poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Crossing The Church-State Line? Bush campaign effort to recruit ‘friendly’ houses of worship, new bill rapped. James D. Besser - Washington Correspondent

Questions about partisan political activity in churches blew up in the middle of the presidential campaigns last week with accusations that the Bush-Cheney team is trying to enlist religious institutions as campaign platforms.

And the issue is resurfacing in Congress, where a measure ostensibly ensuring “free speech” rights for religious leaders, opposed by an unusually broad array of Jewish and other religious groups, was stealthily inserted into a big tax bill.

The Bush blowup came when church-state groups uncovered efforts by the president’s re-election campaign to recruit up to 1,600 “friendly” houses of worship in Pennsylvania. According to Americans United for Church-State Separation, the goal was to “build a church-based political machine” to serve the president’s re-election efforts.

An e-mail from the campaign distributed to news organizations by the church-state watchdog group suggested the congregations could serve as places where “voters friendly to President Bush might gather on a regular basis.”


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