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Video editing by Gerardo del Valle/ProPublica. Source videos: Gateway Church, Cowboy Church of Corsicana, Mercy Culture, KingdomLife, Friendship-West Baptist Church, Sojourn Church, Beth Sar Shalom, Abundant Life Church, Unite Church, Legacy Church.
Texas 2022 Elections

These 20 churches supported political candidates. Experts say they violated federal law.

Churches aren’t supposed to endorse political candidates, according to IRS rules. Across the country, churches appear to be doing so anyway.

By Jessica Priest and Jeremy Schwartz, The Texas Tribune and ProPublica, and Chris Morran, ProPublica

We’re not endorsing a candidate, but…

(Unite Church)

“We’re not just gonna be doing an endorsement for Kelly today, even though I am endorsing Kelly for U.S. Senate. And you can vote for whoever you want. I’m just letting you know who I’m voting for. It’s gonna be her.”

— Josh Tanner, pastor of Unite Church in Anchorage, Alaska

“Uncle bill”: a new “family”-based strategy

(Gateway Church)

“We’re not endorsing a candidate. We’re not doing that. But we just thought because they’re a member of the family of God, that you might want to know if someone in the family and this family of churches is running.”

— Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church in Southlake

Dueling endorsements

(Life-Changing Faith Christian Fellowship)

“I’m not about to endorse, but you’ll get the message.”

— Dono Pelham, pastor of Life-Changing Faith Christian Fellowship in Frisco
(KingdomLife Church)

“Vote her behind right out of office”: criticizing the incumbent, praising the challenger

Friendship-West Baptist Church

“So Cruz went to Cancun and then Abbott’s friends got paid. And while that was going on, Beto O’Rourke was using resources from his foundation. He was on the ground, serving people, blessing people and just, just, just doing what God wants us to do.”

— Frederick Douglass Haynes III, pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas

“My dear friend”: hosting a candidate

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“I can’t, as my friends will say, I can’t endorse him. But I do know that God loves Falcons.”

— Chris McRae, pastor of Sojourn Church in Carrollton
Abundant Life Church

“Would you stand in honor of Christian Collins and the leader, servant-leader that he is and what he has done for this community?”

— Dave Stovall, pastor of Abundant Life Church in Willis
Destiny Christian Church

“Lord God, that you would inspire voters here in the state of California to cast their vote for the sanctity of life. Lord God, that they would get behind a conservative Christian candidate.”

— Greg Fairrington, pastor of Destiny Christian Church in Rocklin, California
Carver Park Baptist Church

“I endorse him fully and completely, and I wish that you would prayerfully consider helping support this mighty man of God.”

— Gaylon P. Foreman, pastor of Carver Park Baptist Church in Waco

Praising Trump before the 2020 election

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“President Trump, he ain’t the greatest dude in the whole world, but he’s the closest thing that we got to what we need.”

— Derek Rogers, pastor of Cowboy Church of Corsicana in Corsicana
Beth Sar Shalom

“I like what our president has done. He made his promises. And he kept his promises. He moved the embassy to Jerusalem. He made peace between Israel and three Arab nations. ‘Can’t be done.’ He did it.”

— Steven Ger, pastor of Beth Sar Shalom in Carrollton

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