Comments for: Monday, July 9, 2012: Campaign money, Bring Jobs Home Act and religious freedom

Posted July 08, 2012, at 12:34 p.m.

Secret money Thank you for your Editorial on secret money in candidate elections. You’re right that the flood of secret money in American politics is bad for voters. But you missed an opportunity to support passage of the DISCLOSE Act of 2012. Under current law, corporations, unions, lobbyists and special …

Guidelines for posting on bangordailynews.com

The Bangor Daily News encourages comments about stories, but you must follow our terms of service.

  1. Keep it civil and stay on topic
  2. No vulgarity, racial slurs, name-calling or personal attacks.
  3. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked.
The primary rule here is pretty simple: Treat others with the same respect you'd want for yourself. Here are some guidelines (see more):

  • Anonymous

    Ann Luther, Daniel Harris, Sara Stalmann:  good letters.
    Rev. DeSanctis:  great letter.

  • Anonymous

    Dr. Stalmann: With all due respect, I think your call for compassion for those allegedly afflicted with “insatiable greed” is misplaced and unintentionally rationalizes what, as with Gov. LePage, the Koch Bros., and many others, is at heart a contempt for ordinary people that cannot be justified by a supposedly unhappy childhood, etc. These people deserve non-violent denunciations, not sympathy.  Save your tears for decent, not demented, people.

  • Rev. Joan DeSanctis,

    Free speech, and all that it entails, is a right endowed by our creator! Not some far off cabal of tyrants who *allow* us to speak our minds openly and without fear. If it were merely a king or group of elected leaders who allow us to speak our minds, then it is they who also can tell us what we can’t say or do.

    If you are afraid that your church wouldn’t survive without that tax exempt status, or some type of funding from the government, then you have a big problem. Especially if it means that speaking the truth might make your attendance numbers dwindle? Or for fear of being persecuted at the hands of the government? God forbid such timid behavior. Speak boldly, and hold nothing back.

    Because if it is only “faith-based organizations” who should be allowed to speak about spiritual things, who in turn are allowed to speak by the government, aren’t you just a mouthpiece for the government? Isn’t THAT a violation of separation of church and state, by restricting your right to voice an opinion on who or what to vote for?

    • Anonymous

      You and I are likely to agree that churches have a right to speak out on moral issues. 
      That does not cause a problem for their tax-exempt status.  It’s only a problem if they
      were to endorse specific political parties and/or candidates.
      However, you and I disagree about which position here is moral — you oppose fairness and equal treatment under the law.  I believe it is my duty as a Christian to support these values.  I believe we should boldly welcome the stranger, and seek justice for the outsider and the oppressed person.  You believe that it is good to further oppress those who are already oppressed.  I find your religious view to be lacking in both good moral judgment and compassion.

      • Please point out where I have said we should restrict the freedom of any person, or treat anyone unfairly or with disrespect. I have never said this, nor would I ever advocate any government enforcement of biblical laws.

        It is up to the individual to decide who they serve. If you choose to serve God, then serve God and let the consequences of that be what they may. We as Christians are to lead holy lives, to glorify the name of God, as an example for others to follow just as we try (in vain, mostly) to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

        We are not to enforce biblical laws and precedents upon people under the weight of government and law, which is why Jesus rebuked the scribes and pharisees of his time. It is an individual mandate to follow God’s laws, that by our free will we serve God out of love, rather than the fear of punishment under the law.

        This fear of punishment under the law, and the reasoning amongst ourselves, has resulted in making the traditions and laws we ourselves wrote as an authority among us, making the laws of God of no effect. This is something Jesus also rebuked the scribes and pharisees over: Because we fear the punishment, we change the laws from our own reasoning and limited understanding of things.

        It is when this thing we call government starts coming in and saying what I can or can’t say, or who I can or can’t talk about, support or vilify, that I have a problem with. I also have a problem with churches who water down the word of God to appease the masses, and in-so-doing also appease our elected officials who are put into positions of power by the masses.

        Telling people what to vote for or against, is indeed something I would refrain from doing. I would rather advocate for the individual (meaning you, dear reader) to refrain from such behavior that could put their mortal soul in danger of dying, regardless if it is legal through “the government” or not.

        • Anonymous

          To paraphrase you, when any church starts coming in and saying what I can or can’t say, or who I can or can’t talk about, support or vilify, I have a problem with that. 

