly flagrant violation of IRS rules for churches, but of course rules are for peons, not the mighty presences of His Majesty King Barack’s court. There aren’t many laws this bunch feels compelled to respect.
CBS News in Atlanta gives us a taste of what Jarrett was cooking:
With less than 10 months remaining before President Obama looks for re-election, the message of her speech also veered into politics, as she reminded the congregation of some of the good things that have so far happened under Obama’s leadership.
“We all sleep a little better at night knowing Osama Bin Laden and his lieutenants are not plotting a terrorist attack against the United States,” she said, eliciting applause from the crowd. She continued, recalling a recent trip through a Chicago airport: “I saw so many soldiers returning home from their last tour of duty in Iraq, in time for the Christmas holidays.”
There was also a brief jab at Republicans.
“Teachers, and firefighters, and policemen, whose jobs are now in jeopardy because congress, well let me be specific, because the Republicans in congress …”
Before she could finish her sentence, people in the congregation were laughing, and applauding.
The pastor, Rev. Raphael Warnock, threw in some politics of his own from the pulpit, lighting into presidential candidate Newt Gingrich over his welfare reform positions. The Daily Caller notes that “shortly after the religious service, the church hosted a voter registration drive for its mostly African-American congregation.” It’s a wonder the congregation wasn’t simply handed pre-filled ballots marked for all the 2012 Democrat candidates, just to save them some time.
Democrats use black churches for politics all the time. They’ve been doing it for decades, with complete impunity. This particular event was so blatant and egregious that it raised eyebrows among even seasoned observers, as the Daily Caller relates:
The tone at the church event was political, according to Will Frampton, the CBS TV reporter who attended the event. “There were times during the service when it really felt like a political rally, perhaps even an early campaign stop, as much as it was a church service,” he hold his viewers Sunday night.
However, the IRS’ enforcement of its rules are skewed, said Stanley.
‘The IRS’ record of enforcement against churches has been atrocious, uneven, discriminatory and arbitrary,” he said. “Usually more liberal churches and more African-American churches have been [engaged in political activities] for years… whether it is legal or not,” said [Erik Stanley of the Alliance Defense Fund], who wants to persuade the Supreme Court to invalidate IRS curbs on clerics’ speech.
Whether Stanley prevails in his quest to change the IRS regulations for tax-exempt churches, there’s no question of what the law says now: “Voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.” But the word “prohibited” apparently has a different meaning for those with the correct politics.
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