Asking the congregation to pray for political campaigns should cost the
church its tax-exempt status, said Mike Fuller, president of the Oklahoma
City chapter of the Americans for Separation of Church and State.
"That's a violation in my opinion of the prohibition on politicking by a
tax-exempt organization," he said. "That strikes me as blatant politicking."
Fuller said the candidates have a right to espouse religious beliefs, but
should be cautious once they enter office.
"We have no quarrel with people professing religion during campaigns," he
said. "I wouldn't want to prevent them from doing that. Once they get into
office and they start pushing for policies based on religion that affect the
public, then that's an encroachment on church-state separation, and we do
want to get involved in trying to prevent that from happening."
Activities of council candidates' church draw criticism
Council candidates' church, its activities criticized. Political commentary,
children's training on weapons cause some to believe radical views will
influence council decisions.
By Michael Baker and John Estus
Published: February 27, 2011
Two Oklahoma City Council candidates attend a church observers have
criticized for flying the Confederate flag, making political commentary from
the pulpit and training children to use automatic weapons at a church camp.
Windsor Hills Baptist Church's activities have been described as radical by
critics who fear it could influence city council decisions if its members
are elected Tuesday.
The church had nothing to do with members Adrian Van Manen and Cliff Hearron
deciding to run for city council, nor will the church force its religion on
Oklahoma City, the two candidates said.
"Some of the people that I've known down there for the last 19 years are
helping me in the campaign, but I'm keeping a pretty strict wall of
separation between me and the church, not that that's required by law,"
"My decision to run was a personal decision, and it has nothing to do with
the church," Van Manen said.