Do Politics From The Pulpit Go Too Far? - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Do Politics From The Pulpit Go Too Far?

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by Adam Ghassemi

LEBANON, Tenn. – Pastor Glenn Denton mainly preaches about faith at Hillcrest Baptist Church, but makes no apologies when he shifts into politics.

"I don't classify myself as a Republican or a Democrat, I'm a Christian," he said Tuesday. "I believe the Bible. So that's pretty much where I base all my convictions from."

Some of his words in this month's edition of the church's newsletter, The Beacon, focus negatively on President Barack Obama. It reads, in part, "I am doing everything I can to see the Obama socialistic, anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Israel program is defeated."

"It made every one of us mad," said "Ann" who spoke to NewsChannel 5 under the condition of anonymity due to potential backlash. She believes Denton is violating federal tax law and putting the church's non-profit, tax-exempt status at risk.

"He's saying he doesn't endorse a political candidate, but I don't know how else you could read this paragraph and say he's not endorsing the other person running," she said. "It would make me just as mad if he was talking about Mitt Romney or someone running for the local mayor, or a local office."

"I will not sacrifice my convictions on the altar of my tax exemption status," Denton said.

Pastor Denton's sermons posted on the church's website don't hide his dissatisfaction with the Obama administration either.

"Friend, I'm saying to you he's a Marxist, militant Muslim and if you voted for him or you didn't vote at all, you are at best ignorant and at worst insane," he said during a sermon titled "Obamanation - Preparation For Tribulation."

Denton says all his sermons are based on his beliefs and do not cross the line. He says anyone threatening IRS rules is just trying to intimidate believers.

"I don't know of any church, anywhere, who [sic.] has ever lost their tax exemption status for speaking out Biblically on a political matter," the pastor went on to say.  "I don't have an agenda to push. I just have a Jesus to support and I will."

That's why Denton says he'll keep preaching what he believes his congregation should hear even if people on the outside think it goes too far.

"There's a place for politics and there's a place for religion, you know, and they shouldn't be mixed," "Ann" said who plans to file a complaint with the IRS. Pastor Denton says he isn't worried about the complaint, and will deal with it when it comes.

He maintains he does not officially endorse Mitt Romney or any other candidate.

Calls to the IRS requesting the number of religious organizations that have had their tax-exempt statuses revoked because of political violations weren't returned by news time.

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