Organization asks IRS to investigate church after sermon goes vi - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Organization asks IRS to investigate church after sermon goes viral

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MAIDEN, NC (WBTV) -

A national organization is calling on the Internal Revenue Service to investigate a Maiden church after a controversial sermon went viral.

WBTV obtained a copy of a letter sent to the IRS from a group called Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).

The letter asks for the IRS to investigate Providence Road Baptist Church after a sermon from Pastor Charles Worley went viral with his thoughts on homosexuality.

"I had a way... I figured a way out - a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers - but I couldn't get it past the Congress," he said during a sermon.

"Build a great big, large fence - 50 or a 100 miles long - and put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals - and have that fence electrified so they can't get out. Feed 'em. And you know in a few years, they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce."

That sermon sparked outcry across the nation and caught the eye of the FFRF in Madison, Wisconsin.

In the organization's letter to the IRS, Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel say's Pastor Worley's sermon violated the terms of the church's tax-exemption privilege.

Seidel pointed to parts of Worley's sermon where he talked about President Barack Obama and the upcoming election.

"I tell you right now, somebody said, 'who you gonna vote for?' I ain't gonna vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover!" Worley said about President Obama just days after he spoke out nationwide in support of gay marriage.

"You say, 'Did you mean to say that?' You better believe I did! God have mercy it makes me puking sick to think about... [pause] I don't even know that you ought to say this on the pulpit or not," he continued. "Could you imagine kissing some man? My God - I love you fellas, but not that much."

Seidel told WBTV via the phone on Thursday that it's clear that Pastor Worley is exhorting his congregants to vote against President Obama in the upcoming election.

"There can be no doubt that he intentionally took this political stance from the pulpit," FFRF's letter to the IRS stated. "The conclusion is unavoidable: Pastor Worley knowing and intentionally spoke from his church's pulpit when he said that the Bible, God, he, and anyone with sense is against gay marriage and should therefore refuse to vote for President Obama."

According to the IRS' tax-exempt status for churches, a church's status may be jeopardized if it "participate[s] in, or intervene[s] in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."

Seidel told WBTV that Pastor Worley clearly violated that rule in his sermon.

He says his organization received three times the normal number of complaints, even for a big issue.  Most of those complaints were from North Carolina residents.

Seidel says the FFRF is just one of several national organizations that have sent letters to the IRS requesting an investigation into Providence Road Baptist Church.

He told WBTV that it could take a week or two for the organization to find out if the IRS will investigate the church, and if an investigation is launched - it could take a year or two to complete.

Seidel says his foundation is seeing more cases like Pastor Worley's potential violation of tax-exempt status since President Obama announced his support for gay marriage.

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