Political Spending from the Pulpit

Pastor who backed Michelle Bachmann in church also gave to Detroit candidate

The pulpit wasn't the only place where Mac Hammond, head of the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, flexed his political muscle. Hammond, who made headlines in the days before the election for endorsing U.S. Representative-elect Michelle Bachmann during a sermon, also dug deep, together with his wife Lynne Hammond spending $10,400 to support two religious candidates, according to records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

In the 2005-2006 election cycle Bachmann received $2,500 from the Hammonds--well, that and a venue in which to proclaim herself a "fool for Christ" whose congressional bid was mandated by God. Doubtless Bachmann's politics jibe with the Hammonds', but the two have no history of making donations to U.S. political races. More plausible: They were inspired to enter the civic arena this time around by the candidacy of a fellow Word-Faith preacher.

The couple was more generous to Keith Butler, who ran an unsuccessful Senate race in Michigan. A black Republican from a Detroit suburb, Butler is a former Detroit City Council member and senior pastor of Word Faith International Christian Center, a 22,000-member megachurch. He raised $2.6 million--$7,900 of it from the Hammonds--for his failed effort to win the GOP primary and go on to challenge popular Democratic incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

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