The Rev. Cary K. Gordon has a prayer he recites as he campaigns against the three Iowa Supreme Court justices who are up for retention in next month's election.
"Dear God," he says, "please allow the IRS to attack my church, so I can take them all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court."
Gordon, an associate pastor at Cornerstone World Outreach in Sioux City, says he will defy federal law this month when he urges the congregation to vote to not retain the three justices, who participated in a unanimous ruling that allowed same-sex couples to wed. His mass mailing to 1,000 church leaders in September prompted one national religious liberty group to file a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service.
Advocates of the separation of church and state and some religious leaders say Gordon's plan is illegal, immoral and an attempt to falsely frame his dispute as a freedom-of-speech violation. The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in Washington, D.C., called Gordon's actions one of the most outrageous attempts to politicize a church that he has ever seen.