The AP’s Andrew Demillo, in an apparent bid to take over The Arkansas Project blog (seriously, how many of his stories have I linked today?), has filed a juicy report on Bishop Robert Smith of the Word of Outreach Christian Center in Little Rock, who’s challenging the IRS by endorsing John McCain for president.
Smith delivered a fiery sermon endorsing McCain over Democrat Barack Obama due to the Republican’s positions against gay marriage and abortion. He said he’ll send a tape of the sermon to the IRS in the hope of sparking an investigation. Demillo writes:
Smith isn’t just testing the law with his sermon backing McCain. He’s also testing his predominantly black congregation and neighborhood by backing McCain over Obama – in a city torn by major racial strife when schools were desegregated 51 years ago.
“You never heard him once say you should vote for this person. He just said `This is who I’m going to vote for and here are the principles behind it,'” said Angela Roberson, who has been going to the church for about a year and is also supporting McCain.
Smith’s sermon was part of a protest effort launched last month on the part of the Alliance Defense Fund, which organized The Pulpit Initiative to challenge IRS rules prohibiting political activity by non-profit organizations.
Update: Here’s an Oct. 10 NPR report on The Pulpit Initiative that includes an interview with Smith, with some good background on the initiative.
Update to the Update: Max Brantley from the Arkansas Times pops by the comments section to note that his blog had some reporting on this last week. Now that he points it up, I do recall seeing that, but what, now I’m supposed to remember everything I read all the time? Jesus, what am I, the state librarian?
Anyway, here’s the link to the Arkansas Times piece on Smith, and for the love of God, please go read it before Max comes over to my house and smashes up my patio furniture with that Louisville Slugger he’s always bragging about. He sounds pretty pissed.