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What do you think of Phill Kline’s use of churches for political fundraising?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on September 14, 2006

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Photo of Jim Connelly

“I’m a firm believer that there should be a separation between the church and politics, and I don’t think he’s been doing that.”

Photo of Alexis Rockers

“I think if what he said at the churches came from the heart, then it’s OK. If not, which is probably the case, then that’s the wrong way to go about it.”

Photo of Matthew Mustain

“It doesn’t seem right to me. That’s one of the reasons churches enjoy tax-exempt status. It seems like he’s crossing the line. Churches shouldn’t directly endorse a political candidate.”

Photo of Laura Ramberg

“I’m not surprised. I think politicians will use any means possible to raise money, but money does not make them right.”

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middleoftheroader 11 years, 9 months ago

I'd like to know how a "church" forms a political opinion anyway? and why would parishoners attend a "church" to hear a politician speak about politics anyway? and is the collection plate being passed around during his speech? when i donate money to a church,i like to think that money is going to fund either the church itself or to those who run it, not to those whom i believe are there for things other than their religious beliefs.

Kuku_Kansas 11 years, 9 months ago

"I'm a bit amazed at how well this man could preach," Keil said.

I'm not suprised at all. I consider Kline to be a religious zealot.

His politics reek of his personal religious bias, which is then forced upon every Kansas constituent.

Even scarier yet, he only has a job because Kansas voters allow this.

jonas 11 years, 9 months ago

I think it's definately bad, probably common, possibly unconstitutional, and never ethical. My sliding scale of political pandering at the expense of the purity of spirituality.

lunacydetector 11 years, 9 months ago

john kerry had churches endorsing him and introducing him from the pulpit all over the country. none of the libs thought it was bad and i don't recall the people for the separation of church and state making any statements at all. of course, the churches he had endorsing him weren't mainstream - but the endorsements he received and the way he received them were blatant - far worse and illegal. there is no comparison with john kerry's efforts and that of kline's.

ps. do all the bearded people hang out on massachusetts street? i hardly ever see bearded people out in the real world -places other than the downtown.

ksmattfish 11 years, 9 months ago

Politicians and preachers turning out to be snake oil salesmen isn't anything new. It sounds like business as usual to me.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 9 months ago

This is amusing to me, simply because it is a common occurrence for politicians to appear in churches in Michigan. Specifically, in Detroit. The bigger Detroit churches seem to be some of the most politically involved churches I've seen. And yet not much is said about it.

It is worth asking what other tax-exempt organizations host politicians.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 9 months ago

It's wrong on many levels. (Mixing politics and church, that is)

Hey, I happen to love a nice, well-groomed, close cropped, splendidly fingers run-throughable growth of facial hair on an attractive man. (And not all of them hang out on Mass Street!)

middleoftheroader 11 years, 9 months ago

hey didnt Jesus storm a temple in jerusalem and over turn the tables and drive out the "money-changers"? i think it's clear that his knowledge of what a "church" is for is quite different than what politicians and certain men-of-the-cloth think it's for today.

crohan1978 11 years, 9 months ago

You gotta love these idiots that use "Seperation of Church & State" as their crutch for an argument all the time, considering the Constitution says absolutely nothing regarding that statement. It says that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Did anyone have a problem w/ John Kerry visiting tons of churches during his campaign and turning them into political speeches? Just curious, cuz the libs are the kings of double standards, i.e. preaching tolerance yet have no tolerance for Christianity.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

I see history repeating its self and the worm will turn, baby, turn. Anybody heard of the Protestant Reformation inspired by the correuption of the Catholic Church? Or the French Revolution whose priviledge society ignored the needs of the common folk in a particularly egregious fashion? In the immortal words of Steven Tyler: EAT THE RICH!! THAT'S ABOUT THE ONLY THING THEY'RE GOOD FOR! EAT THE RICH . . . .

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 9 months ago

I don't even see this as newsworthy. This has been happening all along, among liberals/conservatives/dems/ republicans... EVERYONE does this. Every candidate asks "who are MY people?" then pursues those populations for support. If Ellen Degeneres was running for office and wrote a memo saying "Let's try to recruit at a gay/lesbian pride rally" would that be a shock to anyone?

