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Pastor Robert Emmitt 'cla­rifies' Facebook vote message

First message says 'I voted straight Republican .. do the same.'

SAN ANTONIO - In a message posted on his Facebook page, Robert Emmitt, senior pastor of Community Bible Church, explained how he voted.

The message read in part, “I watched the debates. I prayed. I voted straight Republican and NO new taxes. And I hope you will do the same.”

On Wednesday morning, Emmitt issued what he called a "clarification."

It said, “When I said I hope you do the same I meant to register, watch, pray and vote. Not the way I did.”

Emmitt refused to discuss the matter with KSAT 12 News.

His secretary would only say, “He stands by his messages. Period.”

Emmitt is not alone when it comes to preachers and politics.

Case in point: The message outside the Church in the Valley, in Leakey, which ignited a firestorm over its sign.

Voters at an early voting site on Wednesday weighed in on the issue.

"I think their role is to help educate the congregation, or their membership," said Robert Herrera. "But overall, each person has responsibility for making their own decision based on what's important to them."

His was a position echoed by Luis Regalado.

"It's your choice," he said. "It's whatever you believe. ... Same thing goes for religion."

Your choice of politics and religion is too personal, according to Bertie Rivera.

"I love my church and I love my God," she said. "But no, I don't want anybody to influence the way I want to vote."

Mixing politics and religion is a slippery slope for churches. Most churches are 501(c) organizations, which are tax-exempt.

But to keep that exemption, they are prohibited from endorsing candidates.

According to the IRS' website, the law prohibits participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of -- or in opposition to -- any candidate or office.


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