October 31, 2004
Kerry Stumping In Church - Again
I want to see the transcript of this service. Any pastor giving the pulpit to a political candidate (to toute there own election) for a Sunday service should be removed. This is beyond what the gospel is about and also is a clear violation of their tax-exempt status. Sunday service (or Saturday night in some cases) is a time to proclaim Christ not Kerry or Bush.
Posted by Tim at October 31, 2004 09:42 AM
Tim, I pulled this from the New York State Society of CPAs website: http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2004/804/infocus/p20.htm
"Politicians at churches---Exempt status is not jeopardized when candidates speak at nonpartisan forums held in church facilities, as long as all candidates are invited to speak."
For a more conservative religious political edge, worldnetdaily.com
seems to agree: "...Churches may invite candidates to speak to the congregation during an election, as long as all candidates are afforded an equal opportunity to speak, according to the guidelines...."
So when you say, "...This is beyond what the gospel is about and also is a clear violation of their tax-exempt status...." I'm not sure it's clear this is a violation. If this particular church denies a speaking chance to President Bush, then there appears to be a violation based on my quick review. Admittedly probably the loudest voices this year have been liberal groups complaining about Bush's connections to evangelical Christian churches.
Your point that this kind of politics is beyond what the gospel is about is another issue unclear to me. Is it wrong for many conservative Catholic leaders to argue it's immoral to vote for John Kerry because of his abortion stand? I don't have a problem with that, even as a Kerry supporter. I know that's not the same as Kerry or Bush speaking in a church, which I believe is your point. But I personally feel the role of the Church is to take a moral stand on societal issues, and politics and society are intertwined.
Good issue and I'd be interested in what role you feel your church should have in discussing political and social issues.