Beliefnet
Lynn v. Sekulow

As noted in my last post, if that school assignment was to
draw anything you want (and that’s the end of the story), then you were right
to intervene.  I would have done the same if her mother had called me.

Now, we have been in longtime disagreement about politicking from the pulpit–
I like the 1954 provision of the IRS Code that allows for discussion of
political issues but strictly prohibits actions that constitute endorsement of
or opposition to any candidate for public office.  Recently, about 31
pastors violated that provision with the encouragement of a group called the
Alliance Defense Fund, and they hope to create a test case for what they
erroneously call “pulpit freedom.”

Two religious bodies have now gone way beyond the idea of speaking out on a
Saturday or Sunday morning in praise of somebody’s election. 

Let’s start in New
Jersey.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Paterson, N.J., has
published a letter on its website and in the diocesan newspaper by its bishop
Arthur J. Serratelli.  In it, Serratelli
“cleverly” never mentions the name Barack Obama but suggests that “the present
democratic candidate” (who could that be?) is comparable to the biblical
monarch Herod Antipas, the fellow who ordered the beheading of John the
Baptist.  Serratelli then goes on a screed
about how in this election we either “choose to respect life…or we sanction the
loss of our most basic freedom”.  The
Archdiocese denies it’s an intervention against Obama. 

Jay, I’d like to think you would agree that it is obviously
partisan politicking even if you think the church should be allowed to do it.

And, then, let’s move over to New Mexico. There, the Rock Christian
Fellowship in Espanola posted two large photographs on its building.  One showed a smiling baby; the other the remains
of what appears to be an aborted fetus. 
Under the healthy baby are the name of three Republican office seekers,
including John McCain; under the fetus, the names are of three Democrats
including Barack Obama.  Below the whole
display: “YOU WILL DECIDE.”

Leaving aside seriously sight-impaired individuals who
cannot see this presentation, can anyone believe this is not a blatant
anti-choice message combined with a clear and unequivocal “vote Republican”
add-on.  Without any reference to the
election, a church can put up pretty much anything; with the candidate endorsement
it is a clear violation of the law. 
Pastor Michael Naranjo told the local paper : “I’d rather lose my 501 c
(3) than lose my soul.”

If the IRS does its job, he should get his wish.

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