Chaplain fires back at CREW allegations

The Chaplain explained to The Hill that the voter guides are produced by a for-profit company that is not affiliated with his nonprofit organization. 

"They didn't do a very good job researching my organization because The Pray in Jesus Name Project is a for-profit publishing company," he said. "It's not a nonprofit organization; although I do have a nonprofit organization that's not involved in the publishing of the voter guides." 

"They're simply mistaken on the facts," he added. 

The IRS has not contacted the publishing company or Klingenschmitt. 

CREW also claims that Klingenschmitt should be prohibited from disseminating his voter guides to churches since it views the pamphlets as partisan. The group states that the situation could jeopardize a church's 501(c)(3) tax status since under the law such voter guides must be politically neutral. 

The pamphlets published by The Pray in Jesus Name Project and given to churches describe candidates as "pro-abortion," anti-free speech," and "pro-homosexual." But Klingenschmitt argues his guides are nonpartisan. 

"The words 'abortion,' 'homosexuality,' and 'free speech' are not my words," he said. "Those are the words that Congress put in the bills that they voted against or they voted for. So our voter guides are nonpartisan because all they do is report how Congress voted. If Congress didn't want their pro-abortion or pro-homosexual votes reported in the churches maybe Congress should have voted differently." 

Klingenschmitt also noted that pastors have the freedom of speech and the right to assemble. He was also concerned by CREW's actions. 

"They're persecuting freedom of the press in our churches; they're asking the IRS -- they're asking the government — to invade the churches and censure our pamphlets to say that pamphlet A is approved but pamphlet B is disapproved. And if the church doesn't obey government's censorship of our literature, then the church should be punished with taxes by the government," he said. "Clearly, if that were to happen then government would be crossing the line between the separation of church and state — not the other way around."

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