FreeThought Fort Wayne

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Is the Maranatha Chapel of Harlan, IN violating the tax code because they are certainly liars

Posted by Skeptigator on October 28, 2008

via acdpblog

A sign of the time perhaps? Apparently the Maranatha Chapel in Harlan, Indiana is carrying the following message on their church sign.

“Do You Want a Muslim For Your President?”

Whoever (or is that whomever) could they be talking about? In all seriousness, many religious, non-profit and tax-exempt organizations have a lot of political activities. And we can argue whether or not they should have *any* but seriously if you take a liberal view of churches (like me) and see them as performing certain civil functions (like being polling places) I honestly don’t really have a problem with political organizing in and of itself within certain limits. But when such tax-exempt organizations cross a clear line. A very clear and bright line, mind you, there should be some repercussions.  Possibly IRS repercussions. This church is actively lying about one of the candidates in this election. They can probably slither out of this by saying they are not actively endorsing any one candidate but come on who are they kidding. So am I to conclude that Christians are liars or only the folks at Maranatha Chapel. Perhaps only the person (likely under the direction of the pastor) who put the sign up. Just for fun, let’s say that Obama is an actual muslim and he’s running for President. This sign still crosses the line, period, because the intent is clear. But to put a cherry on top of this crap sundae, it’s a lie to begin with. I have not seen this sign in person. I originally heard about this from here. A website I don’t visit regularly since partisan politics often pisses me off. I plan on driving by Tuesday evening to get a picture myself after my workout, hopefully it’s not taken down by then. UPDATE: Here’s the link to the local news media:

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23 Responses to “Is the Maranatha Chapel of Harlan, IN violating the tax code because they are certainly liars”

  1. Andy S. said

    Thanks for posting this.

    I learned about this controversial sign from the 21 Alive evening night cast which aired last night. After visiting their website, I was unable to find a link to it, and the local newspapers did not have any mention of it.

    This sort of hatred and bigotry needs to be exposed for what it is.

  2. dystressed said

    I just got an e-mail from the democrats that the sign was taken down. They thanked all of the supporters for their prayers.

  3. agnohumanist said

    Hey, just heard about today from a colleague who lives there. She’s a staunch Christian–wife of a pastor, in fact–but she was appalled too. I actually called out a local pastor near my home because he posted a sign saying something like “Jesus was more than just a community organizer. He is the savior…blah, blah, blah.” Not nearly as blatant as the Harlan sign, but still an obvious slam at Obama. I called the pastor right away and talked about their tax-exempt status and how they are supposed to stay non-partisan and all, but he denied that it was favoring one side over the other. Lying, in other words. How nice of him. The sign came down shortly thereafter, so I’d like to think that I had some influence.

  4. Anon said

    That makes me want to protest at their church next Sunday with a sign reading “Do you want a moron for a preacher?”. At least my sign would be true. Maybe some day, I’ll grow large enough balls to actually do it.

    On ‘Meet the Press’, Collin Powell had the correct response to this attempted smear:

    I’m also troubled by, not what Sen. McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said, such things as, “Well, you that know Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    However, I must note that I believe that Islam and Christianity are equally invalid, and all things being equal, I would prefer to have a non-theist commander-in-chief over a theist one.

    Kudo’s to you for calling the pastor and explaining/complaining.

  5. NoBendedKnee said

    Frustratingly, fear and ignorance’s offspring, while many, has one most vile…religion.

    I echo the kudos to you!

  6. difference said

    You guys are all liberal idiots! Bitching over a fucking church sign. Ha!

  7. If by “liberal idiots” you mean someone who values the separation of church and state and that humanity would be better served through love, compassion and tolerance (or at least not being a liar), then “Thank you, chicken-shit anonymous commenter, for the compliment”.

  8. Goldphool said

    As a Muslim, it doesn’t really surprise me. It hurt and offended but did not surprise me. As an American I was upset, when is this country going to learn that there is a separation of church and state? I feel like the only time there is a “separation” is when it is convenient to show that they did not do something as “Christianity teaches”. I would love to picket on Sunday too unfortunately I have to work, I hope some people do. Getting to the point though, I hope they do get investigated however I’m pretty sure all of us know what will happen, the IRS will blow it off and Maranatha will carry on with their bigotry. I know that if a Masjid (Muslim temple) were to do something like that we’d definitely be paying for it. So I guess the IRS is probably full of bigots too, no wonder they get along so well.

  9. Kathy said

    I wish someone would print the address of this so called Christain Church. They probably don’t have an email address because they are from the Dark Ages. We should slam these assholes with mail. Have a protest – let’s make this church an example of when good people go bad and that encludes a church. What a bunch of “f” losers!

  10. What if it turns out that the pastor was just asking an innocent question and he had a big surprise in store for his sermon teasing board comment… the idea of appreciating other people’s religions? Not likely but still possible. If so, or if not, though, I see a whole bunch of people jumping to stereotypical conclusions.

  11. Thanx Mike for the comment, I actually thought about that before posting but additional media coverage showed that this was not the case. Quote from unnamed church official.

    “All I done was ask a question! I did not implicate anybody or anything, any party. I didn’t do anything”

    #1) All I done? sigh… I’m not even touching that one

    #2) They didn’t say Barack Obama in the same way Anne Coulter *didn’t* call Jon Edwards a fag.

