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'Shove It Up Your Fat, White A**': They Sent a Warning Letter to Houses of Worship — but Some Religious Leaders Weren't Having Any of It

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"Drop dead."

After a church-state watchdog sent out 84,000 letters urging faith leaders and churches, alike, to be mindful of IRS restrictions that govern political activity, the organization claims it received dozens of fiery responses from religious leaders who were less than content with the group's warning.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State announced earlier this month that it had recently  sent the letter to houses of worship and sectarian leaders across the nation, warning in the text against endorsing candidates from the pulpit.

"We merely want houses of worship to follow the rules, stay out of partisan politics and keep their tax exemption," Simon Brown, the assistant director of communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said in a blog post. "And when we explain to clergy what the law requires, we do so in a respectful way."

Americans United for Separation of Church and State Americans United for Separation of Church and State

But Brown said that some of the recipients didn't appreciate the reminder, as numerous faith leaders opted to send the letters back along with some fiery messages expressing their dissatisfaction; others called or emailed Americans United with similar sentiment.

A representative for the organization told TheBlaze Thursday that 45 angry responses have already come flooding in and that more are expected in the coming days.

Among the surprising mix of messages came a fiery letter addressed to the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United, from a man described as a Catholic priest.

It read, in part, "As for your solicitude regarding our legal well-being, I ask that you shove it up your fat white a--."

Read the message below:

Americans United for Separation of Church and State Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Another unnamed religious leader wrote the words "drop dead" on the document before sending it back.

Others wrote messages telling Americans United that they have no plans to comply with the organization's reminder to follow tax law.

One faith leader took to his red marker to write, "Come and get me; I DARE YOU!"

Americans United for Separation of Church and State Americans United for Separation of Church and State

There was also another faith leader who simply tore the letter up into tiny pieces and sent it back to the organization with no accompanying message.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State Americans United for Separation of Church and State

It's clear from the responses that some faith leaders clearly oppose the IRS regulations that come along with their tax-exempt status, though contention surrounding these legal parameters is nothing new.

At the center of the debate over church politicking is the Johnson Amendment, a controversial IRS code added in 1954 that precludes nonprofit organizations — churches included — from engaging in campaign activity.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist activist group and Americans United, among others, have long clashed with conservative groups over the issue of church politicking, with the right-leaning legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom organizing the annual “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” event.

The initiative, which last unfolded October 5, encourages pastors “to reclaim their right to speak freely from the pulpit by preaching an election-related sermon" — an act that flies in the face of the letter that Americans United sent to preachers.

Read more about the ongoing debate over politics and the pulpit here.

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