The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

Howard Dean’s Religious Blind Spot

Posted by thelamp on July 14, 2006

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean often makes statements that other people have to apologize for later. Last week, however, he said something embarrassing even for him.

In an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Dean said, “The religious community has to decide whether they want to be tax exempt or involved in politics.” On this issue, he’s no more accurate than when he cited Job as his favorite book in the New Testament.

“Dr. Dean needs to get his facts straight,” said Pastor Rod Parsley, founder and president of the Center for Moral Clarity. “We can’t lose sight of the mindset behind this ignorant statement. The First Amendment applies to all Americans – even Christians. We don’t lose our citizenship in America when we become citizens of heaven.

“Dr. Dean also needs to learn about the role of churches in this country he so desperately wants to shape the policy of. Churches of all faiths and all political persuasions are involved in good works for their communities, providing relief to the poor, helping people end addictions to alcohol and drugs and restore marriages and families. In a very real sense, churches provide a subsidy to the government because of their good works, rather than receiving a subsidy. The tax burden Americans would face if churches failed to fulfill their mission might be excessive even for Dr. Dean.”

Dean has it backward. The religious community needs its First Amendment freedom restored, not to have what little rights it has taken away. CMC is a vocal supporter of the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, a bill to return to clergy of all faiths and all political persuasions the right to endorse political candidates in their churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship. This vital bill would return the rules concerning political speech to those in place more than 50 years ago, before an amendment to an IRS bill took those First Amendment rights away.

To learn more about the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, click here.


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