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Old 08-21-2004, 12:51 PM   #1
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Ohio Catholic gets phone call

I just got an e-mail from a Catholic in Ohio. He is the moderator of one of my listservers. He received a phone call last week from a fellow parishioner, asking him to show up to register voters after Mass this weekend. He asked the parishioner which church group was organizing this activity. To his shock, the parishioner told him it was the Republican Catholic Outreach project. He told the guy no. Earlier this year there was talk of the RNC trying to get hold of parish lists for campaign purposes. This is really uncool. The Republican Party and the Democratic Party should stay the heck out of our parishes.
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Old 08-21-2004, 01:10 PM   #2
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Why? The parties are trying to increase support from all sorts of groups, religious and secular.
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Old 08-21-2004, 01:19 PM   #3
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I don't like the idea of parties coming into churches. Let's say I got a phone call from a parishioner asking me to do this. I'd ask them where the heck the idea came from. If they said it was the Democratic Party Outreach or whatever, I'd tell them no. If Church group X decides to hold a voter registration after weekend masses, that's not a problem. If a partisan group decides to do this I'm opposed to this in principle. People are already questioning the tax-exempt status of the Catholic Church because of allegedly illegal political connections. This doesn't help matters.
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Old 08-21-2004, 01:30 PM   #4
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I would rather have an outside group approach the church instead of church officials getting involved.
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Old 08-21-2004, 01:43 PM   #5
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This is really uncool. The Republican Party and the Democratic Party should stay the heck out of our parishes.
You are right.

It is repugnant.


We have our "American Jihadists"
so much for a pluralistic society.


Some people don't care if it is not their ox that is being gored.
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Old 08-21-2004, 01:49 PM   #6
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Well, you've got a point. If I organized a voter organization at weekend masses, it could be argued, I suppose, that the Democratic Party was doing it since I'm a Kerry supporter. In the Ohio case, they didn't tell the priest that the Republican Party was organizing the thing before they did the phone calls. They called the church, told them they were organizing a voter registration drive but didn't mention that they were from a party. In other words, they did the whole organizing thing incognito. This is what pissed off my contact from Ohio. I'm just not comfortable with the Republican Party or the Democratic Party going in to register voters at a church. I guess it's not that big a deal but this guy was very angry and fired off the e-mail on a national list. When I read it I was pissed, but I guess it's no big deal.
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Old 08-21-2004, 01:56 PM   #7
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Originally posted by deep


You are right.

It is repugnant.


We have our "American Jihadists"
so much for a pluralistic society.


Some people don't care if it is not their ox that is being gored.
Why create a different standard for churches? Isn't that repugnant in itself?
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Old 08-21-2004, 02:43 PM   #8
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Well, this guy was upset, but it was partially over the incognito thing. Perhaps someone has told the parish priest that it's the Republicans. The thing is, I'm wondering if this isn't connected to the RNC looking for lists of parishes. Earlier this year there was a rumor that the RNC was trying to get parish lists. Perhaps they got the lists. Anyway, the contact wants us to e-mail him back if this is going on at our parish this weekend. There haven't been any announcements, and they usually plan things like this a week in advance, so I'm not expecting anything at church tomorrow.
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Old 08-21-2004, 06:40 PM   #9
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I have three ministers in my family (father, sister, brother in law) and we were all irked when Republicans were asking for lists of church members. Despite all the religious connections in my family we all are firm believers in separation of church and state. I agree verte, if Democrats did the same thing I would be just as annoyed.

(I'm back by the way, some of you may remember me as U2andPolitix. I haven't posted in forever no thanks to a screwy computer )
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Old 08-21-2004, 08:03 PM   #10
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Originally posted by U2democrat
I have three ministers in my family (father, sister, brother in law) and we were all irked when Republicans were asking for lists of church members. Despite all the religious connections in my family we all are firm believers in separation of church and state. I agree verte, if Democrats did the same thing I would be just as annoyed.

(I'm back by the way, some of you may remember me as U2andPolitix. I haven't posted in forever no thanks to a screwy computer )
Hey, I remember you! Welcome back! Another Kerry supporter!
So the Republicans asked for your church lists also? Yeah, I really object to this in principle, but what the heck, even if the vote people are there tomorrow I think most likely I won't do anything.
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Old 08-21-2004, 10:18 PM   #11
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SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!!
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Old 08-22-2004, 12:18 AM   #12
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this has nothing to do with "separation of church and state"
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Old 08-22-2004, 01:22 AM   #13
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
I would rather have an outside group approach the church instead of church officials getting involved.
I think the best thing would be for any such effort to come from the parishioners themselves, and not as part of any group at all. If the the parishioners of a particular parish wish to set up a voter registration drive within it, it should be very easy to obtain the proper materials from their county or state government. I would be a bit worried if I was running the parish that by allowing a partisan group to run a voter registration drive at the church that it could be seen as helping a particular candidate and might hurt the tax-exempt status of the church. (Of course, I don't think churches should be tax exempt in the first place...but that's fodder for another thread.)

I do realise that many churches do invite or allow politicians to speak at their churches, but I strongly disagree with that practice also. I think that a church should limit it's participation encouraging their parishioners to learn about the issues and candidates and vote as they see fit (in pretty much those words and those worlds only), and that is all.


Quote:
Charities, educational organizations and religious organizations, including churches, are exempt from paying taxes under section 501(c)(3) in the IRS code. They are forbidden, however, from participating or intervening in any political campaign or for or against any candidate.


Churches may not endorse candidates, make donations to their campaigns, engage in fund-raising, make statements or become involved in other activities that “may be beneficial or detrimental to any candidate,” according to an election-year advisory from the IRS in April.


Even churches that use non-partisan criteria to encourage people to vote one way or another violate the code, according to the IRS. Churches may sponsor debates or forums to education voters, for example, but if the event shows a preference for or against a particular candidate, it is a violation
I also think that by allowing a partisan group to have a voter registration campaign at a church could give that group access to the church's membership list, which could also be problematic for that church (see quote below).

Quote:
Also on Thursday, Religion News Service quoted IRS officials saying that handing over church membership rolls to a political campaign could violate federal regulations.

The Bush-Cheney campaign recently urged church-going volunteers to turn over membership lists of congregations likely to be Bush-friendly.

A church directory landing in the hands of a political campaign “would certainly raise some red flags,” Joseph Urban, a manager in the IRS tax-exempt division told RNS.

IRS regulations forbid non-profit organizations from giving a mailing list to a partisan political campaign unless the campaign pays for it, Urban said, adding that a church membership roll counts as a mailing list.

Such lists must be sold at fair-market value and made available to all candidates. IRS guidelines say, “To ensure the list is equally available to all candidates, a [non-profit] organization should inform the candidates of the availability of the list,” according to RNS.
The quotes here are from this article EthicsDaily.com is from the Baptist Center for Ethics...not exactly a left wing organization.
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Old 08-22-2004, 10:31 AM   #14
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I agree indra, I'd rather it was on the initiative of another parishioner. It could be argued that if Parishioner X plans to vote for Bush, and polls do show that many practicing Catholics plan to vote for Bush, he or she is a Republican. But suppose Parishioner X just wanted to make sure his or her fellow parishioners vote, and not necessarily for Bush? This would be fine with me, and I'd help if asked. When it's someone from outside the parish, either Republican or Democratic, I don't like it. Maybe it's the Southerner in me, we tend to not trust politicians because our politicians have screwed us to hell and back.
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Old 08-22-2004, 09:49 PM   #15
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I don't like politics in Church at all. I don't go to mass to get recruited to vote. Is nothing sacred anymore?
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