With politics and religion intermingling quite a bit this campaign season, the Pew Research Center for Religion & Public Life decided to investigate how often pastors discuss politics and social issues from their pulpits. The results were pretty encouraging for those who believe churches should respect the law and stay away from activities designed to endorse or oppose candidates – but they also show there’s still a lot of work to be done.
The Republican Party platform approved yesterday includes a call for altering federal law to allow houses of worship to jump into partisan politics. This change threatens religious life in America, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The platform advocates repeal of the Johnson Amendment, a provision adopted by Congress in 1954 that prohibits 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit organizations, including houses of worship, from intervening in partisan politics by endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.
A controversial Texas pastor who partnered with Dallas officials to offer counselling and support services to local law enforcement is under fire for making anti-LGBT comments.
Every other year during election season, Americans United reminds clergy nationwide to stay out of partisan politics.
Most religious leaders have no problem respecting the federal tax code’s prohibition against campaign intervention by houses of worship and other non-profits that are tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Religious Right leaders have complained a lot about President Barack Obama since he took office in January of 2009. Among their litany of gripes is that the president doesn’t go to church very often. (This, of course, just feeds kooky right-wing conspiracy theories that Obama is secretly a Muslim.)
Well, Obama and his family went to church on Sunday for Easter services. And guess what, the Religious Right still isn’t likely to be happy.
The end of the year is a time for lists. You’re probably seeing a lot of them – “25 Best Books of 2012,” “10 Overlooked Movies,” “What’s Hot and What’s Not” or whatever.
Along those lines, here’s a list of the Top Ten Church-State Stories from 2012 (listed in no particular order):
The Alliance Defense Fund is trumpeting an Aug. 27 clip of “Christian nation” revisionist David Barton appearing on Glenn Beck’s program lauding pulpit politicking.
Barton is looking forward to the ADF’s Sept. 26 “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” during which pastors will openly violate the law by endorsing or opposing candidates from the pulpit. Beck seemed taken with the idea as well.
A few misguided religious leaders in South Dakota have decided they are above the law and are plowing ahead with a plan to endorse a gubernatorial candidate from the pulpit.
Right-wing Web sites have been all atwitter about the Alliance Defense Fund's "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" that took place Sept. 27, hailing it as a bold exercise in nose-thumbing at the Internal Revenue Service.