Nonprofit Newswire | Evangelical Electioneering

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June 17, 2010; Source: Religious Dispatches | The Alliance Defense Fund aims at undoing the establishment clause of the First Amendment (remember: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”) These are the people who believe in prayer in the schools, religious displays on public properties, and, in this case, religious institutions engaging in partisan electioneering.

The Alliance has recruited H. Wayne Williams, the evangelical minister at Liberty Baptist Tabernacle in Rapid City, South Dakota, to push the boundary between church and state when it comes to political endorsements. Rev. Williams endorsed Gordon Howie, the “Tea Party Republican” candidate for governor, though Howie lost the nomination.

Plenty of religious institutions have been pushing the electioneering boundary for tax exempt organizations as though they’re going to breach the boundary for churches and eventually for all 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. The danger in giving tax deductions for “charitable” contributions to political campaigns means a huge diversion of resources away from legitimate nonprofit activities.—Rick Cohen

  • Preston Branaugh

    Rick, I believe your article is very misleading. Your quotation of the First Amendment states that the phrase ends at “…establishment of religion.”, which is plainly inaccurate (it goes on to say “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abriding the freedom of speech…”. Please be fair in your reporting of these matters, and not so plainly reveal your personal bias, unless you would rather be be the “Nonprofit commentary” instead of the “Nonprofit news” source.

  • Hawaii Hochberg

    If the First Amendment means anything at all, it means what Thomas Jefferson reported to the Danbury Connecticut Baptists in 1802. He told them, essentially, that the First Amendment erects a wall of separation between church and state to assure that the state does not direct the church. The practical effect of that statement is that it is a violation of the First Amendment for the IRS to restrict in any manner the speech made on behalf of a church, including the endorsement or opposition of a candidate for public office. But for the preaching of the pastors in the colonies in the 18th century, there would have been no separation from England.