Republican Prayer

Dr. John Ray at A Western Heart brings a very interesting item to light. bq. This one is so way-out and so presumptuous that I am afraid it gave me a laugh. John then quotes from the article linked above: bq. In a letter of clarification requested by a traveling minister, the Internal Revenue Service has declared people gathered in tax-exempt churches can't pray for President Bush to win the election on Tuesday. The ruling comes in response to a request by the Christian Defense Coalition, which is in the midst of a 15-day prayer tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the organization, had planned to lead in prayer for a Bush victory during evening services in each town. Though he had hoped to hold the services in churches, Mahoney says he has used American Legion halls, hotels and other venues pending a clarification from the IRS. bq. The American Center for Law and Justice wrote the letter to the IRS on behalf of the Mahoney's group, explaining that the pastor planned to "offer prayer during the evening services in the churches he visits that God grants President Bush four more years as president and that Senator Kerry does not become president." OK - I get the picture... So let's propose this - suppose a Democrat were to deliver a sermon in a church and advocate J.F. Kerry, the IRS would be looking into that too?
Guess not. This is from a story I blogged about here where Senator Ted Kennedy gave a sermon at a church and: bq. According to the AP report, Kennedy �urged the congregation to vote for Kerry.� Hypocrites -- to believe that some citizens out there want these people in power. UPDATE: Jen pointed me to an article that says that the IRS is actually investigating a number of Non-Profits for their politicizing. The article can be found at the Austin American Statesman (bogus registration required) bq. IRS Investigating 60 Tax-Exempt Groups By GENARO C. ARMAS bq. About 60 charities, churches and other tax-exempt groups are being investigated for potentially breaking federal rules that bar them from participating in political activity, the Internal Revenue Service said Friday. bq. Such violations would threaten their tax-exempt status, the IRS said. bq. The investigations involve guidelines for 501(c)(3) groups, which grant tax-exempt status so long as organizations do not participate in political activities like endorsing candidates or making campaign donations. bq. By law, the IRS cannot reveal names or details of investigations. It did reveal that about 20 of the groups being looked into were churches. bq. Heightened concerns about improper political activities this election season warranted the creation of a committee of career civil servants to look into potential political violations by tax-exempt groups, according to the agency. Also on the web are these stories: From bq. IRS asked to probe political activity at Mt. Airy church A watchdog group has asked the IRS to investigate "inappropriate and possibly illegal" political activity at one of Philadelphia's most prominent congregations, Mount Airy Church of God in Christ. bq. The 5,000-member mega-church is led by Bishop Ernest Morris, president of Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity, an influential group that has thrown its support to the Kerry-Edwards camp. bq. In a complaint filed Tuesday, Americans United for Separation of Church and State cited Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's pro-Kerry stump speech at a worship service Sunday at the Mount Airy church. bq. Morris had followed Kennedy at the pulpit and said to his congregants, "I can't tell you who to vote for, but I can tell you what my mama told me last week: Stay out the bushes." Mt. Airy is the church pictured above. From the Marantha Christian Journal comes the story that Kerry has done this often: bq. Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's increasingly prominent habit of using politically sympathetic churches as a platform for campaign speeches is drawing criticism -- though for differing reasons -- from groups on both the ideological right and the left. bq. President Bush's re-election campaign came under fire earlier in the year when news reports revealed that campaign officials were attempting to use conservative-leaning congregations to obtain church directories for mailing lists -- and encouraging pastors of such congregations to use their pulpits to endorse Bush positions. Supporters of church-state separation denounced the tactic, with some Christian leaders going so far as to buy full-page advertisements in the New York Times and other newspapers to do so. bq. Now the Kerry campaign is enduring criticism for using churches to hold what amounts to political rallies during Sunday morning services in African-American and other Democratic-leaning churches. Many conservatives have long accused liberals of hypocrisy for engaging in the practice. They go into some more detail and then talk about a very interesting bill which has been languishing in the House and which does not have a sponsor in the Senate yet: bq. H.R. 235, the "Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection Act," has languished in the House for more than two years, despite strong support from the Religious Right. It would allow churches and other houses of worship to endorse political parties and candidates while still maintaining their tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code. It has failed even to gain a sponsor in the Senate. Let's hope that this little piece of odium gets squished ASAP. Finally, from the town of my birth comes this article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: bq. Bush, Kerry take campaigns to the church pews Choosing politically on matters of faith bq. In July, Connie Phillips and four friends donned "People of Faith for Kerry" T-shirts to volunteer at area food banks, joining a national effort by the Democratic campaign to show that President Bush did not have a corner on Christian voters. And the meat of the story: bq. The late surge in Democratic religious activism is drawing fire from liberal groups that normally attack the religious right. On Oct. 12, the Interfaith Alliance urged the Kerry campaign to "stop politicizing religion and misusing houses of worship for partisan political purposes." And Americans United For Separation of Church and State has filed as many complaints against churches for endorsing Kerry as for endorsing Bush. I logged into Thomas to check on H.R. 235 and the last major action was in 2003. Let's keep it that way people -- please?

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on October 30, 2004 11:45 PM.

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