Crossing yet another line

July 3rd, 2004 – 10:19 am
Tagged as: Uncategorized

The Bush-Cheney campaign has decided to once again try to slip around the edge of that pesky separation between church and state, probably because they’ve realized that without a big outpouring of support from conservative churchgoers their campaign is going nowhere fast.

President Bush, seeking to mobilize religious conservatives for his reelection campaign, has asked church-going volunteers to turn over church membership directories, campaign officials said on Thursday.

In a move sharply criticized both by religious leaders and civil libertarians, the Bush-Cheney campaign has issued a guide listing about two-dozen “duties” and a series of deadlines for organizing support among conservative church congregations.

If you think that what they’re doing is perfectly fine, you probably should know that even the Southern Baptists (the ones who recently withdrew from the World Baptist Alliance because it was too liberal) have a big problem with it.

The Southern Baptist Convention, a conservative denomination closely aligned with President Bush, said it was offended by the Bush-Cheney campaign’s effort to use church rosters for campaign purposes.

“I’m appalled that the Bush-Cheney campaign would intrude on a local congregation in this way,” said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

And here’s why.

On Friday, Land said: “It’s one thing for a church member motivated by exhortations to exercise his Christian citizenship to go out and decide to work on the Bush campaign or the Kerry campaign. It’s another and totally inappropriate thing for a political campaign to ask workers who may be church members to provide church member information through the use of directories to solicit partisan support.”

That pretty much sums up the problem, but even criticism from the SBC hasn’t stopped the Bush campaign from trying to defend their actions as being totally appropriate.

[some links via Sisyphus Shrugged]

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