The Constantly Blurring Line Separating Church and State

A couple days ago, USA Today ran an article headlined Shaping politics from pulpits, which examined how conservative churches are becoming increasingly active in partisan politics.

Pastor Russell Johnson paces across the broad stage as he decries the "secular jihadists" who have "hijacked" America, accuses the public schools of neglecting to teach that Hitler was "an avid evolutionist" and links abortion to children who murder their parents.

"It's time for the church to get a spinal column" and push the "seculars and the jihadists ... into the dust bin of history," the guest preacher tells a congregation that fills the sanctuary at First Christian Church of Canton.

That is his mission. Johnson leads the Ohio Restoration Project, an emergent network of nearly 1,000 "Patriot Pastors" from conservative churches across the state. Each has pledged to register 300 "values voters," adding hundreds of thousands of like-minded citizens to the electorate who "would be salt and light for America."


Evangelical Christian leaders nationwide have been emboldened by their role in re-electing President Bush and galvanized by their success in campaigning for constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage, passed in 18 states so far.

Now some are organizing to build on last year's successes. They want to solidify their role in setting the political agenda and electing sympathetic public officials.

I encourage you to read the entire article; it provides a series of examples of the rise of Dominionism across the country. Additionally, the Tucson Citizen reported yesterday that the Phoenix diocese has banned politicians who support a woman’s right to chose and/or gay rights from speaking at Catholic churches.

Now here’s my opinion: I don’t care. That’s right. I don’t give two flips if churches want to be politically active. What I do care about is their tax exempt status, which is predicated in part upon their not being politically active, and should be revoked as soon as they are. Period. That they are being given the latitude to have it both ways is ridiculous, and further evidence that the GOP has no compunction against leaving unenforced any law or statute as long as it’s to their benefit.

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