Nebraska Observer Weblog

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David Weidner, Council Bluffs

Omaha World Herald – PUBLIC PULSE – June 14, 2008

Protect that wall

In the June 10 Pulse, Tim Kissner wrote, “Pastors have every right to speak from the pulpit about issues that affect the live of their parishioners.”

As many people know, the free-speech rights of religious leaders are already broadly protected by the U.S. Constitution. Clergy can and do address public-policy concerns like abortion, gay rights, the death penalty, etc. But by federal law, clergy may not endorse or oppose a candidate for public office or use their churches’ resources in partisan politics. Their churches’ tax-exempt status is contingent upon that.

If congregations decide they want to go further and raise funds for campaigns, they have the legal right to give up their tax exemption. This almost never happens, of course.

Political decisions should always be based on rational and sound reasoning, not on religious dogma. For the millions of us (and growing) who cannot believe in something super-natural, it is important that the wall between religion and government remain intact.

David Weidner, Council Bluffs

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