Monday, February 20, 2006

Win at Any Price

A recent e-mail from the Interfaith Alliance shows just how low the Republicans are willing sink to win an election: soliciting church directories. In North Carolina, the state Republicans Party office is asking religious leaders for their church directories. Several church pastors, rightly so, have said they will not divulge their lists, citing inappropriate entanglement of partisan politics and religion.

In response to this attempt by the GOP to obtain these lists to solicit supporters and obtain contributions, Rev. Dr. Welton Gaddy , President of The Interfaith Alliance and Pastor for the Preaching and Worship at the Northminster Church in Monroe, Louisiana, released a statement condemning this attempt to mix politics and religion. He said, “If I found out that my church membership was shared with a campaign or political party, I would begin immediate legal action against the campaign or political party. It’s a serious mistake to consider worshipers in religious institutions as just another bloc of voters like farmers, labor unions, and corporate executives.

“Collecting church directories intrudes on the integrity of houses of worship and compromises them by classifying them as political organizing tools…. and could lure religious organizations and religious leaders into dangerous unconstitutional territory.

“Furthermore, the national GOP says the collection of church directories is for voter registration efforts. No one bought that defense during the 2004 elections and we won’t buy it in 2006 either. The role of religion and values in the 2004 election was that of a political strategy employed to achieve apolitical goal—winning an election—which there is no reason to believe that has not changed.”

Has the GOP no shame! Don’t they get it or are they just so enamored with winning at any cost that any tactic is fair game. You would think that this particular tactic having been rejected in 2004 would not be tried again, but I guess in the take no prisoners world of Rove and company anything goes. The excuse that it is for voter registration is laughable considering the Florida scandal where voters likely to vote Democratic were illegally purged from the voter rolls so that Bush would win the state.

If you hear of any attempt by political parties in your state to engage in this unconstitutional practice, I urge you to report it to The Interfaith Alliance at: policy@ interfaithalliance.org.. This reprehensible tactic must be stopped.

David M. Goldberg

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