Tuesday, June 15, 2004

How much Power does the Religious Right want? "Son of Jones" (HR 235) Bill Snuck Into Tax Bill House Scheduled to Have Hearing! This provision would allow clergy and "houses of worship" to directly endorse candidates up to three times per election without losing their valuable tax exempt status!!! Damn, the religious right wants to be PACs!!! (this post calls for lots of exclamation points, damn it!!!) I have to wonder would this apply to all religious practioners? Can't you just imagine vote for smith... he's endorsed by the Wiccan coven? Or Jones is the gal for us... sponsored by your area Church of Satan. Or maybe it just applies to the churches in the Bible belt. It probably covers the churches influenced by transplanted Charismatic Evangelical southern preachers. Can't have enough snake handlers out there for my money! Despite the overwhelming opposition across the nation (and boy howdy do we need these people to speak up!!) and nearly two dozen religious denominations (imagine that level agreement on anything else), House Speaker Dennis "I love sneakin' things into legislation" Hastert and Majority Leader Tom "Truth is God -- my God not your God, silly" Delay ordered a version of Rep. Walter Jones's Houses of Worship Political Speech Restoration Act to be buried on page 379 of a 398 page tax bill (H.R. 4520, American Jobs Creation Act of 2004). Surely they are not trying to sneak something through Congress?!?! Oh wait, I forgot Hastert's nickname, sorry. While it is not the exact language as the original Jones bill, it is meant to appease his supporters in the religious right just in time for the 2004 presidential elections. Imagine that! Ironically, this amendment comes just days after the Bush campaign was widely criticized for using churches in the battleground state of Pennsylvania to organize voters for their election activities. Gosh, that sure is a mighty coincidence don't you think? Entitled the "Safe Harbor for Churches" bill (don't you all feel safer and calmer now?!), the legislation would wreak havoc on the separation of campaigns, religious leaders, churches and the political process. This could be the only way that Pat Robertson can win and not be president. This awful bill (one could say God awful bill -- but that would be trying to hard) encourages willful ignorance of the law by churches, amending the tax code to permit churches, and only churches, to engage in political campaigns while maintaining their status as tax-exempt organizations. Must be a nice bone to throw the religious right during a hotly contested election year, eh? Gosh, do these people have any sense of decency or fairplay? I suppose it would apply to the many liberal chruches. What? There are no... oh, nevermind. Under the legislation, "houses of worship" would be allowed to "accidentally" endorse political candidates up to three times in an election cycle without losing their coveted tax-exempt status. I wonder, how does one accidentally endorse a candidate. Let's see, I can imagine a situation like: "Let us Pray. Dear God in Heaven please allow George W. Bush to be elected our President. ONLY he has the guidance of the Holy Ghost. And Only he can work YOUR will on earth. In jesus' name, we pray." While the bill purports to draw a distinction between intentional and unintentional violations of political activity -- Oops, I mentioned politics again (soon to be a Britany Spears single) -- it is silent on what constitutes an "unintentional" violation, leaving religious leaders and institutions free to claim ignorance of the law as reasoning for an "unintentional" breach. "What do you mean I can't talk about the republicans as God's holy emissaries on earth?" It is expected that the House Ways and Means Committee will be voting on the Safe Harbor for Churches provision any day now! It is imperative that you call your Member of Congress and raise your strong objection to this political piece of tripe (Hmmmmm... tripe... ahhhhhhhh), this callous use of religion to elect Bush, this cycnical attempt to control people through religion, this bush-it. Should you feel so inclined: The switchboard is 202-225-3121. Provision Name: "Safe Harbor for Churches" Section 692 Bill Name: H.R. 4520, "American Jobs Creation Act of 2004" Personally, I am going to call just to ask, did you really think you could do this in an election year without anyone noticing. I mean, I want to know, don't you?
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com