capitol dome section with flagWritten by Don Byrd

The Kentucky Baptist Fellowship calls a series of “candidate forums” at Baptist churches “partisan politics.” While both U.S. Senate candidates have been invited, only one has appeared.

The Lexington Herald-Leader has more:

The forums are to be moderated by Southern Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler; Kentucky Baptist Convention executive director Paul Chitwood; and Bob Russell, founding pastor of Louisville’s Southeast Christian Church, where McConnell is a member.

Kentucky Baptist Fellowship’s [interim director Chris] Sanders said the forums were partisan politics, because “they have the appearance of favoring one politician: McConnell.”

“They’ll say both candidates have been invited, but they were arranged to benefit McConnell,” he said. “They were ready to announce that he would participate in them when they first announced.”

Informational forums or voter guides sponsored by churches may be appropriate so long as they are even-handed and do not favor a candidate directly or indirectly. The IRS warns that “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.”

For more, see the BJC’s resource page on church electioneering. Additionally, the Interfaith Alliance recently published a pamphlet entitled “A Campaign Season Guide for Houses of Worship.”


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