Rev. Meeks Walks a Fine Line with IRS on Religion and Politics

December 13, 2010  |  

(Chicago Tribune) — Pacing as he dabbed his sweaty face with a towel, the Rev.James T. Meeks fired up his large crowd with an energetic rant about City Hall’s shortcomings — poor garbage pickup, red-light cameras, underperforming public schools.  “It’s time for us to stand up. It’s time for us to get up. It’s time for us to wake up!” he exhorted.  While it sounded like many of the political speeches the state senator and candidate for Chicago mayor makes on the campaign trail, this was a sermon Meeks delivered last Sunday as pastor of Salem Baptist Church. The fiery preacher has built a career on social and political activism, but his entry into the high-profile mayor’s race brings a new focus on federal law restricting political campaign activity by churches.

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