May 9, 2005 at 9:11 PM CDT - Updated July 2 at 2:00 AM
May 9, 2005--Posted at 5:00 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO-- The expulsion of nine members from a Waynesville, North Carolina church is drawing nationwide reaction.
North Carolina church members say the controversy began with sermons on abortion and homosexuality during last years campaign.
But it only escalated when Pastor Chan Chandler attempted to oust nine church members because they didn't support President Bush.
"The question then comes in the Baptist Church, 'How do i vote?' Let me just say this right now, if you vote for John Kerry this year, you need to repent or resign," Pastor Chandler says.
Chandlers politics from the pulpit attracted national attention including that of local Baptist Pastor, Stan Ballard.
"Without calling names, people know who I stand for because I'm going to vote for the candidate that I believe lines up closest to the teachings of the Bible because I am a conservative, Bible believing pastor, but I'm not going to stand and say you should vote for this person," Pastor Ballard says.
He says that a church is a tax exempt group or organization that does not have the right to label or favor a particular party.
He says they are not Republican or Democrat but Christian groups.
"There is a fine line in our particular governmental system that we don't promote candidates from the pulpit," Ballard says.
And with the incident in North Carolina, he says, that fine line has obviously been drawn.
"In a sense, he has endorsed a candidate and that's wrong. That's not what we're here for. We're here to preach the gospel," Ballard says.
And in his opinion, the gospel calls for a much different approach ...
"When God deals with us and even though he disciplines us and corrects us and chastens us, it's always with love. It's always with redemption in mind to bring us back. It's never to the point of total exclusion," Ballard says.