October 13, 2004

Church/State Separation UPDATE

I have to say, Americans United works fast. I sent the form in this morning, and got a reply at about 10:10. Robert Boston told me that they have received numerous complaints -- I wonder how many conservatives complained, as I did, just to see if they would do anything to their own side.

They have filed a complaint with the IRS, which was delivered this morning. Have to admit it -- I don't like most of what they're against, but at least they are consistant. And I really didn't expect them to do it. They told me that the New York Times would have more information, but I'm having trouble accessing their site from the computer lab here at school. I'll stay on it, and update when I find out something.

{UPDATE} You have to register (but the piewview thing works here), but check out this link.

I especially love the Kerry campaign's statement: "Speaking to a church is well within the limits of the tax code and it is quite different from the way the Bush campaign has aggressively pushed to use churches to distribute their campaign material and treated them as an arm of its re-election effort." Bush doesn't have a Baptist minister working for him -- Kerry does (Rev. Jackson).

A church endorsing a candidate explicitly is a clear violation of the law. It's also an abuse of the pulpit. I have no problem with a preacher admonishing the congregation to vote their conscience, or even to vote for a candidate that holds to a specific position on something like abortion or same-sex marriage. I have a problem when "Vote For {candidate}!" is proclaimed from a pulpit -- and that is exactly what happened in Florida. As far as I know, churches that support Bush haven't done anything this blatent (or this stupid) -- but that may be simply because the attention is focused on them, rather than the liberal churches.

I'm glad to see that Americans United (I've given the link enough -- I don't want them getting TOO much traffic from me!) is consistant in their objective of keeping churches true to the letter (AND the spirit) of campaign law.

{UPDATE AGAIN} I forgot about this. They've done it before, and are doing it again.

The amazing thing is how little press coverage this is getting. The Times is the only paper so far to cover the newest story, though beliefnet has also mentioned it. Very little has been said about the Kerry campaign's targeting of churches -- only Bush's. Of course, Bush has done more, but that shouldn't matter. If it's being done at all, it should be news, no matter who is doing it.

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