In the midst of my “conversation” with Lou Dobbs, an unlikely organization has spoken out on the behalf of myself and other religious leaders of the Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Give the Family Research Council credit for making a clear non-partisan appeal in defense of faith-inspired activism:
CNN host Lou Dobbs is a man of strong opinions – but last week he offered a wrong opinion. Dobbs challenged the First Amendment rights of pastors and asked his viewers in an online poll whether they believe “churches and religious institutions that engage in political activity should have their federal tax exemptions revoked.” He attacked church leaders for speaking out on the immigration debate.
There is much disagreement on immigration, but these leaders have every right to express their views. Last year, Lou Dobbs said the “intrusion of religion into our political lives, in my opinion, should be rejected in the same fashion that we constitutionally guarantee government will not interfere with religion.”
Throughout American history, church leaders have spoken out on the vital moral issues of the day – whether it be slavery, civil rights, or in defense of the family and the dignity of human life. One of the enduring lessons the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught is the power a religious community can have in society. Reverend King said, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”