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Tue Nov 6, 2012, 11:13 AM

Keeping politics out of the pulpit

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-religion-and-elections-20121105,0,3229658.story

EDITORIAL
Keeping politics out of the pulpit
The IRS can and should investigate any religious leaders or groups that cross the line.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney meets with Rev. Billy Graham, in Montreat, N.C. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn. has now removed Mormonism from its list of religious cults. (Evan Vucci / Associated Press / October 11, 2012)


November 5, 2012
The Internal Revenue Service advises churches and other tax-exempt organizations that, under federal law, they are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.” But the 2012 election campaign that mercifully is coming to a close demonstrates that some religious leaders, while they may be abiding by the letter of the law, are willing to undermine its spirit. To wit:
•A week after Mitt Romney visited the venerable evangelist Billy Graham, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn. removed Mormonism from its list of religious cults. Graham's son, Franklin, also an evangelist, wrote an article titled “Can an Evangelical Christian Vote for a Mormon?” The answer: Yes. (According to the New Yokr Times, Franklin Graham said the “cult” reference was mistakenly made by a staff member.)

•In Peoria, Ill., Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky ordered priests in his diocese to read a letter to parishioners the Sunday before the election criticizing “the president” for including contraception in his health insurance mandate. Jenky then warned that “Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord.” He ended with this appeal: “I therefore call upon every practicing Catholic in this diocese to vote. Be faithful to Christ and to your Catholic faith.”

•Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., suggested that hellfire awaited Catholics who voted the wrong way. “I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against,” he wrote in the diocesan newspaper. “But I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil ... makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.” Paprocki's “evils”: same-sex marriage and abortion.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Nov 6, 2012, 11:23 AM

1. So what is "intrinsically evil, bishop?

From an editorial in the National Catholic Reporter. My take is that if Catholic voters must avoid facilitating intrinsic evil when considering how to vote might just abstain. Well I'm not - I am exercising prudential judgment so I AM VOTING FOR Barack Obama and any Dem I can find on my ballot.

Editorial: 'Intrinsically evil' canard is a deception
http://www.ncronline.org/news/politics/editorial-intrinsically-evil-canard-deception
Let's borrow a list from Pope John Paul II. Quoting Gaudium et Spes, he says that intrinsically evil acts are "any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat laborers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace … and they are a negation of the honor due to the Creator" (Veritatis Splendor, 80).

We might even add climate change to the list. After all, if the right to life is the most basic human right, then human-caused global warming threatening the entire life of the planet must be the ultimate evil.

"Wait, wait," the perpetrators of the intrinsically-evil canard will protest. "These are evil, but they can't be treated as all the same. For some of these we must exercise prudential judgment." Therein lies the deception, because dealing with any evil -- and especially determining the best solutions in a plural democracy -- will always require prudential judgment. Further complicating matters is that we must make these judgments within the context of specific electoral and legislative processes.

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Response to TexasProgresive (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 6, 2012, 12:46 PM

5. Good for you, TexasPro.

The gross partisanship of the Bishops involved in this is revolting.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Nov 6, 2012, 12:02 PM

2. Good luck with that. The Religionists have been exploiting and misleading the human

race for thousands of years. The hold will not be broken any time soon. To me, it proves that the most cherished form of human knowledge is superstition.

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Response to ladjf (Reply #2)

Tue Nov 6, 2012, 12:45 PM

4. While true, this is about the laws and the need for the IRS to start enforcing them.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 6, 2012, 01:06 PM

7. No doubt about the need to at least try to slow them down. nt

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Nov 6, 2012, 12:28 PM

3. Are we sure that is Billy Graham and not a wax figure or Halloween shocktronic?

I'd be scared of a animatronic Billy Graham. They could have him move his arms and head while speaking in tongues. It would be even better if his head would rise from the body and spin around really fast as his eyes glowed red.

Perhaps I should send an e-mail to Distortions Unlimited with that as an idea for a new product.

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Response to Tyrs WolfDaemon (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 6, 2012, 12:48 PM

6. What a weird and disturbing site.

Word on the street is that he is being controlled by his son, so I think your theory could be right on.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Nov 6, 2012, 04:18 PM

8. Curious whether Mormonism shows up as a cult again tomorrow. n/t

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:26 PM

9. It violates Article 6 and the 1st Amendment, AND an IRS Code!

Progressive and liberal Christian Americans, like all other progressive and liberal Americans, tend to understand the intent of the Founding Fathers and honor Article 6 and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. That is, they understand that there must be no religious test or requirement for office in government, that there must be no laws respecting an establishment of religion (or faith-based government institutions), or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, "thus building a wall of separation between church and state," as Thomas Jefferson so clearly stated to explain the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution.

Unfortunately, some leaders of the “Religious Right” have been extremely politically and socially active in claiming that the Jeffersonian point of view is merely the view and opinion of “Godless Secular Humanists,” and some have merely misrepresented Jefferson and claimed he agreed with them. Consequently, they have succeeded in misleading many other Americans about this issue. They have led many to believe that the Founders wanted America to be a Christian nation, and that “godless liberals” have “taken God out” of our schools, our public institutions, and our government.

That is misleading deception, designed to further open the door for the Theocratic political actions of the “religious right” to gain even more power to rule. And it has proven to be utterly counterproductive and very damaging to our religious freedom and democracy.

During the last 30 years the Religious Right has succeeded in taking over many policy making and law making bodies, from local school boards to city councils to state legislatures to the U.S. Congress to the White House twice (under Reagan and G.W. Bush).

Furthermore, the theocratic “religious right” also violates an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax code regarding tax-exempt churches, because even though it allows them to indulge in a wide range of political activity, including speaking out on social issues and organizing congregants to vote, the code prevents churches and ministers and pastors from endorsing a candidate or engaging in partisan political advocacy in behalf of a candidate. That would also violate the spirit of Article 6 of the Constitution and the clear intent of the Founders. But, unfortunately, the IRS does not enforce the code, so the churches and ministers on the “religious right” violate not only the Constitution but also the IRS code, with impunity.

And, it’s not just right-wing evangelical Protestants. One Catholic Bishop wrote a letter to all priests in his diocese condemning Barack Obama. The letter was to be read for all congregation before the election, claiming that Obama and the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate had launched an "assault upon our religious freedom." Another Catholic priest who used the pulpit to attack Obama, telling his congregations that voting for Obama could put their "soul in jeopardy." And yet another priest said Obama was the anti-Christ and even claimed that "It will only be a matter of time before our nation is completely destroyed."

But, it is the evangelical Protestants who are the most vehement in their religious bigotry and intolerance. Franklin Graham, the son of the famous Billy Graham, said President Obama was "waving his fist before God." The younger Graham even claimed that Obama was going to create "a new nation without God or perhaps under many gods." And Graham is considered mild compared to the more rabid preachers on the “religious right.”

Now it is time for all Americans to realize what has happened, and how and why America is so bitterly divided.


(Quoted from Why the "Religious Right" Is Wrong.)
...

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