Updated:MAIDEN, N.C. —
A national group thinks a Maiden church should lose its tax-exempt status after the pastor gave a controversial sermon that included comments on President Obama.
During the May 13 sermon, Pastor Charles Worley also said gay people should be kept inside a fence. His comments have drawn national attention.
“If somebody said, ‘Who are you going to vote for?’ -- I ain't gonna vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover,” Worley said in the sermon.
It was parts of Worley's sermon like that one that caught the attention of the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Director Barry Lynn said Worley put Providence Road Baptist Church's tax-exempt status in jeopardy with his sermon.
“What violates it is when he goes on to suggest who people should vote for or, in this case, vote against,” Lynn said. “And unless you were asleep during the sermon, it is pretty clear you were being instructed by Pastor Worley on Mother’s Day not to vote for Obama.”
The group plans on filing paperwork demanding the church lose its tax-exempt status.
Church member Stacey Pritchard strongly supports Worley. She said she reads her Bible every day and isn't threatened by the group going after the congregation's tax-exempt status.
“I think they need to dry it up and quit whining,” Pritchard said. “It is America and you can speak your mind and shouldn't have to worry about people who don't like what you have to say.”
Nikki Yess lives across the street from Providence Road Baptist and saw the video of the sermon posted on YouTube.
“I would say, in my opinion, he is not for Obama,” she said.
While she said she was shocked by the sermon, she is not sure whether the IRS should take action against the church.
“I think it is freedom of speech and your own personal beliefs,” Yess said.
A protest rally planned for Sunday has been moved to the Catawba County Justice Center. Organizers said as many as 1,000 people could show up.