Pray And Maybe the IRS Will Go Away

|

One of the big electoral developments of the last four years has been the Republican Party's strengthening alliance with white churches; a careful, "you-scratch-my-back" campaign even more sophisticated than what Democrats have long enjoyed in black churches. They're starting to get investigated for it.

The complaint by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonpartisan legal watchdog organization, cited a memorandum from the attorney general, Phill Kline, a Republican, directing members of his campaign staff to recruit churches to distribute campaign literature and serve as the sites for events.

In his memorandum, Mr. Kline identified two Topeka churches, the Light of the World Christian Center and the Wanamaker Woods Church of the Nazarene, which he said had participated in "lit drops" by handing out campaign literature. A woman who answered the telephone at Wanamaker Woods Church said the church had no comment.

Kline is the fundamentalist known warmly in the blogosphere as "the panty sniffer" for his obsession with childrens' sex lives.

In other coordinated campaigning news, one of the radio hosts courted by the White House last week dishes a little to the Des Moines Register.

NEXT: "A Stunning Roundhouse Kick to the Separation of Church and State"

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. A better idea would be to simply tax churches like any other business and then they could promote whatever political candidates they wanted.

  2. Dan T.:

    you beat me to it. my sentiments exactly.

  3. I’ve got to agree with Dan T. on this one.

  4. So if you have tax exempt status you aren’t permitted a political opinion?

  5. Uh huh, and that will happen just after we swear in our first atheist president, around the year 2357 I figure.

  6. Bgallagher: Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I believe tax exempt status precludes you from campaigning for a candidate. Can anyone out there help me on this?

  7. I agree with Dan T. Tax churches and then we wouldn’t have to worry about this stuff. As a religious person, I think churches would be better off paying taxes like everyone else and being free from this kind of government interference. Let the Churches say what they believe and the people decide if or which ones they want to support.

    One question for Weigal. You say that Republicans have “a careful, “you-scratch-my-back” campaign even more sophisticated than what Democrats have long enjoyed in black churches.” and then go on to do a happy dance over them being investigated for it. Do you have any problem with the Dems’ relationship to black churches and if so why didn’t you make that point and wonder why they have never been investigated? Or, are you just a partisan hack who thinks that only Republicans should be held to any standard of behavior?

  8. John,

    Dan W. is just burnishing his resume at Reason Magazine until The Nation calls 🙂

    (I’m being semi-serious)

  9. this could be fun. don’t forget to tax charities and foundations too. and NPR and PBS.

  10. dan might have posted in that manner because repubs have sniveled & whined about the Dim/black church relationship for decades.
    The power to tax is, obviously the power to destroy. Being as hostile as I am to the notions of organized religeon- while not being hostile to believers as such- taxing church property on a par with residential or commercial property will probably cost small congregations thier churches.
    I wouldnt want to see that happen- dont ask me why.
    Clearly, Dims over time have benefitted from the sympathies of Black folk, sympathies undeserved since say, the 60’s. Did the Dim party USE those preachers to the extent the crackpot right has used these crackpot fundies?
    I think not.
    So, I think Davids presenting has more to do with reality than some dark plot, John…..

  11. To paraphrase…

    One question for John… Do you have any problem with the Republicans’ use of churches and if so why didn’t you make that point clear and wonder why they are only now being investigated? Or, are you just a partisan hack who thinks that only Democrats should be held to any standard of behavior?

    And John, I’d love to see your response to my most recent post over on the “Gay Marriage, or Something Like It” thread.

  12. this could be fun. don’t forget to tax charities and foundations too. and NPR and PBS.

    The Red Cross. Meals on Wheels. Battered Women’s Shelters. Hospice. Soup Kitchens.

    See, I wouldn’t want charitable organizations to find it one iota harder to do their work, ever. I don’t want my post-tax contributions to be further taxed before they are used to buy food and shelter for the mentally ill.

    Churches, however, meh. Maybe just the megachurches, with revenues in the millions and jillions of dollars, that put one in mind of MLM and self-help empires, could be taxed.

  13. Dan T.,

    What about churches that don’t want to muck about in politics?

    Do you really want to take money out of their food pantries and candle funds?

    IIRC, churches and other nonprofits can engage in politics, just not in partisan politics or campaign politics. Reverand Stopthat can preach to heart’s content about how our society needs to outlaw abotion; he just can’t say “so vote for Bush, and in favor of Question Four.”

  14. joe,
    Is it OK when the Rev. Jesse Jackson does it?

  15. NoStar,

    Not if hu uses church funds. If he’s on his own, however, I see no problem.

    Being a clergyman does not deprive you of your civil rights as an individual.

  16. Thanks joe. I knew someone would clarify that.

  17. ” To paraphrase…”
    thank you, rob….that was needed….

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.