          Actually, I don’t think vilification is appropraite for any person of faith and should be avoided by others also.  Sound like certain worldwide and/or conservative religions you can think of?  Finally, by your last paragraph, I can see where you’re coming from.  You’re probably a member of one of the church bodies I aluded to (and I think we can all figure out which those are).  Then again, you said your church should not tell people what or who to vote for, and we know how many churches hvae crossed the line on those issues.

          • So why is it okay for political organizations to be tax free in some respects, yet influence the way we vote? Isn’t that, on paper, no different from a church? Then why do we exclude churches from voicing their opinion, no matter how in error we believe it to be?

            Let the vote decide, and so be it.

          • Anonymous

            So how are political organizations tax free?  If they get advertizing writeoffs for their SCOTUS sanctioned pronouncemnets, that isn’t fair.  Check their charters.  They probably exist for the sole purpose of politics.  Not so for churches.

            OK, I’ll come out and name them.  The political pronouncemnets of the Catholic Church on a number of issues, including SSM, funded contraception, family planning, etc., are uncalled for. 

          • Like I said, let the vote decide. You don’t get to tell anyone what they can or can’t say, no matter how “uncalled for” it may be.

          • Anonymous

            Gopher, I think you and I agree on many things.
            However, churches and synagogues do have a right to take stands on moral and ethical issues, and that includes referendum questions.  They do not have the right to endorse candidates or political parties.
            The church I attend supports same-sex marriage and a woman’s right to choose.  Should we be quiet about these important moral issues?  No.  We believe in the importance of fairness, equality, and justice.  If we are quiet about these principles, then we are not true to our faith.

          • Anonymous

            Organizations that want to lobby and campaign for their view point have to set up a separate taxable organization in order to do that.  As far as I know the only two scoff-law organizations are the Catholic Church and Carl Rove’s PAC,  American Crossroads , which he claims is simply an informational organization. 

          • Any organization, regardless of their overall doctrine, are “informational” organizations. Everything is information, and this is verified by information theory which states as much.

            So, again… Why can’t churches speak freely? Why are we so ready to stifle free speech for churches? Who is next, when we don’t agree with what is said at that time? Will your “informational organization” be next?

          • Anonymous

            Nobody is stifling churches.   Preach what you want.   Require the congregation  tell beads, hold seances,  bow down,  light fires, whatever.   Just don’t tell the world they have to believe in your bead telling bowing  and fire lighting.   And don’t, if you want your tax free status to remain the same don’t preach politics from the pulpit.   Morality, sure preach all you want from the pulpit that’s what it’s for just don’t try to foist your morality off onto others. 

          • Anonymous

            In another post, Pat says, interestingly, that he/she does not attend church.  Apparently he/she is afraid that, in community, his/her prejudices might be challenged — therefore Pat decides to be a religious zealot and bigot in isolation.

          • Ah-ha, good one! When you can’t find anything constructive to say, tear down!

            But who said I was alone in my views? Just because I don’t go to a church, doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there who believe the same things I do. But that isn’t the point, you’d make fun of me even if I went to church, and that’s sad to think about.

          • Anonymous

            I go to church nearly every Sunday.  I never poke fun at church-going.
            In religious community, our views are sometimes challenged.  That’s healthy.
            Religious/spiritual experience is both validated and challenged by community.  Our peers provide a critical platform along with a network of mutual support.  Ministry is done in community, not in isolation.

          • “Nobody is stifling churches.”

            Yet!

          • Anonymous

            Churches can speak freely.  No one is stifling the right of churches or synagogues to speak out regarding any moral issue.
            On the other hand, churches have never been allowed to endorse political parties or candidates — that would violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment, just as shouting “fire” in a crowed theater violates the freedom of speech clause, and owning your own atomic bomb goes beyond the basic right to bear arms.   No freedom is absolute. 
            The churches are always free to endorse a position on a referendum question, and may have done so, and will continue to do so, as long as they remain non-partisan.

        • Anonymous

          Riote, you ask, “Please point out where I have said we should restrict the freedom of any person, or treat anyone unfairly or with disrespect.”  Here’s just one example:
          On Saturday’s page you said that Muhammad was a pedophile.  I’d call that disrespectful, to say the least! 
          Let’s start with the fact that, not far from here — New Hampshire — a girl can get married at 13 if she has parental consent.  Muhammad was betrothed to a girl, Aisha, when the girl was 6 or 7, but she remained in her parents’ home.  It is said that they actually married, and the marriage was consummated (with parental consent), when the girl was 9 or 10.  Now, yes, by my standards, that’s way too young.   But by the cultural standards of that time and place, it was not considered unusual. 
          You and I both disapprove — but you use the most disrespectful and even hateful term you can find to describe the primary prophet of one of the world’s largest religions.  And that was when you were on your strongest grounds — You regularly disparage Islam in every way you can, especially when you don’t know what you are talking about.  You look for things to rudely criticize, instead of extending a hand of friendship or saying a kind word or two. 
          And we won’t even get started about your anti-gay prejudice.  Your version of Christianity appears to bring out the worst in you, making you a more angry, less moral, and less kind person than those who have no religious beliefs.