I don't see what all the fuss is about.

remember_username 11 years, 9 months ago

Both liberal and conservative politicians use churches to generate support for their campaigns nothing is new here. Churches frequently provide their facilities for meetings or support groups with little to no charge and have the right to provide those facilities to anyone they want. Unless you are a member of that church you shouldn't care who they invite to speak there. If I were to insist some church can't invite a politician who personally offends me then I would be violating those people's constitutional rights. I'm not even sure why taking up a separate collection for that politician's campaign is against the law what do I really care. It's been a while since I've been to a church nobody forces you to put money in the basket do they? Does it really matter if the tax-exempt, non-profit organization is the Sierra Club, the NRA, or the Floppy-eared Beagle Breeders of Atlantis?

Everyone is missing the key theme of the memo and we should all be thinking about that instead. Look at how much effort goes into winning an election. No rest, no gaps, only working lunches, on the phone when not in public:media and money, media and money, media and money. Why? This American democracy is the most inefficient in the democratic world; the American voter is ridiculously expensive. A campaign can throw money and face time at the voters for a year in advance and only 35% of them will take the 30 minutes this year to vote. Check out voter turnout in the rest of the democratic world. Try the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance out of Sweden for a start.

It's almost funny how we get cynical or offended when a campaign "blurs the line" when raising money that's not politics that's just us, the American voter.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 9 months ago

OldEnuf is correct: this is not new.

From "On Sunday, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry will campaign for Granholm at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit church..."

Please remember that Detroit votes overwhelmingly Democrat, so the candidates most likely to find an audience in Detroit are the Democrat candidates. I am not picking on Kerry; I know full well that both parties engage in such tactics. I just wanted to support the statement that Kline is not doing anything different from what many politicians have done and still do.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

Yo, Mr. Jim Crow-han, shewee, you really need to get that cranial rectal inversion taken care of. Christianity is the overwhelming brand of choice when it comes to religion in this country and if 49% voted for Kerry then a butt load of those people would have to be Christian. So you are completely full of it.

At least John Kerry talked issues. Bush visited Bob Jones University and the extremest of churches. Now he's in bed, if you will, with the guys that run the mega churches. That one guy, and this one says he's talking to W on the phone everyday and telling him what he needs to be doing with policy, the one with the constant smile and the funny eyes - you can't trust anyone who won't look at you - and has made promises that indicate W would defying those words you quote above if he had half a chance.

Bone777 11 years, 9 months ago

Steven Tyler must be looking to get eaten. Talk about rich!!!

Politicians know that if you are willing to get out of bed most Sunday mornings, you are more than likely to make it to the polls.

The liberals like to cry about separation of church and state, but I don't see them rebuking their money because it says "In God We Trust."

craigers 11 years, 9 months ago

Azure, there is a difference between Christians and those that check the box "Christian" when asked about their religious affiliation. The acceptance and tolerance for those that firmly stand on the doctrine of the Word of God are severly not tolerated. I don't want to start an argument but there is a difference.

Religion and politics will always mix no matter what people think should be separate. We all vote our morals and conscience by voting for the candidate that most represents what we stand for.

I don't see a problem with Kline showing up to churches for a fundraiser, or any other politician. I'm with blue on this and it is no different than catering to other special interest groups.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

I could be wrong, but last I knew LesBiGay organizations did not enjoy tax exempt status.

The McCarthy era schmucks seemed oblivious to the fact that our country did just fine for 150 years with out "In God We Trust" and "Under God" in The Pledge.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 9 months ago

Prospector, perhaps your parents did not pay enough school fees in your youth.

Azure, most politicians are in bed with somebody. That also is nothing new.

ToriFreak13 11 years, 9 months ago

Tax exempt status??? Seperation of church and state???? Amazing how the ignorant become geniuses when it comes to factless opinions. I'm sure the church members were aware of the "speaker of the day" therefore giving them an opportunity to go or not. Back when this country still had an open mind......almost all public announcements were made in a church. Where else would you be able to confront that group of citizens? Does that make him a christian for speaking in a church? If he is a christian, is that against the constitution? So your answers to one of the silliest "On the street" questions I have seen are nothing but stabs at politicians and the church. lol Go donate time to your opinions and causes.....because you are getting nowhere here. lol

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

Sure they are in bed witrh someone, but are the others enjoying the kind of tax exemt status the churches are.

Criagers, the religious right weren't trying to legislate their morals, those opposed would not make so much noise about it. And they are far ore intollerant of others than the people opposed to them.

I've said it before: resistance is not oppression.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 9 months ago

Also, azure, there are lots of gay activist organizations that have 501(c)3 status. For example: Look at the bottom of the page.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

And Al Gore was going to make sure all the little school children were chanting, "Nam Yo Ho Ren Gay Kyo," Sure, right.

