Arkansas Church Gets Inquiry From IRS After AU Complaint

An Arkansas church whose pastor gave a televised sermon supporting presidential candidate George W. Bush has received a letter of inquiry from the Internal Revenue Service.

Americans United asked the IRS to investigate the First Baptist Church of Springdale after its pastor, Ronnie Floyd, delivered a highly partisan July 4 sermon that derided Democrat John Kerry and lauded Bush.

During the sermon, Floyd displayed a huge portrait of Bush and a much smaller photo of Kerry. He purported to outline the differences between the two candidates but denigrated all of Kerry’s stands while praising those held by Bush. The sermon, AU contended in its complaint, made it clear that Bush was the preferred candidate.

Floyd’s attorney, Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel, a Religious Right group affiliated with Jerry Falwell, confirmed in January that the IRS had sent a letter of inquiry to the church, reported the Little Rock Democrat-Gazette.

Staver refused to divulge the letter’s contents and would not share a copy with the newspaper.