Mac Hammond, the Brooklyn Park pastor who's had some trouble with the "separation of church and state" thing in the past, is now ready to officially push those his church right up alongside the White House as he campaigns for Michele Bachmann.
Hammond is the controversial pastor at Living Word Christian Center, the local megachurch that preaches the "prosperity gospel," which reminds parishioners that Christ was a capitalist who made a killing on real estate in Jerusalem, or something like that.
In the past, Hammond has lent his church to Bachmann for campaigning: In 2006, as she campaigned for her seat in congress, Bachmann told the crowd at Living Word that she was "a fool."
Then she added the words "for Christ," and they all ran to the voting booth. Now Bachmann needs those Evangelical voters, and she could use a little prosperity gospel herself, given the new fundraising e-mail that went out begging supporters to please give up a little cash this week.
Bachmann's fundraising plea, which went out by e-mail yesterday and was signed by campaign manager Kevin Nahigian, made reference to the pending September 31 deadline for second quarter donations.
"Moving into the final days of this financial quarter and the busiest stretch of the primary campaign season, our fundraising numbers will be a key indicator to the media and our opponents of our campaign's strength."
Hammond announced his decision to the church on Sunday, saying that he and his wife would be campaigning for Bachmann, and he might someday be chairman of the candidate's national "faith council," the Pioneer Press reports. Hammond said he'd been Bachmann's personal pastor for some time now, and sang her praises as a religious person.
"She is a sister in the Lord that is as committed to his word as any of you in here are," Hammond said.
The government watchdog group Citizens for Reposibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed not one but two complaints with the IRS against Hammond. The first, in fall 2006, was for illegal electioneering, when Hammond endorsed Bachmann's congressional campaign, thereby violating tax laws that bar nonprofit organizations from endorsing political candidates.
The second, which came the next year, accused Hammond of illegal financial dealings through the church which, among other benefits, helped him buy a plane to fly his family around. Well, what'd you expect? Hammond said "gospel of prosperity" -- that means he needs to get rich, too.
As for that first complaint, for which Hammond apologized and no action was taken, Hammond is going to try to avoid that one the second time around. The pastor begrudgingly acknowledged that the church can't officially endorse a candidate, though he pined for the days when that kind of thing went on and no one complained.
Speaking of the past, when things like audio recordings and CREW didn't exist, Hammond said, "Pastors and ministers had the responsibility of illuminating which candidates were most closely aligned with God's word."
So, in other words, this is as close to an endorsement from God as you can get.
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