Bush/Cheney campaign and church lists ...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/...eut/index.html



What are they playing at now? This might be not only violating the separation of the church with state matters but it's getting church leaders fuming. I wonder if this scheme may even be counterproductive to Bush's efforts...so far, its only made people angry!



Thoughts?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    tmptmp Posts: 601member
    Well, if they want to endanger individual churches status as tax-exempt institutions, this is a great way to do it.
  • Reply 2 of 19
    sal 9000sal 9000 Posts: 10member
    Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is looking into this and warning churches.



    John Ascroft (head of the Dept. of "Justice") was fined by the FEC for behavior very similar to this. It would be a slam dunk if any church was stupid enough to send its mailing list to the Bush team.
  • Reply 3 of 19
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    How can this possible violate the "separation of Church and State"? One of you brain trusts noodle out for me. Work out the logic, or illogic.
  • Reply 4 of 19
    formerlurkerformerlurker Posts: 2,686member
    Honestly, Scott... how can it possibly NOT violate the separation? Please reason that one out for me.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,780member
    The separation of church and state means that the government is not allowed to show favoritism to any one religion.



    It's always amusing to watch people who rail about civil rights violations at Guantanamo and the Patriot Act, and then somehow work around to the idea that Christians who disagree with their politics should not be allowed to organize politically.



    And any idiot who is even mildly familiar with the religious world knows that "church lists" are big business. Religious product suppliers, concert promoters and many others buy and sell lists just like any of other side of daily commerce.



    The idea that these lists are somehow "sacred" is usually only raised by wacky liberals who don't even attend church.



    And, just to finish my say, no church with any sense pays any attention to AU anymore. They don't even pretend to be standing up for real principles. It's funny how they're always going after those on the right or Evangelical side of the church aisle, while the religious left gets off with a slap on the wrist.



    If Separation means right-wingers can't lobby against, say, condom distribution, wouldn't it also mean the Left shouldn't be able to argue for it?



    In a truly secular state, church lists would be treated the same as union lists or any other kind of membership organization list. The only reason to say otherwise is to try and suppress the voting numbers of conservative Christians, while simultaneously ensuring voting drives at "liberal-friendly" venues - like the MTV movie awards.



    In other words, blatant hypocrisy.
  • Reply 6 of 19
    formerlurkerformerlurker Posts: 2,686member
    Suppose the pastor of a church organizes (or even participates in) a voter registration drive. Now you've got an employee of a tax-free organization, with a partisan participation in the electoral process.
  • Reply 7 of 19
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,780member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by FormerLurker

    Suppose the pastor of a church organizes (or even participates in) a voter registration drive. Now you've got an employee of a tax-free organization, with a partisan participation in the electoral process.



    Honestly, the only thing I have a problem with is an official declaration from the pulpit of who members should vote for.



    Pastors, like union leaders, civic leaders and others, should be allowed to say who they will be voting for. Last time I checked, we all still voted by secret ballot. Everyone should be free to express an opinion.



    I could be wrong about this, but aren't churches allowed to do voter registration drives now? They're non-partisan and encouraging participation in the democratic process is commendable.



    (I'm really not sure - in Canada we don't need to register so these "drives" aren't familiar to me.)
  • Reply 8 of 19
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by FormerLurker

    Suppose the pastor of a church organizes (or even participates in) a voter registration drive. Now you've got an employee of a tax-free organization, with a partisan participation in the electoral process.



    Suppose the leader of a far left civil rights group organizes (or even participates in) a voter registration drive. Now you've got an employee of a tax-free organization, with a partisan participation in the electoral process.





    Kind of reads differently when you apply the same notion in a different way.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    andersanders Posts: 6,523member
    This is not a state vs religion question. This is a question about my name and adress handed to a party to which I would never want to have it. My registration at an organisation should never end up at the table of a party and it has very little to do with the fact that the organisation in question is a church.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,937member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by FormerLurker

    Honestly, Scott... how can it possibly NOT violate the separation? Please reason that one out for me.



    Because it.....doesn't.
  • Reply 11 of 19
    sal 9000sal 9000 Posts: 10member
    What is it about this that is so hard for right wingers to grasp? It's so simple.



    It has nothing to do with separation of church and state. It has to do with tax law. If the church gives the Bush campaign its membership list, that is the equivalent of a cash donation (per court decision in the Ashcroft case). That is partisan and violates the terms of their tax exempt status,



    Churches (and other nonprofits like food banks) can hold voter registration drives, debates, etc., as long as they don't endorse a specific candidate or give organization money to a candidate. If you actually read the Washington Post article, it's clear that that is exactly what the Bush campaign has asked churches to do.
  • Reply 12 of 19
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,454member
    Here is some more evil church-state non-seperation all the outraged leftists can pursue.



