Waymon Hudson

Americans United Calls on IRS to Investigate "No Homo Mayor" Church in Gainesville, FL

Filed By Waymon Hudson | March 29, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Politics
Tags: Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Craig Lowe, Don Marsh, Dove Ministries, Dove World Outreach Center, Florida, Gainesville, homophobic behavior, human rights ordinance, mayor, Terry Jones, transphobia, Wayne Sapp

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington D.C., has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, FL that posted a sign reading, "No Homo Mayor" on it's property. 2.jpgThe sign references Craig Lowe, the openly gay mayoral candidate who is in a run-off with an anti-equality candidate named Don Marsh. The church also posted a homophobic-filled video from one of their pastors, Wayne Sapp, attacking Lowe by calling him a "fag" and saying Gainesville shouldn't be turned into "Homoville."

Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, called the church's actions a blatant example of illegal politicking by a tax-exempt group:

  This is an open-and-shut case. The church freely admits that it intended to intervene in the election in violation of federal tax law. I urge the IRS to act promptly.

Americans United sent a letter to IRS officials asking them to investigate the matter.

A top church official readily admitted that the church had erected the sign to the local papers, with the senior pastor at Dove World Outreach Center, Rev. Terry Jones, adding:

  We don't feel as though the city should be represented by a homosexual.

Rev. Jones also said all videos put online that feature Pastor Sapp or himself have been endorsed and approved by the Dove World Outreach Center church.

The Gainesville Sun reports that this isn't the only tax problems Dove Ministries has. The Alachua County property appraiser is investigating the exempt status of the church when it comes to property taxes for other reasons:

Church leaders, including Jones, operate the for-profit TS and Company, which sells furniture through eBay, on the church's 20-acre property. According to state law, property - regardless of who owns it - is only exempt if it's used for exempt purposes like holding church services.

Looks like we aren't the only ones who want to Shove the Dove.

And in case readers need a reminder of what the Dove World Outreach Center Church stands for:

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This man is full is hatred and is dangerous. No question that this church must lose its tax exempt status. And this man should be on a watch list--he's likely to become a violent terrorist.

In my opinion, there's a gray area when it comes to enforcing the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, AKA: Separation Of Church and State. Churches have gotten a free pass when involved in campaigns to deny or strip the equal rights of some U.S. citizens. They're allowed to donate, be actively involved, and publicly support such campaigns. Without the threat of losing their tax exempt status, by claiming this is on moral grounds, not politically motivated.

However, a church or non-profit organizations tax exempt status comes with limitations set forth by IRS tax codes. As a member of a 501 C-3 non-profit organization, we risk losing our tax exempt status should we violate any of these codes, which includes very limited involvement in political activiam. By injecting themselves into Gainesville's political process, such as the Dove World Outreach Center is obviously doing in the Mayoral race. This is a blatant violation of their tax exempt status and non-profit codes. They need to be investigated by the IRS, and lose non-profit tax exemption immediately.

On a personal note, seems the Dove World Outreach Center is in competition with Hate Monger Fred Phelps and his Hate Mongerette's from the Westboro Baptist Church. Fighting for the title of who can spew the most hatred against the most people without taking a breath. Disagree as we may about the right of these co-called churches of God to spew hatred of others. It's their right to do so, just as it is ours to protest and speak out against them. As we did to express our disgust with them for having an effigy of two Muslim Men hanging in front of their church and, signs lining the street claiming "Islam Is Of The Devil".

Now, "Homo's Are Of The Debil", looks like we'll be organizing another protest at Dove Ministries. In our continuing efforts to out so-called houses of worship, who preach hatred and distort the true Word of God.

In Pride, Unity & Full Equality