- (Photo: Reuters/Mary Ann Chastain)
Minnesota pastor Mac Hammond announced Sunday that GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has asked him to join her campaign as chairman of her Faith and Family Council.
“Michele Bachmann has considered me her pastor for a while,” Hammond said during his Sunday sermon at Living World Christian Center, according to The Minnesota Independent. “Her concern has to do with what her political opposition might do with us as a ministry because the political opposition she faces is very poisonous, no doubt about it.”
Hammond shared that although it’s unclear as of yet whether he can legally become part of Bachmann’s political campaign, he did unofficially travel to Tennessee with the Minnesota congresswoman Friday to introduce her to a group of about 200 pastors and Christian leaders in Nashville at a campaign event.
“I got an opportunity to talk about the vital importance of the church rising up and taking this nation back,” Hammond said. “She is a sister in the Lord that is committed to His word as any of you here.”
Back in 2006, The Minnesota Independent was the first to report a story about Hammond endorsing Bachmann from the pulpit, which resulted in a complaint to the IRS. Bachmann spoke at Living Word as a congressional candidate in 2006, detailing her own faith and religious beliefs, saying God had called her to run for Congress and referring to herself as “a fool for Christ.” Hammond’s endorsement on the same day is what led to the IRS compliant.
In addition, someone acting as an informant inside the church and sent documents that highlighted what were then reported as “illegal financial arrangements.”
As a result of the IRS investigation, Living Word sued, saying that the IRS could not appropriately investigate the church because it was going through a restructuring process. A judge ultimately ruled in the church’s favor.
Despite his previous church-politics controversy, Hammond stated Sunday that he felt churches should be able to endorse the candidate of their choice, referencing efforts by some organizations to change the IRS prohibition on churches endorsing candidates.
“For centuries, politicking was done in the local church,” said Hammond. “And pastors and ministers had the responsibility of illuminating which candidates were most closely aligned with God’s word.”