From the pew....
I don't know if any of you have seen this story but on Sunday at least 35 religious leaders from churches across the country will give sermons officially endorsing a Presidential candidate.
"Pastors will tell their congregations which presidential candidate they should vote for, according to the Scriptures. These endorsements represent a direct challenge to federal tax law, which prohibits tax-exempt organizations from engaging in partisan political activity."
The goal here isn't to really influence the 2008 election, it's to challenge the Constitutional ban of the separation of church and state and, more specifically, a 1954 law passed by Congress that makes it illegal for tax-exempt groups to support or oppose political candidates publicly."
Basically by preaching politics openly these churches would, by law, forgo their tax-exempt status. And religious leaders, bolstered by the Alliance Defense Fund or ADF, argue "the IRS tax code violates the free speech of religious leaders."
But wait there's more....
Now a challenge like this isn't new. It's been tried before, but not with the type of organized protest which will happen Sunday. In fact...
The 1954 statute has been upheld in the courts. In three cases, courts have concluded it does not violate the Constitution's free speech clause, according to Robert Tuttle, professor of law and religion at George Washington University in Washington.
In a national poll released in August, two-thirds of American adults say that churches should not come out in favor of one political candidate over another. The Pew poll shows widespread agreement, including among Republicans and white Evangelicals (both at 64 percent).
Also, under the IRS rules, clergy are free to discuss any issues of public concern in their sermons, and houses of worship can engage in nonpartisan voter-registration and civic education."
Well crowd, what do you think?
Should religious leaders be allowed to preach openly about a candidate and officially endorse someone?
And if they do, should they loose their tax exempt status?
How about the separation of church and state? That a good thing in your mind?
(Note: I know this isn't necessarily a pop culture story and I was originally going to put this in the YBNBY forum,s but the more I read, the more I wanted to get a bigger sample of people's opinions.)