President-elect Donald J. Trump campaigned in part on a vow to repeal the Johnson Amendment, a federal law that bars tax-exempt groups, including houses of worship, from intervening in elections by endorsing or opposing candidates.
Goodbyes are frequently difficult, but this one seems especially so. After half a decade at Americans United, I am leaving to become the media relations manager for Small Business Majority. I am very excited about my new position. But at the same time I am frightened for the future of the United States and sad that so much work will need to be done in the coming years to defend religious liberty from attacks by the far right.
The state of Tennessee used to have a law that banned members of the clergy from running for public office. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1978 rightfully declared this provision unconstitutional.
In the United States, pretty much all adults, with very few exceptions, have the right to run for public office. I wouldn’t have it any other way. If democracy means anything, it means the right to choose our own leaders. Disqualifying people from the ballot because of their race, gender or religious beliefs is un-American.
For the past few days, my inbox has been overflowing with emails about Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky.
The Roman Catholic prelate last week wrote a letter that he ordered all priests in his Peoria, Ill., diocese to read during services over the weekend. The missive purports to offer guidance about tomorrow’s election.
It’s still hard for me to believe that in light of the sluggish economic recovery, ongoing worries over jobs and mounting home foreclosures that most Americans are interested in a protracted discussion over access to contraceptives.
Yet here we are. The issue simply will not go away, chiefly because some misguided clergy won’t let it die.
On Oct. 2, a few fundamentalist clergy around the country will observe “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.” They will take to their pulpits and endorse or oppose candidates in defiance of federal tax law, which prohibits nonprofits from intervention in elections.
Looks like El Paso’s political pastor Tom Brown may be in a lot more trouble than he thought.
It’s not often AU can say this -- but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is on to something.
The LDS church has made a point to remind its senior leaders to remain politically neutral in the upcoming elections.
“The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians,” church president Thomas S. Monson and his senior counselors said in a letter sent to top church leaders recently. The letter was also posted as a statement on the church’s website.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has been a thorn in Americans United’s side for the past few years. A staunch ally of the Religious Right, Cuccinelli seems to have no problem using government to promote right-wing theology.
His 2010 memo on government-sponsored holiday displays was less than helpful. Americans United had to issue a statement warning that towns that took his advice without additional legal counsel might get sued.