February 17, 2006
GOP Solicits Church Membership Directories... Again
The Interfaith Alliance is outraged: the North Carolina state Republican Party office is asking religious leaders for their church directories. The request was sent by email Thursday and several area pastors have already said they will not divulge their lists, citing inappropriate entanglement of partisan politics and religion. Read news article.
In response to this alarming news, Rev. Dr. Welton Gaddy, President of The Interfaith Alliance (TIA) and Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, Louisiana, released the following statement:
“As the pastor of a local congregation, if I found out that my church membership directory was shared with a campaign or political party, I would begin immediate legal action against the campaign or political party. It's a serious mistake to consider worshipers in religious institutions as just another bloc of voters like farmers, labor unions, and corporate executives.
“Collecting church directories intrudes on the integrity of houses of worship and compromises them by classifying them as political organizing tools. I am fearful that initiatives like this by any of the political parties will lure religious organizations and religious leaders into dangerous, unconstitutional territory. Even worse, proponents of such list-gathering are leading religious leaders into the temptation of forfeiting the prophetic voice of religion.
“Furthermore, the national GOP says the collection of church directories is for voter registration efforts. No one bought that defense during the 2004 elections and we won’t buy it in 2006 either. The role of religion and values in the 2004 election was that of a political strategy employed to achieve a political goal – winning an election – [and] there is no reason to believe that has ... changed.”
The Interfaith Alliance's national office will continue to monitor this issue and we request you - our members -to be vigilant about political parties in your home state engaging in similar unconstitutional practices. Please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you hear about such list-gathering in your local area.
For more information, please see TIA's Guide for Houses of Worship In An Election Year - This guide offers legal and ethical counsel on how religious leaders, congregations and religious institutions may appropriately participate in the electoral process.
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Catch Us On The Radio: State Of Belief Hosted By Rev. Gaddy
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2004 TIA PRESS RELEASES
~ Bush-Cheney campaign tempts houses of worship to possibly violate ethics, laws, IRS regulations
~ Bush-Cheney '04 commits "an astonishing abuse of religion"
The Interfaith Alliance (TIA) is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the positive and healing role of religion in the life of the nation and challenging those who manipulate religion to promote a narrow, divisive agenda. With more than 150,000 members drawn from more than 75 faith traditions and 75 local activist groups throughout America, TIA promotes compassion, civility and mutual respect for human dignity in our increasingly diverse society.
Friday, February 17, 2006
INTERFAITH ALLIANCE IS outraged
Found this email today in my mailbox, from the Interfaith Alliance: