‘Don’t put your race or your nationality over being a Christian…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) The Miami megachurch hosting a rally for President Donald Trump faced attacks from both sides of the political spectrum prior to Friday night’s event.
Dubbed “Evangelicals for Trump’ Coalition Launch,” the rally will take place at 5 p.m. on Friday at the King Jesus Ministry in West Kendall. More than 70 pastors plan to attend.
Pastor Guillermo Maldonado asked parishioners to attend the rally, too.
The church is predominately Hispanic, and some in the community expressed concern that illegal immigrants who attend the church could be deported.
Maldonado insisted that illegal immigrants would be safe at the event, and that he would not allow that to happen during the service.
“I ask you: Do you think I would do something where I would endanger my people? I’m not that dumb,” he responded, according to Fox News.
“I don’t think the president would do such a thing,” he continued. “Don’t put your race or your nationality over being a Christian. Be mature … If you want to come, do it for your pastor. That’s a way of supporting me.”
While Maldonado’s wading into the immigration debate raised some eyebrows, an atheist group known for targeting religious entities launched a completely different attack, claiming the event violated tax laws.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to the IRS demanding an investigation into the church. It charged that the rally could infringe upon the separation between church and state, calling into question its religious exemptions.
“In urging congregants to come to a political rally, and in hosting the political rally, King Jesus Ministry appears to have inappropriately used its religious organization and 501(c)(3) status by intervening in a political campaign,” the group said in its letter. ‘It violated IRS regulations by seemingly expressing its support for a candidate in the November 2020 presidential election.”
The King Jesus Ministry acknowledged that it typically does not “endorse any political candidates or engage in political campaigns,” but said the rally is an opportunity to minister to its governmental leaders.
“As believers, the Bible calls us to pray for all of our governmental leaders,” the church said.
“For this reason, our ministry opens its doors to those who wish to share in our faith and pray for our governmental leaders and office seekers,” it continued. “While we advocate for issues we care deeply about, such as family and respect for life, we do not take positions in political campaigns.”