A lot of people are talking about this -- see Democratic Underground, Daily Kos, Atrios, and Blah3 -- and now a brief story has now been posted by North Carolina's WLOS:
Religion and Politics Clash
Religion and politics clash over a local church's declaration that Democrats are not welcome.
East Waynesville Baptist asked nine members to leave. Now 40 more have left the church in protest. Former members say Pastor Chan Chandler gave them the ultimatum, saying if they didn't support George Bush, they should resign or repent. The minister declined an interview with News 13. But he did say "the actions were not politically motivated." There are questions about whether the bi-laws were followed when the members were thrown out.
The person who posted the story at DU wrote:
My Mom just emailed me the news....
From Mom's email: "One of the local women who got excommunicated said on TV that it was like a cult. Another man who got excommunicated said that the rest of the congregation stood up and applauded as the Democrats were told to leave."
Gee, what was it again that that nice man John McCandlish Phillips said a couple of days ago on the op-ed page of The Washington Post?
...In more than 50 years of direct engagement in and observation of the major news media I have never encountered anything remotely like the fear and loathing lavished on us by opinion mongers in these world-class newspapers in the past 40 days. If I had a $5 bill for every time the word "frightening" and its close lexicographical kin have appeared in the Times and The Post, with an accusatory finger pointed at the Christian right, I could take my stack to the stock market....
In the long journey from the matchless moment when I became "born again" and encountered the risen and living Christ, I have met hundreds of evangelicals and a good many practicing Catholics and have found them to be of reasonable temperament, often enough of impressive accomplishment, certainly not a menace to the republic...
Mr. Phillips, I'd be delighted to pay for the plane tickets, the hotel, the rental car and the meals if you'd agree to head down to East Waynesville Baptist personally and see what its people of "reasonable temperament" are doing right now.
I've said this before and I'll say it again: You're going to see a lot of this, and worse, if Democrats win back the White House in '08 -- especially if Hillary Clinton is the winning candidate (because she'll be haunted by a body of lore so false, and suggesting so much evil on her part, that it might as well be called the Protocols of Hillary).
If the next president isn't a Republican, people like the fine folks at East Waynesville Baptist will consider the entire U.S. government illegitimate. I don't expect a full-scale civil war, by any means, but I remember far-left terrorism in the Nixon years and Timothy McVeigh in the (Bill) Clinton years, not to mention anti-abortion and anti-gay terrorism in the wake of Roe and Stonewall. (Eric Rudolph's a two-fer.) I'm not saying that the folks at East Waynesville will build bombs -- though who knows? -- but if bombs are built and set off, I think a number of them won't object at all.
UPDATE: Via Sisyphus Shrugged, here's a somewhat expanded version of the WLOS story, from AP and the Raleigh News & Observer. From this I learn that Reverend Chan Chandler reportedly told "heretics" not merely to support Bush, but to "go to the altar, repent and agree to vote for Bush," then adds this:
A former church treasurer says she's at church to worship God and not the preacher.