Church Expels Kerry Supporters! Religion Run Amuck?
Photo of President Bush at the Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover
As reported, Pastor Chan Chandler of Waynesville, North Carolina, participated in an expulsion of church members who didn't support George W. Bush in the 2004 elections.
Members of the congregation said Chandler told them during last year's presidential campaign that anyone who planned to vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry needed to leave the church.The pastor now calls it a "misunderstanding" and stated through his attorney today:
"No one has ever been voted from the membership of this church due to an individual's support or lack of support for a political party or candidate," he said.However, the story continues:
Nine members said they were ousted during a church gathering last week by about 40 others because they refused to support President Bush. They attended Sunday's service with their lawyer and many supporters.What is going on in America? And what are Americans doing to each other in the name of God? Was Jesus a big advocate of war? Was Jesus a big advocate of cutting programs for the poor and cutting taxes for the wealthy?
Chandler noted their presence in his welcome to the congregation, saying, "I'm glad to see you all here. ... We are here today to worship the Lord. I hope this is what you are here for."
And where did all of this start anyhow?
Last July, the Washington Post looked at President Bush's religion strategy. They reported a very detailed plan for church members:
The instruction sheet circulated by the Bush-Cheney campaign to religious volunteers lists 22 "duties" to be performed by specific dates. By July 31, for example, volunteers are to "send your Church Directory to your State Bush-Cheney '04 Headquarters or give [it] to a BC04 Field Rep" and "Talk to your Pastor about holding a Citizenship Sunday and Voter Registration Drive."So is it surprising that these kind of abuses should occur? This kind of thing is absolutely outrageous....but somehow we have gotten used to this. It shames me that this is going on in America.
By Aug. 15, they are to "talk to your Church's seniors or 20-30 something group about Bush/Cheney '04" and "recruit 5 more people in your church to volunteer for the Bush Cheney campaign."
By Sept. 17, they are to host at least two campaign-related potluck dinners with church members, and in October they are to "finish calling all Pro-Bush members of your church," "finish distributing Voter Guides in your church" and place notices on church bulletin boards or in Sunday programs "about all Christian citizens needing to vote."
Thomas Jefferson, in his famous 1815 letter to Peter Wendover, a new member of Congress, about the role of preachers in giving political advice:
Whenever, therefore, preachers, instead of a lesson on religion . . . [teach] on the construction of government, or the characters or conduct of those administering it, it is a breach of contract, depriving their audience of the kind of service for which they are salaried . . . In choosing our pastor we look to his religious qualification without enquiring into his [scientific] or political dogmas, with which we mean to have nothing to do.It is time for America to have preachers that preach religion and politicians who speak of the law! It is time for Americans to honor the First Amendment requirements keeping religion out of government and government out of religion!
America Deserves Better! As John Kerry has stated:
"My entire person is affected by my belief structure, by the values given to me both through my parents and through religion," he said. "But I don't make decisions in public life based on religious belief, nor do I think we should. I think there is a separation of church and state."Thank you Senator Kerry! Our very freedom to worship God as we choose depends on that committment by government to protect the religious freedom that brought Americans here from Europe and elsewhere, seeking the safety and protection our freedom offered them! Keep that door open for 2008!