Day by Day

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Religion in Politics

Whilst surfing last week, I found an interesting point about how political speech in church is portrayed differently depending on who's doing the speaking. When Republicans do it, it "theocratic. When Democrats do it, it's "outreach".


That got me doing more surfing, and I found the following, and the accompanying pictures.

"Let's take a look at our Constitution — it says ‘freedom of speech,'" said William Murray, president of the Washington D.C.-based Religious Freedom Coalition. "It doesn't say ‘freedom of speech unless you are in church on Sunday.' [Opponents] want to pass laws that say when we have freedom of speech and what we can say and society doesn't have a problem with that?"

"Despite the push for a change, a September Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll found Americans sharply divided over whether they wanted their religious leaders to get directly involved in politics.

Critics of the bill, who have been largely successful in foiling Jones' previous efforts, said giving tax breaks to churches who endorse or denounce specific candidates violates the doctrine of separation of church and state and is unfair to other nonprofits that are bound by the same restrictions.
In fairness, some anti-church-poltitical-speech do try to play it down the middle:

Complaints and investigations are more commonplace and often target churches on both sides of the ideological spectrum. In, February the IRS announced it is investigating the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church (search) in Florida, based on a complaint by Americans for the Separation of Church and State.

The group said the church was in violation of IRS law when it allowed Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and Rev. Al Sharpton to make their pitch for Kerry to the predominantly black congregants during an August service. The pastor had introduced Kerry as "the next president of the United States."
Odd, isn't it? I don't recall that coverage.

I've never been particularly vested in the participation of churches in politics, but it does ring true to me that the kind of political speech the Left seeks to restrict most ardently is political speech wherein advocacies are steeped in religion.

Or is it all a fan dance? -- as the accompanying pictures (of the last four Democrat presidents, seeking support in church) might seem to indicate.

It's all very strange to me, this Liberal Media thing. - Politics - Lawmaker Hopes to Open Churches to Political Speech

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