  12. You’re welcome… One thing we need to get on top of is the Fort Wayne area fat and stupid stereotype. Everyone can roll their eyes and more and we know there’s a problem but there’s got to be a way to get past it… rather than the Nancy Nall, Amy Welborn and other’s attitude to eff Fort Wayne and there is no cure to any problem there… There’s got to be a way to raise our area up… at least in self-perception.

  13. “Fat and Stupid”, That’s a tough one… I know those measurements were more focused on What availability to bike trails and outdoors activity as well as how many fast food restaurants instead of actually sampling the population which would be admittedly hard to do.

    I would definitely like to see more bike lanes and hell even sidewalks. I live in a fairly new neighborhood that only has sidewalks on one side of the road and no sidewalk connection along major roads. I could walk to a CVS from my house but I’d have to hop out on a 2-lane Carroll Road.

    Our county commissioners for sure don’t have the foresight (or corresponding budget) to make Fort Wayne and Allen County at large walkable (or ridable if that’s a word).

    But I see we’ve gotten off-topic. Seriously, it doesn’t help when the last quote I’ve read in the local news is from a guy who says, “All I done..”

  14. There are a lot of deep problems that I wasn’t even aware of so much ..that is until there were blogs around to cause me to pay attention more. For example, the attitude between the city and county toward each other being so serious. I know a guy who used to date one of the big county guys’ daughters and he used to hear discussions of how they’d casually talk of their manipulations…

  15. I think you have this kind of pissing match anytime the City and County begin to bump heads because the City grows large enough that many of the services offered begin to overlap. It’s good to hear talk of unigov but talk is cheap as they say.

    We have an outdated EMS system, a disjointed emergency 911 system and the only reason these will ever combine is when the state will come in and lay the smackdown. And that will only happen after some major emergency like a flood or tornado shows exactly how incompetent both sides are. Unfortunately there will likely be people who get hurt because of this.

    The city and county officials are content to pee on each others shoes and stroke their egos instead of do what is right for Fort Wayne/Allen County. Would it be an easy path? No but that’s why we elect leaders to make those tough decisions and move a plan forward. I had high hopes for a certain individual to make some of these things happen. Turns out he’s just another good ol’ boy.

  16. I assume you are talking about a basically good seeming guy that probably shouldn’t have landed where he did due to circumstances? Yeah, it doesn’t seem like that is going so well… although at least he is willing to buy a condo… lol

  17. lol, actually I was referring to the guy whose name rhymes with Freeze or is it Fries.. no wait… damn… gave it away.

  18. Kathy said

    Actually, getting back to the sign and the raciest comment that this church made which to me is so un-Christian. These types of churches do this all the time and get away with it. All I’m saying is that whether they knew it and posted it to test everyone or are just plain dumb – either way, it violates the tax exempt status of church. Someone should report these asswipes….

    And a comment from a northern county in Indiana – Ft Wayne is a heck town – it’s a nice place to pass through though.

  19. Ryan said

    Someone needs to rearrange the letters to say ‘I mourn for you deists’.. ok there are a couple extra letters but damnit this was hard.

  20. Andy S. said

    On a related topic –

    One of the employees I work with told me a shocking story yesterday. It seems her teenage son, who attends public high school here in FW, has been “learning” some interesting facts about Barack Obama from one of his teachers.

    Apparently, the teacher has been telling the students Barack Obama is a Muslim. I could not believe this when I heard it, and, I asked the employee if I could have the name of the teacher who had been saying this.

    I plan on contacting the school and letting the administration know this untrue thing is being said by one of their educators. Especially, at the expense of my tax dollars who pay the teacher’s salary.

    If the teacher would like to state FACTS regarding the differences between the two candidate’s policies, I would not take issue with this. But, to purposely DECEIVE a child into believing such a lie, is totally inexcusable.

  21. Gregory Lawless said

    Once again, the proper response is “So what if he IS a Muslim? Which he isn’t, but even if he was, there’s no reason a Muslim cannot be President.” Or you could go with “Hey, did y’all know JFK was CATHOLIC?!? Boy, wasn’t that a bad time when he let the Pope take over our country?”

    But no matter which they go with, they should insist the teacher be fired for not adhering to the school curriculum. Unless of course the class is Current Affairs….

  22. Andy S. said

    Gregory –

    I can assure you, IF Barack Obama was a Muslim – it would not make a difference to me. Colin Powell did a great job on Meet The Press a couple Sunday’s back, on reinforcing the notion that religious affiliation should not be taken into consideration when choosing our President.

    But the FACT is Barack Obama is NOT a Muslim, and considering the fear-mongering and boogie-man tactics which are permeating this presidential campaign, I feel any attempt to misrepresent a candidate’s religious affiliation should be immediately repudiated, especially if it is coming from a teacher at a publicly financed school.

    However, before I phone this school, I want to be sure I have appropriate information on who exactly said this and in what context was it brought up.

  23. […] the Bible are greater than all other words. Regardless, this church will always be remembered for a sign message it displayed in 2008: Do You Want a Muslim for President? This message told me all I need to know about […]

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