Topic: Rev. Barry W. Lynn
Senate made the right call in rejecting reckless religious right overture, says Church-State watchdog group
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today hailed a Senate vote rejecting tax funding for religious facilities in the economic recovery package.
“The Senate has voted to reaffirm an important American principle that religious groups should pay their own way and not expect funding from the taxpayer,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United.
The 54-43 vote came after Religious Right groups began complaining that the proposed economic recovery bill (H.R. 1) was hostile to religion. In fact, the legislation merely states that tax funds used for school construction and rehabilitation may not be diverted to religious institutions. «Read the rest of this article»
Watchdog group’s election analysis suggests religious right may target state and local government for next advances.
The Religious Right’s access to power in Washington, D.C., has been seriously diminished, but its divisive influence at the state and local level remains deeply problematic, according to an election analysis by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
“Religious Right forces did everything in their power to demonize Barack Obama and maintain their influence in the White House,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, “but it didn’t work. The majority of white evangelicals voted predictably Republican, but most other Americans ignored the Religious Right’s shrill and partisan message.”
Lynn noted that Religious Right groups distributed grotesquely biased voter guides, goaded evangelical pastors into issuing partisan appeals from the pulpit and made dire predictions about the consequences of an Obama victory.
“James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Richard Land and Company did everything but declare Obama the Antichrist. In the end, they kept their own flock in line, but the majority of Americans were unmoved. On Jan. 20, the Religious Right’s eight-year run of the White House will come to a screeching halt.” ~~ Rev. Barry W. Lynn «Read the rest of this article»
Most clergy have rejected religious right drive to push churches into partisan politics, says AU’s Lynn
The overwhelmingly majority of America’s religious leaders have apparently rejected the Religious Right’s efforts to politicize their pulpits, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
A new poll by LifeWay Research has found that 95 percent of pastors strongly disagree that their church has provided any endorsements. Baptist Press, the news service of the Southern Baptist Convention, reported Oct. 30 that 53 percent of Protestant pastors affirmed that they have “personally endorsed candidates for public office this year,” but only outside of their church roles.
Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, “I have always believed that the vast majority of America’s clergy had no interest in politicizing their houses of worship. Pulpit partisanship divides congregations and communities and jeopardizes the integrity of religious institutions.” «Read the rest of this article»
Decision is out of step with other rulings, watchdog group says
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has criticized a ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the use of sectarian prayers before government meetings in Cobb County, Ga.
The court ruled 2-1 that Cobb County’s practice of opening meetings with prayers that include references to specific deities is constitutional. Americans United and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia argued that under Supreme Court precedent, communities must use non-sectarian prayer.
Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, “The Constitution gives government officials no authority whatsoever to prefer one religion over others. This decision is very disappointing.” «Read the rest of this article»
Church-State watchdog group sends 100,000 letters to religious leaders nationwide
Americans United announced today that 100,000 letters have been mailed to clergy and lay leaders reminding them that federal tax law prohibits tax-exempt entities, including houses of worship, from endorsing candidates.
“Houses of worship are supposed to tend to spiritual needs and do charitable work, not act as political action committees,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “Our letter reminds religious leaders about what the law requires, why it makes sense and how it could affect them.” «Read the rest of this article»
Church-State watchdog group says Pastor violated federal tax law with call to vote for McCain
According to a report in the Associated Press, Bishop Robert Smith of Word of Outreach Christian Center in Little Rock told congregants, “I will be voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin.”
Smith later admitted that he took this action fully aware that federal tax law prohibits houses of worship from opposing or endorsing candidates. He told the Associated Press, “It’s about principle. I wouldn’t care if it’s my mother. If she isn’t for life or for heterosexual relationships, I wouldn’t vote for my momma.”
Smith’s violation of the law was part of a larger effort coordinated by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a Religious Right legal group. The ADF sponsored a so-called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” Sept. 28 during which pastors were urged to violate federal tax law by endorsing or opposing candidates from the pulpit. Smith had planned to take part in that event but was out of town at the time. «Read the rest of this article»
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