The Internal Revenue Service has been asked to investigate James Manning, the pastor of Atlah World Missionary Church in Harlem, and the church's tax-exempt status after Manning repeatedly attacked Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., from the pulpit.
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, a group that monitors the political activities of churches, wrote to the IRS's Exempt Organizations Division complaining of Manning's remarks and enclosed a DVD with videos culled from YouTube of sermons exhorting his congregation to beware of the senator.
"I plead with all Americans and the world far and wide, do not give the White House to that half Negro Barack Hussein Obama," said Manning in one sermon. "America, don't turn this great nation over to the Negroes. They're not ready yet."
Mannning also referred to Obama as a "mack daddy," urban slang for pimp, and said he was "born trash."
"I want to say to you, black America, that Barack Obama is not the one," said Manning. "He is a diversion from the truth."
Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, called on the IRS to probe the pastor. "I believe these comments in no way fall under the type of political comment permitted by tax-exempt entities," he wrote. "They are clearly designed to persuade people not to vote for Obama. Manning has crossed the line and his church should be investigated."
Manning said he has not heard yet from the IRS about whether the service is conducting any investigations.
“I am not sure whether or not the IRS has launched an investigation,” Manning told WebCPA. “I know Americans United filed a complaint because of the statements I made about the Illinois senator, but nobody from the IRS has contacted me to state that an investigation has been opened. I was not electionary from the pulpit. I was preaching. They have interpreted that as electionary, but that’s not the case at all.”
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