POLLING PLACE: Dunkerton Pastor’s Letter To The Editor
The pastor of the Dunkerton Baptist Church is under fire for a letter he wrote in the town’s newspaper telling people who to vote for.
According to KWWL, Reverend Tommy Rucker is a pastor at the Dunkerton First Baptist Church, but he’s drawing attention for some perspective he preached outside the church, in a letter to the editor published in the Dunkerton News.
The pastor said, “It is my responsibility to help people not only be good followers of Christ, but to be a good follower that means being a good citizen. It means you take your responsibility to vote for those who we feel, interpret, will do the best job of holding up our morals, our values.”
In the letter, Rucker objected to same-sex marriage and mentioned state legislators who haven’t allowed a public vote on such unions. The letter also urges a “no” vote on Justice David Wiggins, who supported overturning Iowa’s ban on gay marriage.
Earl Canfield, a member of Rucker’s congregation says he supports Rucker’s now public opinion. Canfield told KWWL, “I saw him as a private citizen expressing his convictions and opinions on the matter, and I respected that.”
But many question whether it’s okay, or even legal for a pastor to tell people how to vote, especially since Rucker’s church is Dunkerton’s polling place.
Jennifer Littlefield of Dunkerton said, “Religion should be about acceptance and tolerance. But this pastor publicly requested individuals to vote a certain way, and now that polling location is no longer neutral.”
Reverend Rucker insists that the church won’t try to sway voters who come to the church on November 6th, and the Black Hawk County Auditor, Grant Veeder, says that’s what matters. “As long as the law is followed on election day, as long as no signs are posted or electioneering done within 300 feet of any entrance to the polling place, they’re okay.”
Reverend Rucker says he’s been writing letters to the editor on voting issues for six years, and while he has been threatened with legal action, it has never been pursued.
The IRS does have the ability to revoke a church’s non-profit status for “speaking on behalf of, or in opposition to a specific candidate or issue.”
To read the letter to the editor, click here.