By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
A woman who lives near Morning Star Baptist Church is concerned about political signs on church property.
The IRS prohibits not-for-profit churches like Morning Star from putting out political signs. But just like the fall leaves changing, you'll find political signs dotting the property around the church at 27th Street and Prospect Avenue.
"Usually this whole corner is littered with political signs," Amanda Powell said. "The actual church itself usually has signs. I think that's disturbing."
The Rev. John Modest Miles has had personal and professional ties to a number of elected leaders, including then Mayor Mark Funkhouser and Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. He has personal ties to former President Bill Clinton from his days as a minister in Arkansas when Clinton was governor. Miles is highly respected by local leaders and was once talked about as a potential City Council candidate.
Politicians seeking office or re-election typical attend services at Morning Star and other Kansas City churches before election day.
Miles said church leaders aren't putting the signs out, but he said he never thought before about removing them. Because of the questions that Powell and others are raising, Miles said the church board will decide what to do about the signs.
Powell does not plan to ask the IRS to revoke the church's not-for-profit status because of its campaigning. But she thinks the signs should go.
"We don't expect our churches, our clergy to be promoting one political agenda over another," she said. "They know the rules. Just like I know when I get in a car, I need a driver's license, they know a nonprofit, faith-based organization aren't allowed to have campaign signs on their property."
She said even if church leaders aren't putting the signs out, they are looking the other way when members do.
"It's their responsibility to remove it. Just like if someone dumps trash on my property, it's not my trash, but it's my responsibility to remove it," she said. "We have a right to free religion and a right to vote however we want. Churches should not be influencing that in any way."
Copyright2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)All rights reserved.
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