Allow me to be the first to tell you I don’t have the answers for this. I’m honestly looking for help in sorting this thorny little issue out.
Elsewhere on the net there is a lively discussion ongoing around the fact that one teaching arm of the Catholic Church has prepared and is distributing a video voting guide which reminds the faithful that there are five non-negotiable moral principles: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning and same sex marriage which must be upheld by practicing members of the Catholic Church at all times. The video tells Catholics that to vote for any candidate whose policies and positions support or allow activities such as abortion is in direct opposition to those of the church and is, therefore, a sin.
Now, as you might imagine there is much talk about Church and State intertwanglement here. There seems to be a popular notion that any church which preaches politics ought to unceremoniously lose their tax-exemption. I agree wholeheartedly with this since I see so much of it here in the Deep South. I’m pretty sure the Founding Fathers didn’t want pastors assigning favor to certain candidates on account of their party affiliation. My confusion comes in when you begin to discuss the things we glamorously call ‘social issues.’
I wonder why it is that Unions and their members, which also enjoy a tax exemption, can get away with the kind of politicking we see in this video. (The advertisement which precedes the video may or may not interest you – push the “skip ad” button if you wish.) I’m sure there is some kind of silver bullet deep within the tax code which makes it possible for SEIU to engage in political activities. Still, I wonder how we taxpayers can reconcile the disparity.
In my opinion, it really is acceptable for any church to say – “Look, we’ve taught you from your cradle that abortion is wrong. Remember that to vote for a candidate who supports abortion is a violation of your moral principles and will land you in deep yogurt with the Almighty.” For any church official to bless such a vote would land THEM in the yogurt, so it makes perfect sense to me that they flash warning lights plainly visible to the faithful. Why, then, is it not okay to produce this voters guide? Unlike in the SEIU rally against Romney, no candidate names are mentioned and votes are not being purchased at the rate of $11.00 per hour.
I look forward to learning other thoughts on this matter. Thanks in advance.