October 20, 2006

Democrats Trying to Suppress Religious Vote

churchstate.gifDemocrats, so I was told on NPR last night, are trying to reconnect to religious Americans who vote overwhelmingly for the Republican party. So, how are they doing that? By trying to suppress the vote of religious Americans.

Last night I went down to the church where I regularly attend for a small group meeting. I was early. When I got to there, I found a flyer from Americans United for Separation of Church and State taped to the door.

The flyer had "pastor" written on it. It warned that churches endorsing political candidates could lose their tax exempt status. Here is a copy of a similar letter. The version of the letter I got, which also bore the Americans United for Separation of Church and State logo on it, also cited court cases in which churches were prosecuted.

The rather thinly veiled threat was that churches that endorse political candidates or even distribute values based voter guides, might be held to account. If you talk about politics in your church, we will take you to court.

I wonder how many of these flyers were taped to the doors of churches with largely African-American members? The kind of churches which routinely invite Democratic candidates to speak from the pulpit.

Now, my church never endorses political candidates. It is official church policy. I've personally never felt like talking politics was appropriate anywhere in church, not even during our monthly potluck dinner.

But, even so, there is a general consensus among the members that any party that can't take a stand against gay marriage or abortion might not be exactly what you'd call 'Christian'. The feeling isn't shared by all, but talking positively about Democrats, even at potluck, is a sure way to get a dirty look or a scowl.

And this is in a very theologically liberal church. As I mentioned, we are eschatological universalists in our core doctrine.

But I do not respond to threats kindly. And since my voice carries a bit of weight with the other congegants, I can promise you this one thing: I will no longer be silent about making my political preferences known.

Not only did the local Democratic party activist who taped this to our church just ensure that I will vote, but that of most of my fellow church members. And I have a feeling that the local Baptist ministers will also not be amused. And there are a lot of Baptists around here.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:07 AM | Comments |