    Kerry Speaks at Church



    Quote:

    Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is scheduled to be in Indianapolis July 6 to address the worldwide convention of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, say church officials.



    Let's take the take away the tax-exempt status of the entire denomination since he spoke to all the officials at their convention!



    I'm sure all those on the left half of the political spectrum now support removing the tax-exempt status of the entire AME church.



    Nick
  • Reply 13 of 19
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,454member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Sal 9000

    What is it about this that is so hard for right wingers to grasp? It's so simple.



    It has nothing to do with separation of church and state. It has to do with tax law. If the church gives the Bush campaign its membership list, that is the equivalent of a cash donation (per court decision in the Ashcroft case). That is partisan and violates the terms of their tax exempt status,



    Churches (and other nonprofits like food banks) can hold voter registration drives, debates, etc., as long as they don't endorse a specific candidate or give organization money to a candidate. If you actually read the Washington Post article, it's clear that that is exactly what the Bush campaign has asked churches to do.




    Actually my read on your article is quite different. It didn't claim a church owned this lists. It claimed Ashcroft did. Ashcroft had one organization, a PAC that rented the lists out for sums of money. It then took this money and gave it to his campaign. Since he owned the lists, the money transfer should have been exempt. However it appears that Ashcroft did not have enough proof of prior ownership.



    Quote:

    During the two-year FEC inquiry, Ashcroft committee lawyers described the then-senator as owner of the PAC mailing list, which would have exempted the fund transfers from any limitations. However, the FEC last year rejected that assertion because Ashcroft did not disclose his ownership or the rental income in his 1998 and 1999 Senate financial disclosures. He has also not listed the mailing list as an asset in his required filings as attorney general.



    As a result the monies raised from the renting of those lists became an illegal donation, from himself to himself.



    Try again.



    Nick
  • Reply 14 of 19
    sal 9000sal 9000 Posts: 10member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    Ashcroft had one organization, a PAC that rented the lists out for sums of money. It then took this money and gave it to his campaign. [...] As a result the monies raised from the renting of those lists became an illegal donation, from himself to himself.



    I'm talking about the CNN article (the story was originally broken by the Washington Post).



    Quote:

    President Bush, seeking to mobilize religious conservatives for his reelection campaign, has asked church-going volunteers to turn over church membership directories, campaign officials said on Thursday.



    In a move sharply criticized both by religious leaders and civil libertarians, the Bush-Cheney campaign has issued a guide listing about two-dozen "duties" and a series of deadlines for organizing support among conservative church congregations.



    A mailing list has value, both monetary and otherwise, and would constitute partisan political activity. Bush is actually asking churches to violate tax law!
  • Reply 15 of 19
    playmakerplaymaker Posts: 511member
    I was raised Catholic, and while I may not attend Church more than once a year anymore, I can assure you that the Church officials, priests, decons and anyone with the microphone in front of them use the opportunity to discuss political agendas and constantly speak out against political figures who are pro-choice. Ironically it used to be common to hear priests in the area discuss the sin of homosexuality and how it is a weakness etc. but over time as societys values have changed its rarely ever mentioned any more.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    sal 9000sal 9000 Posts: 10member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Playmaker

    I can assure you that the Church officials, priests, decons and anyone with the microphone in front of them use the opportunity to discuss political agendas and constantly speak out against political figures who are pro-choice.



    As I understand it, they can say "don't vote for a pro-choice candidate" but they can't say "vote for Bush." It can be a fine line, but of course the line was drawn by lawyers.



    BTW the Catholic church is in the news, too, with one bishop saying priests shouldn't give communion to pro-choice parishoners and a cardinal saying that was wrong. And now the vatican says it's OK to vote for pro-choice candidates as long as your vote is based on all the issues and not just that one issue.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    formerlurkerformerlurker Posts: 2,686member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Playmaker

    Ironically it used to be common to hear priests in the area discuss the sin of homosexuality and how it is a weakness etc. but over time as societys values have changed its rarely ever mentioned any more.



    Not to get off-topic or anything, but you think there might be something else making priests suddenly reluctant to attack homosexuality? \
  • Reply 18 of 19
    gizzmonicgizzmonic Posts: 511member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Scott

    Suppose the leader of a far left civil rights group organizes (or even participates in) a voter registration drive. Now you've got an employee of a tax-free organization, with a partisan participation in the electoral process.





    Kind of reads differently when you apply the same notion in a different way.






    Nonprofits must not engage in active campaigning for a candidate, or they risk losing tax-exempt status. That would be your "far left civil rights group" (which would probably be IRS section 501(c)3 exemptions) as well as churches. You're barking up the wrong tree with the separation of church and state. It's tax law you should be thinking about.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,780member
    Funny, it was the first post in the thread that decided the issue was the separation of church and state....
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