“Anonymous 31” Come Forward

A group of Central Ohio clergy members labeled as the Anonymous 31 is now appearing publicly after filing an IRS complaint against the World Harvest Church and its pastor, Rod Parsley.

The group of local Christian and Jewish religious leaders came forward after Parsley made an issue of one minister speaking for the entire group, saying they had no problems appearing in public regarding the complaint.

The complaint says Parsley and Reverend Russell Johnson of Fairfield Christian Church have misused the tax-exempt status of their churches by indirectly endorsing political candidates. Specifically, they say Parsley has endorsed Republican candidate for governor Kenneth Blackwell.

Last week, Parsley denied any wrongdoing and defended his Center of Moral Clarity and Reformation Ohio groups, calling those that filed the complaint the Anonymous 31.

Wednesday, they said their intention was never to be anonymous. Their names were signed on the complaint to the IRS and a matter of public record. They just wanted to make their concerns known.

Reverend Kim Keethler Ball with the American Baptist Churches says, “I knew when I put my pen to paper, appearing anonymous was not my concern. When I told my congregation on Sunday, there was a round of spontaneous applause.”

In a statement faxed to 10TV Wednesday night, Parsley said he exercised his right to speak out on moral issues, within federal tax law guidelines, as a spiritual leader in the community. Parsley said all clergy have the right to do so.

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Jan. 26, 2006
Tracy Townsend, Reporting

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