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. The 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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