Sep 23, 2005

"Mingling church and state" [LINK]

Okay, it's been a while since posting, but this letter to the Globe sure got me going:

Many religious leaders support same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, this weekend promises to bring throngs of parishioners to pulpits where priests and ministers will be encouraging everyone 18 and over to sign a petition to support a popular vote on banning gay marriage. Churches pushing these petition drives are mingling church and state to such an extent that their tax-exempt status should be be questioned. Contributions to gay marriage advocacy groups are not tax-deductible. It is unconscionable for religious figures to coerce a congregation into signing this petition....
Yes, some religious leaders support gay marriage; totally irrelevant. No, it is not a mingling of church and state for church members and their leaders to express their opinions in the public square. Note the implicit threat in bringing up their tax-exempt status: you'd better shut up! If there has been any encroachment, it has been from the realm of politics, upsetting entrenched societal norms. Finally, to sign a petition based on the word of your pastor is not to be coerced any more than it is to be stopped on the street by someone with a clipboard. Think of it: you're already there for an hour of often excruciating boredom. Is that coercion?

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