Archive for Thursday, September 21, 2006

Political use of churches blasted

September 21, 2006

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— Atty. Gen. Phill Kline's "church efforts" memo has in part prompted a national religious organization Wednesday to tell candidates to stop using churches for campaign purposes.

The Interfaith Alliance warned Republican and Democratic party leaders that candidates luring religious organizations into their campaigns was "dangerous legal territory."

"Congregations look to their religious leaders for guidance - spiritual, moral and otherwise - not manipulation on behalf of political organizations with a partisan agenda," said C. Welton Gaddy, alliance president and a pastor at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, La.

Kline's campaign said he has done nothing wrong.

"When the attorney general has gone to churches, he doesn't talk politics," said Sherriene Jones, Kline's spokeswoman.

Kline faces Democrat Paul Morrison, the Johnson County district attorney, in the Nov. 7 election.

Leaders warned

The Interfaith Alliance letter was sent to national Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman and Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean.

The Interfaith Alliance said it issued the warning because of two incidents. One was Kline's campaign memo in which he targeted pastors to raise campaign funds. The other was a campaign commercial that was filmed in a church for U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., a Democrat from Tennessee who is running for Senate.

The Washington, D.C.-based Interfaith Alliance has more than 185,000 members representing 75 faith-based groups. It is a bipartisan group whose goal is "challenging those who manipulate religion to promote a narrow, divisive agenda."

Politics and pulpits

The group said candidates should refrain from speaking in churches, using houses of worship for campaign backdrops and stop organizing congregants inside a church to distribute campaign material.

In an Aug. 8 memo, Kline wrote about speaking at churches and getting pastors to line up "money people" for campaign contributions. He also directed his campaign staff to organize volunteers in churches.

"Goal is to walk away with contact information, money and volunteers and a committee in each church," he wrote.

But his spokeswoman, Jones, said Kline has done nothing unethical.

"He makes sure that pastors who do want to get involved understand what the law allows them to do," she said.

IRS laws say that in order for religious organizations to maintain their tax-free status they should stay away from endorsing candidates or raising money for them.

The Interfaith Alliance said religious leaders should encourage worshippers to cast informed votes, but added "when candidates and their supporters use the language of faith to advance partisan interests, or when they seek to emphasize their beliefs as the only truth, Americans and our houses of worship become deeply divided."

Comments

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 7 months ago

Churches should have the right just as eveyone else to engage in political acts. If they choose to do so, they should lose their tax-exempt status and register as a political action committee.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 7 months ago

I visited the Interfaith Alliance's website and nearly threw up my breakfast. It's disgusting.

Nearly every value American families hold is opposed by this group.

Kodiac 8 years, 7 months ago

Hey STRS,

I read your message and nearly threw up MY breakfast. It's disgusting.

I suggest you speak for yourself and not push your own ideas of what values that "all other American families" hold.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 7 months ago

Kodiac and Holygrailale, You both misquoted me.

And Kodiac, I suppose that if I shared your values you wouldn't tell me to "speak for yourself and not push your own ideas. . ." After all, we all push our own ideas. It's making a case for ideas that, in part, has made this country great.

BigDog 8 years, 7 months ago

I guess that is what writers do when you have no story ..... you try to create one. Most people around the state of Kansas could care less about this.

Move on .... Nothing to see here

Raider 8 years, 7 months ago

Kline is not the one who is tax-exempt. The complaint must be filed against the individual church that allows him to come in and "testify". The church should lose their tax-exempt status for this.

coldandhot 8 years, 7 months ago

Well, it looks like Rothschild has nothing else to write again. I can't believe the Journal World keeps this guy around. Also, it looks like xenophonschild has nothing better to do. Xeno is probably related to rothschild.

I am looking forward to Kline serving another 4 years.

xenophonschild 8 years, 7 months ago

We need to nip this Kansas version of Savonarola in the bud.

I filed a complaint with the IRS against Kline - www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f3949a.pdf - and encourage those opposed to religious tyranny to do likewise.

Sacerdotal 8 years, 7 months ago

Is influence peddling by conservative Christians a part of what every American family believes in???

Sure, as long as it's the version of 'conservative' Christianity with which one agrees. Ah, now that's the rub, isn't it? Pray in church; learn in school and vote at the ballot box, but be careful what you wish for.......

kef104 8 years, 7 months ago

If one really wants to "set the record straight" perhaps they would quote facts, not emotionally charged derogatory statements, and provide a resource. Did you even visit the Interfaith Alliance's web site?

For those who wish to visit the site and decide for yourselves here is the link I found via google: http://www.interfaithalliance.org.

staff04 8 years, 7 months ago

STRS-

Just for giggles, which website is more credible, in your opinion?

The Interfaith Alliance, or retroactiveimpeachment dot com?

Terry Jacobsen 8 years, 7 months ago

I have no problem with the job Phil Kline has done and I would love for him to come to my church and talk about his faith and life experiences. It might let me know more about him as a real person and whether I want to vote for him or not.

Porter 8 years, 6 months ago

Conservativeman- I think the silence is from everyone trying to figure out why you're comparing apples and oranges.

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