Missoula Church raises eyebrows for political campaign yard signs

A Missoula Church is grabbing the attention of Garden City residents for political signs in the organization's yard. 

Crosspoint Community Church displayed two large campaign signs in support of U.S. Senate candidate Matt Rosendale and Representative Greg Gianforte in their front lawn. Smaller signs in support of Greg Hertz and Brad Tschida were also next to the larger signs. 

The church's decision to take a political stance is making some neighbors unhappy. Rodger Clixbi has lived across the street from Crosspoint for nearly two decades. He said this is the first time the church has become political. 

"My feeling is, I think the church should be a neutral field and they're kind of gaudy looking signs anyways," Clixbi said.

The signs are also raising some legal questions. 

"Under Federal tax law, churches like other charities are prohibited from engaging in campaigns for political candidates," University of Montana Law Professor Anthony Johnstone said. 

Johnstone has studied elections law, and said while he believes Crosspoint is breaking IRS tax code, he's unsure if the church will reap consequences. 

"That's an area of federal tax law that the IRS has not shown much interest in enforcing, particularly in recent years," Johnstone said. 

Johnstone said political yard signs are low levels of political engagement. Combine that with a low level of enforcement, it makes him doubtful Crosspoint will face legal repercussions. 

We reached out to Crosspoint church via phone and email and have not heard back. 

Pastor Bruce Speer is quoted by KGVO as saying, "We are a church that has taken a position on what we believe is a key moral truth and that is pro-life. We have allowed pro life candidates to put yard signs in our church property advertising their campaign. We are not Republican or Democrat. Our party is Christian. It wouldn't matter if it was a democrat, if he was pro life we would support him."

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