Bush Campaign to Invade Churches

From Democrats for America's Future:

The Bush White House isn't satisfied with blurring the line between church and state when it comes to policy matters. Now, the Bush re-election team wants to set up its local campaign offices in your church ....First reported in The Washington Post and The New York Times, the Bush campaign is shifting into the "hail Mary" mode with an unprecedented effort to co-opt local churches as de facto arms of its campaign.

As The New York Times reported: "The Bush-Cheney campaign has laid out a brisk schedule for legions of Christian supporters to help enlist "conservative churches" and their members, including sending church directories to the campaign, according to a Bush campaign document. The document underscores how heavily Mr. Bush is relying on conservative Christians. The campaign is asking conservative churches and churchgoers to do everything they can to turn their churches into bases of support without violating campaign finance laws or jeopardizing their tax-exempt status."

The blunt Bush effort to fold churches into the re-election campaign has drawn outraged denunciations from a number of corners, including Baptist church representatives and even the IRS. Earlier, this year the IRS warned presidential campaigns that a church risks losing its tax-exempt status when it throws its support behind a particular candidate.

Richard J. Mouw, president of the conservative Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., a large evangelical Protestant seminary, told The New York Times: "'Theologically speaking, churches are really in a position to speak truth to power. But this smacks of too close an alliance of church and Caesar, I find,' he said, 'that a lot of church people, including a lot of evangelicals, are increasingly nervous about the credibility of the Bush administration on issues that a year or two ago people were ready to trust them on, like foreign policy.'"

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