Now here's a scandal one can sink his teeth into. According to Stephanie Simon, in the LATimes, some Christian conservatives are using the pulpit as a political platform.
With a pivotal election five weeks away, leaders on the religious right have launched an all-out drive to get Christians from pew to voting booth. Their target: the nearly 30 million Americans who attend church at least once a week, but did not vote in 2004.
Their efforts at times push legal limits on church involvement in partisan campaigns. That is by design. With control of Congress at stake Nov. 7, those guiding the movement say they owe it to God and to their own moral principles to do everything they can to keep social conservatives in power.
Preachers "ought to put their toe right on the line," said Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit law firm that supports conservative Christian causes.
The article is dripping with innuendo about "pushing legal limits." Ms. Simon strives to leave the impression that conservative pastors have violated the law, despite the fact that she has no evidence of this. What law is in question?
The law restricting political activity of churches and charities dates to 1954, when then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson pushed it through in a pique of anger over a nonprofit's effort to derail his re-election. Tax-exempt organizations, including churches, may not participate or intervene in political campaigns on behalf of any candidate. Intervention is broadly defined as "any and all activities that favor or oppose one or more candidate for public office," according to the Internal Revenue Service.
If the law says that, then the law is an ass. And an un-American ass at that. Perhaps it is necessary to say that the leader of the civil rights movement was a Reverend Martin Luther King, and that the movement began in a Montgomery Alabama church. The anti-slavery movement in America was likewise a largely religious movement. Moreover, some of the best collections of political rhetoric from the American Revolution consist largely of sermons delivered from the pulpit. Trying to gag politically motivated pastors is about as un-American as you can get.