ToriFreak13 11 years, 9 months ago

Posted by sgtwolverine (anonymous) on September 14, 2006 at 10:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"""Also, azure, there are lots of gay activist organizations that have 501(c)3 status. For example: Look at the bottom of the page."""

Now THAT'S a REAL topic for discussion. How does sexual orientation constitute tax breaks? or eligibility for college scholarships? or specific grants from the government of all places? lol So can a group of people decide to only have sex with blonde hair and blue eyed patrons of the opposite sex and get the same rights? We are a nation about equal rights??? right? lol Can they make their own flag and have parades expressing their sexuality? Hey animals have rights? What if our animals want the right to their sexual orientation? lol
btw I prefer brunettes so try not to assume...thanks. lol

muffaletta 11 years, 9 months ago

It's true that all politicians use churches for this kind of thing. But Phill Kline just SUCKS!

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

OK, Sarge, so they are a civil rights organization.

Teapot9 11 years, 9 months ago

I am a firm believer that we should overthrow muslim countries and kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. What Phil Kline is doing is nobodys business!! KEEP YOUR LAWS OFF HIS BODY!!! HE AINT NO UNCLE TOM!!!

Have a good weekend. Headin to Toledo tonight.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 9 months ago

The point, Azure, was to address this:

"I could be wrong, but last I knew LesBiGay organizations did not enjoy tax exempt status."

An extraordinary variety of organizations enjoy tax exempt status.

ms_canada 11 years, 9 months ago

Just how separate do church and state have to be? Does that mean that all people who attend a church have no right to be interested in what their government does? Yeh, I do know what it means. Just being facetious. But, seriously, about this Phill guy preaching in church on a Sunday. Fine by me, but not if he combines it with fund-raising. Fund-raising in a church building would be fine with me on any other day or evening at a clearly political meeting. As someone above has said, many churches let the use of their building to other groups. Alcoholics Anon., Weight Watchers, etc. But in my mind, not in the sanctuary, please. Use the basement auditorium or the hall, if there is one. Now about church and state. Church people care just as much as anyone what the government does. Maybe more than the average person. And church people need to know the values of the would be politicians and what better place to hear the speeches than in their own building.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 9 months ago

Ms_C, that was well said...and it's good to see you!

craigers 11 years, 9 months ago

Azure, we will just have to agree to disagree. I guess it is all from your point of view. The grass is always greener on the other side.

Bone777 11 years, 9 months ago

Mass St. is teaming with liberals. Two artist, a hairy student and a low wage "cook". When she starts referring to herself as a Chef is when she'll develop conservative views.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

Point taken, Sarge. Kline wants to get in the pulpits and that is not appropriate.

Craigers, yeah, but some still has to mow the lawn.

ms_canada 11 years, 9 months ago

prospector - thanx for the kind words. I do speak my mind, don't I? Always have,always will. Gets me in hot water at times. Now about boring. I would have to say that those attending my church do most certainly not find it boring. We have a lot of fun. I must say, though, that those fellows you mentioned, the TV evangelists do scare me and do give the rest of us a bad name. I have no knowledge of this Phill guy, but he does seem to tick several people off. Sounds scarey to me. It is true, also, that the church over millennia has done some reprehensible things, but the thing that is important for me (and all) to remember is that in anyones life the relationship you have with God is what counts in the end.

beatrice 11 years, 9 months ago

I wonder if Al Sharpton, the Reverend Al Sharpton, ever spoke to a church gathering? I know us Dems have never gotten up in arms over it. So why question this?

I don't like Kline, but he does have a right to speak to groups of all types of people, including church-goers. The church-goer also has the right to get up and walk out if he or she chooses. I'm with those who are saying much ado -- but I still think Kline is evil.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 9 months ago

Azure, I am definitely in full agreement. Even though IRS rules allow for public officers to speak in churches (and for other non-profits) as an office holder and not someone campaigning, it's just too hard to separate the two when an election is approaching.

I hope Kline doesn't try to fundraise at a KU football game -- there won't be many babies to hold for endearing pictures.

Teapot9 11 years, 9 months ago

anyone that actually takes my posts seriously is a retard. i just like getting you hippies that havent got jobs something to write about. in fact im doing you people a service. no need to thank the Teapot

sgtwolverine 11 years, 9 months ago

So ... should we take that one seriously?

Bone777 11 years, 9 months ago

Beatrice-great point.

Don't forget the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Al Sharpton and Jesse have both tried to use the church to push their agendas. That might be the best example, yet.

beatrice 11 years, 9 months ago

What? Teapot isn't to be taken seriously?! I'm shocked! (Does this also count for his boyfriend Bone777?)

sunflower_sue 11 years, 9 months ago

Maybe they'll go home when the street lights come on.

Bone777 11 years, 9 months ago

Sarcasm. Oh really? I had no idea. Thanks, Azzure_Atitude

lubyloo 11 years, 9 months ago

Can't you just feel the love on this board?

Bone777 11 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

beatrice 11 years, 9 months ago

RI: I'm in Phoenix. We don't believe in daylight savings here.

Bone777 11 years, 9 months ago

I just received my first "removal for violation of use policy", so I decided I better read it.

I think I was guilty of engaging in ad hominem attacks on fellow commenters, as stated by the 'Use Policy.'

I am sorry to Beatrice and anyone else I might have offended. I just come here to get some things off of my chest and to get an English lesson from time to time. From now on only nicey nice. NOT!!!!

ms_canada 11 years, 9 months ago

Prospector - Ahhhh - the Oilers. I am a hockey fan but only when it comes to whichever team my grandson plays on. So far this year he is still with the Seattle Thunderbirds, but he is 20 yrs old and the WHL teams are only allowed 3 20's and they have 6. So someone will be cut. Hope he is not one of them as I would dearly love to go down to Seattle and catch a couple of games in Oct. Don't know about the Oilers. I guess we will see.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 9 months ago

RI, I'll put a 20 in the plate for the astro-turf. It'll make the copperheads easier to spot.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 9 months ago

"Remember, this is a non-profit entity, and as such your check would be a deductible expense."

Yeah -- deductible from your checking account!

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

Ah, Boner, by your demonstration I see that you DO know what sarcasm is. Do you ever get tired of playing dumb? For you a constant process from what I can tell.

Teapot9 11 years, 9 months ago

Why is everyone so racialist on here? I understand that I is a minority but I dont see what that has to do with my comments. Me isnt a uncle tom.

Kontum1972 11 years, 9 months ago

there should be a separation of phil kline and the State of Kansas...permanently...go up to DC and become Roves other puppet...btw ...get a real job...!

beatrice 11 years, 9 months ago

RI: I believe I will hold onto my money, thank you very much.

Bone: Don't be nice on my account. If it isn't in your nature, it just isn't in your nature. Be a "bone" all the time, if you so choose, if a "bone" is what you are. From what I can tell, it fits.

The only thing I ask of you is this: please, don't write something and then follow it with "Not!" That is so done. (Of course, I may be out of the loop and "Wayne's World" actually is making a comeback.) Have the conviction to write what you mean, and to stand behind what you write.

Bone777 11 years, 9 months ago

Beatrice - I reiterate what I said about your sixties heritage and your specialness.

I will not, oops, I used that 'not' word that gets you all worked up. I won't change my ways, trying to be nice. I will follow my nature and be the Bone I am. I appreciate your concern, and I think I might start appreciating your post a little more. NOT!!!!!

Bone777 11 years, 9 months ago

Azzure_Atitude - regarding your question... Nope.

ms_canada 11 years, 9 months ago

prospector - so you were wondering about the Eskimos football team? Don't feel bad, I get them mixed up all the time and I live here and can see the stadium from my front windows. My husband thinks I am a real dough head. I guess I am.

ksmoderate 11 years, 9 months ago


Nice use of the idea vs. belief situation from "Dogma!"

beatrice 11 years, 9 months ago

Bone: You have simply gone over the top this time. Four exclamation points would have been sufficient. That fifth one, however -- over the top! It just weakens your whole argument.

Bone777 11 years, 9 months ago

Beatrice - I just wanted to see if I could get you to get close enough to the screen to actually count those.

Ha, it worked.

oldfashiongirl 11 years, 9 months ago


You stated "as long as it is from the heart, then it is OK.." but I disagree wth that, as Mr. Kline said in his note to his staff "Goal is to walk away with contact information, money and volunteers and a committe in each church." I have no doubt that he had a heart full of desire that that be accomplished.

Years ago in Virginia, our pastor allowed a Republican politician to address the congregation, so I called the pastor and asked if he was giving equal time to the Democratic candidate and he said he was not, so I never set foot in that church again. This was about 3 weeks before the election and they were handing out little "voter-guide cards" issued by the Republican National Committee wherein they marked the position of each of the candidates, always checking "yes" for the Republican and "no" for the Democrat on questions that that were designed to favor the Rep. candidate. I say if it looks like a politician, acts like a politician and quacks like a politician, it is a politician.

