Church and State: May 2004 Archives

May 31, 2004

Schadenfreude ahoy!

United States: Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Sheridan recently wrote that Catholics should not receive communion if they vote for politicians who disagree with the church by backing abortion rights and other topics. Now Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has petitioned the IRS to strip his Colorado Springs diocese of its tax-exempt status as Sheridan might have crossed the line into unlawful partisan politicking.

Looked at in context, I believe it is clear that this letter has a partisan political intent,"wrote AU's Lynn to IRS officials. It is designed to endorse Republican candidates who oppose legal abortion, stem-cell research and other 'life' issues. At the same time, it threatens sanctions against any church members who support Democratic candidates who disagree with the church on any of these issues.

AU says the partisan intent of the Sheridan missive is clear when viewed in light of the current political situation both nationally and in Colorado. President George W. Bush and Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry hold opposing views on legal abortion. In addition, a Colorado senate race this year will pit a pro-choice Democrat against an anti-choice Republican.

AU told the IRS that Sheridan's letter appears to run afoul of election-year guidelines issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

There is a precedent for the requested action:

In 1995, the IRS revoked the tax-exempt status of a New York church that ran ads before the 1992 election telling people that voting for Bill Clinton was a sin because of his views on abortion, gay rights and other social issues. The church sued to get the exemption back but lost in court.

IRS Should Investigate Electioneering By Colorado Springs Catholic Diocese, Says Americans UnitedAmericans United for the Separation of Church and State press release, 27th May 2004.

May 28, 2004

Fetch the swingometer

United Kingdom: The European Parliamentary Election will be held soon, but I will be, well, in Europe, so I applied for a postal vote. The ballot paper arrived this morning. There are several parties that I would not even consider voting for, but the one least likely to get my X is this:

Operation Christian Vote "Proclaiming Christ's Leadership"

As well as denying reproductive choice to women, and banning useful research, Operation Christian Vote declares We believe all government to be under the authority of God and that the purpose of government is the maintenance of freedom and justice solely in accordance with biblical principles. Makes the BNP look tolerable in comparison.

May 25, 2004

Watching the goalposts pass by

United States: A Florida school has voted to change its rules on clubs to prevent a 12-year-old pupil starting a Pagan club.

The girl had asked about forming a club based on her pagan beliefs because the school had Christian clubs, her mother said. Bruner officials, however, told her she would have to gather 200 signatures to form such a club.

The existence of the Christian clubs means the school couldn't suddenly get concerned about the separation of church and state, so instead, they insisted on a minimum membership—want to bet that if one of the Christian clubs falls below that, the rule won't be enforced?

Okaloosa school board passes rule to block pagan clubHerald-Tribune, 25th May 2004.

May 18, 2004

Making Revelation happen

United States/Israel: A terrifying article in the Village Voice looks at the influence of evangelical Christians on US policy towards Israel. One group in particular, the Apostolic Congress, is singled out, and their representative in Israel, Kim Johnson, seems particularly interesting. She believes that she was attacked by witchcraft because there was a Harry Potter in the same block of flats as herself:

Two of the three nights in my apartment I have been attacked by a hair raising spirit of fear, she writes, noting the sublet contained a Harry Potter book; at this time I am associating it with witchcraft

Fortunately, as she holds herself to the sumptuary standards of Orthodox Jewish women, so as to better blend in to her surroundings, she's probably far too busy looking for a new wig to cause any trouble. The Jesus Landing Pad - Village Voice, 18th May 2004 (via Eschaton, and thanks to Charlie and PBen for thinking of me when they saw it...).

May 4, 2004

Religious Leaders Urge Gay-Marriage Support

United States: Baptists, Episcopalians, Buddhists, Unitarians, Muslims, Jews and representatives of other faiths gathered to urge repeal of a state law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

A Baptist leader called for social justice, an Episcopalian insisted that all couples get equal treatment, and a Lutheran — citing Washington's long history of civil rights leadership — exhorted other religious leaders across the state to stand up in support of same-sex marriages.

They gathered yesterday with 100 Buddhists, Unitarians, Methodists, Muslims, Presbyterians, Jews and representatives of other faiths to urge the repeal of a 1998 state law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and to decry President Bush's attempt to ban gay and lesbian unions within the U.S. Constitution.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Church and State category from May 2004.

Church and State: April 2004 is the previous archive.

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