Republicans in Congress are keeping up their attempts to shred the Constitutional principle of the separation of church and state. The Interfaith Alliance reports:
(Washington, D.C.) Today Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), in an election-year appeal to the Religious Right, introduced a bill that would compromise the sanctity of religion. The bill, S. 3957, would amend the IRS Code to allow houses of worship to endorse candidates from the pulpit and engage in partisan political activity without harming their tax-exempt status.
“Senator Inhofe wants to turn houses of worship into political convention halls,” said Interfaith Alliance President, the Reverend Welton Gaddy. “This bill would allow politicians to exploit the moral authority of the pulpit to advance a partisan agenda. When religious leaders endorse candidates for office, they compromise their prophetic voice. The very sanctity of religion is at stake in this debate,” he said.
Inhofe’s bill is similar a H.R. 235, introduced in the House by Representative Walter Jones (R-NC). At last weekend's Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit in Washington, Senator Inhofe spoke in favor of the Jones bill and promised action on the Senate floor before Congress adjourned to home for the November elections. The Interfaith Alliance has been successful in bottling up the Jones bill through the dedicated grassroots efforts of its 185,000 members.
In addition to endorsements of candidates, Inhofe’s bill would also allow houses of worship to make political contributions to candidates and political parties.
The House bill has been opposed by the National Council of Churches USA (representing over 45 million Christians in the U.S.) and interfaith leaders. Only extremists in the Religious Right – a group that routinely confuses the Republican Party Platform for the Gospel teachings – support the legislation advanced by Jones and Inhofe.
Don’t let them turn our churches into Republican Party chapters.