I am the chairman of the church's tellers group that counts all the money and I have never seen one cent designated for a politician--we wouldn't accept it anyway.

November elections are not far off and you still have time to register to vote. In Kentucky you go to the county court clerk's office with some identification and a document that shows your name and address like a utility bill. Don't think your one vote doesn't count, for it does. You could oust your entire concilmen and put in a new bunch. We did that in a May primary where those who voted for liquor being served on Sundays, were all replaced. Now do your duty and vote!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 9 months ago

I believe that pizza and a margarita are good compliments to "Survivor night" at sue's house. On that note, let's change the subject. I'm interested (being a self-proclaimed Survivor junkie) as to what others think (if anything) about the division by race.

RI, many songs are about believing but very few (none that I can think of but I'm sure there's at least one) talk of ideas. Belief makes better lyrics.

beatrice 11 years, 9 months ago

Sue, do you think it will really be any different than previous seasons? I don't. In the end it will still come down to who is best able to navigate the social and physical demands of the game. I have heard that white separatists are over-joyed with the idea, which sucks. I hate that anything can be done that makes them happy. It is a cheap ploy for ratings, no doubt, but hopefully will show that, in the end, people are people no matter the race. Once the tribes join, all will work itself out as it always does. (Not that I watch the show -- I am far too much of a sophisticated snob to enjoy such mindless junk meant for the masses. No way. Not me. Heck, I don't even own a tv. Honest. And I never lie, either.)

It is just too bad that the whites are given the unfair advantage of their average age being 27.5 years, and all other groups average 48 years old and two disabilities. (Okay, not really.) Enjoy. oh we oh we oh we oh we oh we ahh

sunflower_sue 11 years, 9 months ago

RI, I believe we can negotiate. Reciprocity my friend.

Bea, where else do you get the chance to see a bunch of people who are bound to disagree about everything and yet they are bound to each other...Oh, wait...I think I'm describing the OTS. Actually, during the summer months, TV is not on. But, as soon as the new season begins, I do enjoy Thursday and Sunday evenings. (My winter vice.)

I, too, am hoping it will show that race has no bearing on the outcome.

beatrice 11 years, 9 months ago

Thursdays and Sundays -- I'm with you there. It seems to be the only regular time the tube is on at our place, too. And now that Deadwood and Entourage are over, Sunday is done for a while. As far as people disagreeing on everything yet are still bound to each other -- I call them "family."

lubyloo 11 years, 9 months ago

Actually, we prefer "democrits" not "hypocrats." Get it right.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 9 months ago

Yo Bone, in response to your respeonse to my question . . . . I am happy for you that you've got the energy to keep that up.

LiberalDude 11 years, 9 months ago

Phil Kline = Fred Phelps

Any questions?

badger 11 years, 9 months ago

Bowhunter -

What's the last office Jesse Jackson took a serious run at again?

On Kline:

I wouldn't mind if he was speaking at churches outside of the service, but actually addressing the congregation? That seems like it'd make it impossible to get your weekly dose of Jesus without a healthy helping of politics, and that bugs me a tad. Folks ought to be able to get their Jesus on without that sort of nonsense. I'm all in favor of being able to get one's Bible business attended to without secular matters intruding.

Cause that's what politics is. The most secular of secular matters. Doesn't belong in the church. Regardless of separation of church and state from the point of good government, it's disrespectful to sacred space to even give it the hint of being the playing ground for a political campaign. In the name of decency and respect for church traditions, folks running for office (yes, John Kerry included) need to stay out of the service and not be blurring the lines between sermon and face-time with an audience that came to the place for spiritual guidance.

I've never held with preachers who bring secular matters into the pulpit so blatantly, be it sermons endorsing candidates or 'guest speakers' running for contested offices scoring some free public visibility. It's fine with me, for example, if they want to preach on the moral dangers of abortion, homosexuality, or divorce. The line I take issue with them crossing is the one between preaching against abortion, and preaching against voting for candidates who aren't against abortion.

Lot of people seem to forget that the Founding Fathers didn't just talk about separating church and state for state's benefit.

ToriFreak13 11 years, 9 months ago

Just wait until christians figure out they can use abortion to eliminate their arch enemies.....all they have to do is invest in the research to find the genes that make people this way right? lol.......then again they are too forgiving and accepting of all people they would rather serve up the great land their morals and values built brick by brick on a silver platter to the very scoundrels that have been stealing bricks lol....typical christians.

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