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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Texas Faith: Should the ban on political activity by churches be repealed?

Should the federal ban on political activity by churches and religious institutions be repealed – or remain in place? Our Texas Faith panel weighs in – and they don’t agree on the answer. This is a weekly column at Dallas Morning News, addressing the issues facing the nation.  http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2012/03/texas-faith-should-ban-on-political_20.html 

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas, Texas

As Americans of Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, independent and other persuasions, we are collectively and partially funding religious institutions through tax subsidy, and the least we can expect from them is to remain neutral to each one of us on political matters.

Every American has 1/312 Millionth of a share in such subsidy, why would I, a Republican want my money to go to a church that supports democrats or vice-versa?
As a nation we have to debate the need for giving tax breaks to religious organizations, and why do they need the tax break? We may disagree with Governor Perry on a lot of issues, except the idea that every foreign nation must justify their need for even a dollar to go to them. How does giving a tax break for religious organizations benefit every American indiscriminately?

Dallas Morning News had a similar question a few months ago. Can the Pastor of a Church publicly endorse a candidate without influencing or dividing his or her congregation? That is the fine line that blurs the separation of Church and state.

The fact of the matter is, every one of us is politically inclined towards one candidate or the other; for a majority of us it is an emotional decision. Nearly 2/3rds of Americans have decided through party affiliation who they will vote for – it is a clear choice to them; Democrats or Republicans. It is really the 1/3rd of undecided voters that the parties are vying for.

So the top ten evangelicals ganged up on Romney, simply because of his faith - cloaked in the disguise of not conservative enough. Wouldn’t their congregations follow their lead? The most conservative states are following that lead and giving boost to Santorum. He in turn has followed the bait by going to the extreme and becoming Mullah Santorum.

If we allow any majority to dictate the nation, we will lose the very essence of America; a God’s country where everyone of His creation lives in harmony.

 We are not a mobcracy-democracy, where the majority bullies the minorities, like the Republican house bullied the Democratic minority in holding out the payroll tax break for majority of Americans. We need to follow the rule of law and temper the majority with righteousness and honor everyone’s space and right to the pursuit of their happiness.

Greatness of our nations lies in our system, the checks and balances. The representative form of governance has not let us fall into a pit like most other nations. We must keep the separation of church and state and strip the tax breaks from those institutions that break the rules.

Had it not been for bad politics, there would have been one Christianity; one Islam, one Judaism, one Hinduism and one Native Tradition. Now let’s not allow the same bad politics to divide our nation based on religion.

For all the responses from the panelists, please visit Dallas Morning News at
http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2012/03/texas-faith-should-the-ban-on.html

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MikeGhouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he writes weekly at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, The Smirking Chimp and several other periodicals. His daily blog is www.TheGhousediary.com 

2 comments:

  1. Shakti SubramaniamMarch 20, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    I agree that the ban on religious institutions getting involved in political activity should remain in place. Todays religious conservatives for the most part have zero knowledge when it comes to the early Americans. Rhode Island was established by Baptists who stated all were free to Worship as they desired. This was due to the fact that the Baptists came to America to escape religious persecution themselves. Thomas Jefferson, the "Framer of the Constitution" wrote a letter to Joseph Priestly trying to get Priestly to visit Jefferson and Jefferson stated that he (Jefferson) agreed with the philisophies espoused by Joseph Priestly. Joseph Priestly started the "Unitarian" movement and Unitarians rejected the concept of a Holy Trinity. So if you think this nonsense with Republicans ganging up on Mitt Romney because Romney is a Mormon is bad, bringing religion into politics will get even uglier.

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  2. Shakti SubramaniamMarch 20, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    And on another note years ago when Al Gore & Lieberman were running for office, the Charlotte Observer posted this comment from a reader: "A vote for Lieberman is a vote against our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ". I looked at my friend and coworker (who I refer to as Opus Dei) and said: "I didn't know Christ was on the ticket!" Politics (especially in the Southern United States) is bad enough without having religious institutions weighing in.

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