Church - State And Blacks
Today the Washington Times reported on a group opposed to John Kerry's ""rally" at a Miami church on Oct 10. This group, American United for Separation of Church and State, correctly identified the presentation as such:
Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn called the service a "rally," saying it was a clear violation of federal law that bars houses of worship and other tax-exempt groups from intervening in political campaigns.
"Federal tax law is clear on this matter," Mr. Lynn said. "Houses of worship may not endorse candidates for public office, and they certainly may not host huge partisan rallies. This was way over the top."
Sunday's event "appears to have been a clear case of a church hosting a partisan political rally," he said. "I believe the obvious aim of this event was to endorse Kerry's candidacy and spur congregants to vote for him."
On Tuesday, the Interfaith Alliance called on Mr. Kerry to "stop politicizing religion," citing the Sunday service.
"Our concern is to protect the sanctity of houses of worship and the integrity of religion," said the alliance's president, the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy. "We're not calling for houses of worship to shut down political discussion and education on the issues, but we are calling on all candidates and religious leaders to stop engaging in partisan politics at their houses of worship."
This group is absolutely correct. This was said at the "rally"
During the service, the Rev. Gaston E. Smith introduced Mr. Kerry as "the next president of the United States" and told the crowd, "For every Goliath, God has a David. For every Calvary's cross, God has a Christ Jesus. ... To bring our country out of despair, discouragement, despondency and disgust, God has a John Kerry."
... During Sunday's event, Mr. Sharpton also praised the Massachusetts senator and attacked President Bush. He also criticized the Florida recount of 2000, promising that voters in the state would deliver a "big payback" to the president.
He predicted that the future of the country and the world "will rest in our ability to come out in big numbers and elect this man on November 2."
The law is very specific on this matter: If you look here you will find the following:
A 501(c)(3) organization:
Must absolutely refrain from participating in the political campaigns of candidates for local, state. or federal office.
Must restrict it's lobbying activities to an insubstantial part of it's total activities.
Now that's the legal part. And no It is not a civil right to have a tax exempt status. Nothing stops Christians, Muslims or any other religious group from forming PACS and organizations such as MoveOn.org Personally I hate and despise that politicians run at black folks when they are at their most vulnerable:" a Church service. At such places most people have their thinking caps off and will respond to just about any emotional appeal. It is bad politics for blacks to allow themselves to be politically indoctrinated at such places. Marcus Garvey had it right: The UNIA had 'Libery Halls" all over the country where blacks (largely Christian) could organize politically, economically and socially without the tax gotchyas.
personally I think that all persons running for any office ought to be barred from speaking at any Church, Synagogue, Mosque or whatever. Go and worship if you like, but no speeches. Any candidate found in violation of such a law should automatically be disqualified from their race and the offending institution would lose it's tax exempt status for the term of the office that the candidate was running for ( 2 years for congress, 6 years for Senators, 4 years for president, etc.) That would put an immediate stop to this gross misuse of religion by the political establishment.