A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

SBC Pastor To Endorse Keyes & Himself

Most of you have heard about the Pulpit Initiative planned for today. If you haven't, here is a short synopsis from the LA Times:
Setting the stage for a collision of religion and politics, Christian ministers from California and 21 other states will use their pulpits Sunday to deliver political sermons or endorse presidential candidates -- defying a federal ban on campaigning by nonprofit groups.

The pastors' advocacy could violate the Internal Revenue Service's rules against political speech with the purpose of triggering IRS investigations.

That would allow their patron, the conservative legal group Alliance Defense Fund, to challenge the IRS' rules, a risky strategy that one defense fund attorney acknowledges could cost the churches their tax-exempt status. Congress made it illegal in 1954 for tax-exempt groups to publicly support or oppose political candidates.
I'm with Don Byrd of the Baptist Joint Committee's Blog from the Capital who believes that this planned mass violation of IRS tax-exempt regulations will be a complete bust. Thus far, I have only heard of one pastor who plans to endorse from the pulpit.

His name is Wiley Drake.

And he plans to endorse HIMSELF!

And Alan Keyes.

Wiley Drake is the past of First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, California. Back in 1997, Wiley was a driving force behind the Southern Baptist Convention's boycott of Disney. Wiley is also a homeschooling advocate who has called on Southern Baptists to remove their children from public schools. In 2006, Wiley was elected second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He created stationery for himself using his SBC title and used the stationery to endorse a candidate for United States Senate. Last year, Wiley gained attention in the blogosphere when his name showed up on an Internet letter supporting a man convinced of killing an abortion provider. Within the last year, Drake landed himself in hot water after endorsing Mike Huckabee for President. Consequently, Americans United for Separation of Church and State called on the IRS to investigate Wiley for violation of anti-electioneering laws. And Wiley made news AGAIN by calling for "imprecatory prayer" against staffers of Americans United.

That's Wiley Drake in a nutshell. A first-class kook.

Now, Wiley is running for Vice-President of the United States alongside Alan Keyes who is the 2008 presidential nominee for the affiliate of the newly formed America's Independent Party. The Keyes-Drake ticket have reportedly gained access to the ballot in California.

Wiley has announced that he will be endorsing Keyes and himself from the Pulpit on Sunday.

Here's Wiley on his plans:
"I'm going to talk about the un-biblical stands that Barack Obama takes. Nobody who follows the Bible can vote for him," said the Rev. Wiley S. Drake of First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park. "We may not be politically correct, but we are going to be biblically correct. We are going to vote for those who follow the Bible."...."We may not be politically correct, but we are going to be biblically correct. We are going to vote for those who follow the Bible," Drake said.

"The Bible warns pastors not be lukewarm, or you're like a dog that doesn't know how to bark," Drake said.

Drake said this Sunday will be like any other: he will read from the bible, preach a sermon and then endorse Alan Keyes for president.

He also plans to announce whom he might vote for as vice president.

"My second choice is me, Wiley Drake. I'm on the ballot, so I plan to endorse myself," Drake said.

I hope that the IRS lays the hammer down on Wiley Drake. He's definitely asking for it...



Blogger Georgia Mountain Man said...

I can't wait to hear him say exactly how John McCain is "Biblical."

6:13 AM

Blogger Bart Barber said...

John Leland certainly didn't shrink from endorsing candidates and laboring to deliver the Baptist vote.

I have never endorsed a candidate from the pulpit or in my official capacity as a pastor. No church of which I have ever been a member has endorsed any candidate for elected office.

Nevertheless, I will not make it a universal absolute that no pastor or congregation should do so, nor can I promise that I never will do so. As I have said before, in a hypothetical race between Mother Theresa and Adolf Hitler, I should hope that I would be able to muster enough moral clarity and courage to know for myself and to declare to my congregation that there is only one way that any Christian could ethically cast a ballot in such an election.

Let the IRS set whatever rules it wishes. Render unto Caesar, you know. But let us be clear that the IRS is not an arbiter of right and wrong. And whether it is or is not a thing of wisdom to be making endorsements in this presidential election (and even if it were, whether it is or is not a thing of wisdom to be making an endorsement for Keyes and Drake!), I will gladly state that it is 100% a wrong thing to come to such a decision solely or predominantly because the IRS smiles or frowns upon either outcome.

6:26 AM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

I'm sorry, Wiley Drake is on a presidential ticket?!? How did I miss this!

10:59 AM

Blogger Georgia Mountain Man said...

My grandmother always said that a preacher who took up politics in the pulpit had "quit preaching and gone to meddling," and I wholeheatedly agree. I don't think any church vote should be "delivered" Baptist or otherwise. Any member of any organization, who allows his or her vote to be "delivered" is allowing someone else to do their thinking, and voting for them.

12:46 PM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...


But I do believe that Leland argued against ministers receiving tax favoritism from the government.

I also won't go the absolutist route and take the position that a pastor should never endorse from the pulpit under any circumstance. But that pastor should be prepared to suffer whatever consequences are thrown his or her way. Wiley needs to realize that his congregation's tax-exempt status is a privilege - a privilege that obviously can be lost. The IRS is indeed not an arbiter of right and wrong. However, if a church is interested in taking advantage of the government accommodation that is the tax-exempt status, that church and its pastor should be willing to submit itself to the IRS guidelines.

Speaking of Leland, Mark Scarberry (a conservative Presbyterian) who is a law prof at Pepperdine has written an interesting paper titled "John Leland and James Madison: Religious Influence on the Ratification of the Constitution and on the Proposal of the Bill of Rights." It just went online this month and I have not had the chance to read it yet. But you can download it here

2:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ben Worthington wrote a post today Is There A Christian View Of Politics, that I agree with. It would most certainly apply to this Aaron.

3:50 PM

Blogger Alexis said...


11:45 AM

Anonymous Bob Allen said...

EthicsDaily.com carried a story about Wiley's disputed nomination in July. Here's a link. http://www.ethicsdaily.com/article_detail.cfm?AID=10783

12:18 PM


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