Thursday, July 01, 2004

Smoke in the Sanctuary 

Some folks have mobilized to keep an eye on the latest incursions of partisanship into the pulpit. And can we point out to those who claim this is "no different from Democrats working the black churches for votes, nyah nyah nyah so there!" that, well, yes it is.

(via Kansas City Star)
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - A group that seeks to preserve the separation of church and state plans to send volunteers to Johnson County church services starting in July to make sure there's no election-year campaigning from the pulpit.

[A] Johnson County-based group called The Mainstream Coalition, headed by Caroline McKnight, is sending letters to more than 400 churches in the county reminding them of the IRS rules on campaigning.

McKnight said Johnson and other ministers need to keep partisan politics out of their sermons.

"His job is to lead his flock by setting an example ... not by bringing the smoke-filled room into his sanctuary," McKnight said.
So these ministers are becoming politically active to promote the teachings of their faith, like help for the poor and opposition to war and humility of spirit? All that Sermon-on-the-Mount-y stuff? Let's check:
Johnston has been distributing a pamphlet with background information on incumbent state legislators and their voting records on the gay marriage amendment and abortion issues.
The ironic thing here is who the target of the minister's outrage is:
Rep. John Ballou, R-Gardner, believes his re-election bid could face the wrath of the congregations, since he voted against the gay marriage amendment.

[Rev.] Johnston said Mainstream Coalition members are welcome at his church, though he added that they won't find the ministers doing anything wrong.

"Are we going to violate the law? Of course not," Johnston said. "We're not rabid, crazy fanatics."
So by targeting what may be the last decent Republican left in Kansas, they can claim this is "non-partisan"? Nice try, but we can hope this gets the message through to the other real Republicans out there that their party has been hijacked by people with another agenda.

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