Arguing that “freedom is more important than government financial favors,” former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is urging churches to consider rejecting government tax breaks. Huckabee, himself an ordained Southern Baptist minister, first called for churches to give up their tax-exempt status during a talk he delivered to Southern Baptist pastors at a conference in Texas on Monday.

Citing the recent Internal Revenue Service scandal in which it was revealed that the tax collection agency was targeting conservative groups, the 2008 GOP presidential candidate said: “I think we need to recognize that it may be time to quit worrying so much about the tax code and start thinking more about the truth of the living God, and if it means that we give up tax-exempt status and tax deductions for charitable contributions, I choose freedom more than I choose a deduction that the government gives me permission to say what God wants me to say.”

He reiterated his position the following day on Twitter, tweeting to his more than 287,000 followers:

The Huffington Post:

During his 2008 campaign, Huckabee drew significant support from churches and other Christian groups, prompting scrutiny over whether pastors had improperly engaged in partisan political activity.

One Southern Baptist preacher, Rev. Wiley Drake, said in February 2008 that he was being investigated by the IRS over his endorsement of Huckabee, putting his church’s tax-exempt status at risk.

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— Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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