An outspoken right-wing pastor who said Democrats cannot be Christians because of their support for abortion said he has given up his tax-exempt status.
Pastor Greg Locke from the Mt. Juliet's Global Vision Bible Church in Tennessee, who previously criticized Democratic Christians for their pro-abortions stance, has confirmed that he renounced his tax-exempt status. The conservative pastor made the announcement during a live video stream on Sunday.
"Guess what I did this week. I got an attorney and I dissolved our stinking 501c3 in this church because the Government ain't gonna tell me what I can and what I can't say," Locke said during a live stream on his Facebook page. "So, IRS we don't need your stupid tax-exempt status. You can put it in a bag and burn it in your front yard for all we care. I renounced 501c3 communism in this church."
Pastor Labeled Christian Democrats as 'Demons' and 'Baby Butchers'
Earlier this month, Locke blasted Christians who were for the Democratic party, saying, "You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation. I don't care how mad that makes you," Newsweek reported. The controversial pastor added, "They are God-denying demons that butcher babies and hate this nation."
The Tennessee pastor's comments urging Christians not to vote for Democrats in the November elections caused the advocacy group Americans United For Separation of Church and State (AUSCS) to urge the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate whether Locke made partisan political remarks and violated the Johnson Amendment.
The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the U.S. tax code that bans all 501c3 non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Examples of such organizations are churches, universities, and charitable organizations. Locke's Mt. Juliet's Global Vision Bible Church is also a 501c3 non-profit organization, which means it benefits from a tax-exempt status.
Religious Advocacy Group Calls Upon IRS to Investigate Locke
In a letter dated May 14, AUSCS attorney Ian Smith told the IRS, "Though Locke stated he was not a 'full-fledged Republican,' he clearly told his congregants to vote against the Democrats, from the pulpit of his church. This violates the law and we ask for an investigation into Locke's conduct 26 U.S.C. § 7611."
During his sermon in which he labeled Democrats "demons" and "baby butchers," Locke claims that the U.S. government under President Joe Biden had in fact "stole an election," referring to the 2020 Presidential Elections, and are "trying to do as much damage as they possibly can," Church Leaders reported. The pastor said that their actions were "purposeful" and that the "leftist" government are purposely starving babies, in reference to the infant formula crisis, to challenge the abortion rights that have been threatened by the draft opinion leak from the Supreme Court earlier this month.
Locke claims that if the government "can't kill your baby in the womb, they'll starve them to death later on after they've been born" in reference to the infant formula shortage. He also justified pushing away Democratic Christians out of the church, saying that "the Bible talks about church discipline, right-by kicking folks out if they cause trouble."