Jun 11, 2004
NCC on “Safe Harbor”
‘Safe Harbor for Churches’ Is Slippery Slope, NCC Warns
Tax Bill Would Let Congregations Endorse Candidates
June 11, 2004, WASHINGTON, D.C.—Despite overwhelming opposition from nearly two dozen religious denominations, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Tom Delay have ordered a version of Rep. Walter Jones’ “Houses of Worship” Political Speech Restoration Act to be included on page 379 of a 398 page tax bill (H.R. 4520, American Jobs Creation Act of 2004).
Entitled the “Safe Harbor for Churches” bill, the legislation would radically alter the nation’s historic tradition of separation of church and state and “raise moral questions about the actions of religious leaders and their congregations and disrupt the political process itself,” said the Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA (NCC), an association of 36 U.S. denominations with 45 million members and more than 100,000 local congregations in all 50 states.
“This bill creates a slippery slope that endangers both the integrity of the electoral process and the historic American concept of a prophetic religious community that explores issues from a moral and spiritual perspective but carefully refrains from playing partisan politics,” Dr. Edgar said.
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