Back in the pulpit | Arkansas Blog

Monday, September 15, 2008

Back in the pulpit

Posted By on Mon, Sep 15, 2008 at 6:00 AM

Mike Huckabee was in a California church -- an overtly political one where the pastor endorsed a political candidate -- to speak approvingly of a California proposition to ban same-sex marriage.

He told about 1,000 people that marriage was created and defined by God, just as the Mona Lisa was created by Leonardo da Vinci.

"God doesn't want me to take my brush and paint over his masterpiece," he said.

UPDATE: On the jump a mailing about an effort to directly confront the policy that forces churches to lose their tax exemption of they directly engage in partisan politics. I wonder if Huckabee's host's action described in the article is part of that movement.

INTERFAITH ALLIANCE MAILING

The boundaries between religion and government have rarely seen the level of threat they face during this election season. Candidates on both sides of the aisle have used religion inappropriately as a political tool, and now, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) is preparing to launch a direct attack on religious liberty by encouraging clergy to violate a boundary that has protected religion in America for generations.

ADF is asking clergy to endorse candidates from the pulpit and purposefully violate federal law that provides their tax-exempt status in order to force a court case. This is a very real threat to religious freedom, especially given the current Supreme Court's willingness to set aside precedent in favor of weakening the separation of church and state. Last year's decision in Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, in which the court eroded taxpayers' standing to sue over government spending that violates the separation of church and state, should serve as an early indicator of the Court's direction not just on clergy endorsements, but also on sound science and reproductive rights - issues at the heart of religious liberty.

Interfaith Alliance is calling on clergy to stand up for religious freedom by signing a pledge to uphold certain standards during the election season. We ask clergy to pledge:
To educate members of our congregation about how our faith relates to issues of the day.
To refrain from endorsing any candidate, either explicitly or implicitly, in or on behalf of our house of worship.
To prevent partisan speech from candidates or their surrogates, as well as the distribution of partisan materials, in our house of worship.
To resist using or soliciting the resources of our house of worship for the exclusive benefit of any candidate or party.
To respect candidates whose religious beliefs are different from my own, and stand against the use of religion to divide our communities.
To encourage members of our congregation to take an active role in civic life, including casting informed votes.
The pledge already has been signed by some of America's most prominent clergy, including:
The Rev. Dr. Joel Hunter - Senior Pastor, Northland Church (Longwood, Florida)
Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein - Senior Rabbi, Central Synagogue (New York, New York)
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori - Presiding Bishop, Episcopal Church
The Rev. William G. Sinkford - President, Unitarian Universalist Association
Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed - National Director, Islamic Society of North America

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