A group says it filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service yesterday over the recent actions of Terry Jones' Dove World Outreach Center, which hanged an effigy of Obama outside of its church earlier this month. The D.C.-based group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says the Jacksonville church is participating in partisan political activism, which makes it ineligible for its tax-exempt status.
If these were Jones' private activities in opposition to the president, they would not be a violation of the law. But the situation is more complex. In this case, it appears that Jones has utilized the church to express his opposition to Obama's candidacy. The gallows containing the effigy -- a clear sign not to vote for Obama -- are on the church's lawn. I believe this alone constitutes a violation of the Internal Revenue code, which bars houses of worship and other tax-exempt 501(c)(3) entities from endorsing or opposing candidates.