Jay, I know you would like to seethe tax code provision barring endorsement of candidates by non-profitsrepealed.  We have a big difference ofopinion about that.


            However, I do not see why you believe thatunder the current law the “line between issue advocacy and electioneering isnot clear cut”.  If a minister reallywants to talk about any moral issue he or she just says, for example: “I opposethe federal income tax because it is just a socialistic redistribution ofwealth” and then adds: “so do your homework and find out  what candidates for public office wantrepeal and vote for them”, that’s legal. If the pastor says the same thing but closes “and that African AmericanSenator who is running for President seems to like income redistribution” hehas an IRS problem. It is clear that the pastor wants you not to vote forBarack Obama.  That’s what BishopSerratelli’s pastoral letter was all about. What else could he possibly have meant?


            Any “chill”on just speaking out against abortion is clearly self-imposed.  If the minister is not trying to be cute orcoy, he just tells people that he thinks God doesn’t like abortion and thenurges parishioners to vote accordingly.  He adds no names, no pictures, no coded messages. 

             Of course,in New Mexico,”but for” the church deciding to put up that anti-abortion display, how wouldthe passerby you envision have any reason to think about the issue at thattime.  Of course, it was the church thattried to send its “moral” as well as “vote McCain” message to the public.


              As to RickWarren, he is entitled under the tax law, to do just what he did and proclaimhis support for Proposition 8.  You areright that many other religious leaders are speaking out strongly inopposition.  I just disagree with Warren on the merits (orin this case lack of merits).  I don’tknow any liberals who claim the Bible literally supports same sexmarriage.  What they do say is that theBible is not to be the basis for deciding what civil rights exist inTwenty-First century America.  That’s called the separation of church andstate.  I like it. 

More from Beliefnet and our partners