          • Mohammad WAS a pedophile. Aisha was only NINE YEARS OLD when she was forced to have sex with a 50+ year old man! There is no way in hell a 9 year old boy or girl has any real concept of sex, unless it is foisted upon them unnecessarily, even in THAT time period. She didn’t have breasts nor did she even start her period! Back then, if you had those two things, you were a woman. A 9 year old girl, (except in rare cases today, probably from so many growth hormones in food…), doesn’t have those things!

            Go educate yourself and stop defending a false prophet of a false religion, because if disrespect is telling the truth, then so be it. Go cower behind your shield of “Islamiphobia” or some other politically correct term that you use to describe me, and bury your head in the sand all you want.

            We compromise with such evil, and try to doctor it up under “Oh well back then it’s how they did things!” Why?

          • Anonymous

            Did your religion encourage you to be such an angry bigot, or did you get this way on your own, and then you found a church that supported all of your prejudices?
            You and I both disapprove of that particular relationship, 1400 years ago — but I believe that the Samaritan is still my neighbor, and I have a duty to treat his religion with respect, and treat him with compassion.  You believe in hatred and disrespect.  How does that relate to your avowal of Christianity?  Who would Jesus hate?

          • I don’t go to church, I find it very hypocritical; I can’t find one that actually teaches anything aside from generic “feel good” messages. Plus, most people at churches I’ve been to are only “Christians” on Sunday. It’s quite sad.

            “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” – Mark 7:7 (KJV).

            Is the Koran inspired? Is it from God? There are many lies, but only one truth. Rebuke the evil from among you and be compelled to follow God to speak the truth boldly, no matter where it may lead or what type of violence comes against you. If you truly love your Muslim neighbor, you will try to show them the good news of Jesus, and do it regardless of the consequences.

            Turn the other cheek and do no violence, but… Rebuke, rebuke, rebuke!

            “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21 (KJV).

          • Anonymous

            So, I guess your answer to my question is that you became a bigot on your own.

          • Is the Koran inspired of God? Yes or no? It’s a simple question, and one that you skirt around.

          • Anonymous

            No, I didn’t intentionally skirt the question — I thought it an unimportant question among all of the more important issues that have been raised by our conversation.
            No, I do not think that the angel Gabriel literally gave Muhammad the words of the Qur’an.  Although the Qur’an is a great deal less violent than the Bible, the Bible, as imperfect as it is, is the book (or collection of books) that is the cornerstone of my tradition.  The Bible is “the Good Book,” not the perfect book.   The Qur’an, also, has much in it that is good; but no, it is not my book. 
            I think that in many ways the Qur’an imitates the Bible (as does the Book of Mormon).
            If I thought that the Muslims were more right than the Christians are, I would be a Muslim, but I do not think that. 
            Nonetheless, the Muslims are partly right about some things, most of them are good people, and my religious tradition, Christianity, teaches me to treat the people of other religious traditions with respect.

        • Anonymous

          Riote, you and I do, I think, have one or two areas of common ground.  For one thing, I think we both agree that churches and synagogues have the right, under our Constitution, to speak out on moral issues (including referendum questions) as long as the churches do not endorse political parties or candidates.
          You write, “I also have a problem with churches who water down the word of God to appease the masses…”  I agree here with the sentiment, but probably disagree with you on the details. 
          First, we look at the phrase “word of God” differently.  I don”t think the Bible is a magical book, magically perfect in all of its details.  God’s word can be found in the Bible.  It is not, however, a “paper Pope,” perfect in all details.   It is wrong in its consistent support for slavery, for instance.  The idea of the Bible’s infallibility is not “that old-time religion,” but is a modern concept, unheard of before 1600 and rare before 1900.
          And second, our calling as Christians is to be disciples of Jesus, to follow the way that he taught us to live — it is not a calling to believe in impossible things; and it is not a calling to be prejudiced against society’s outsiders, or against people of other religions. 
          In fact, Jesus specifically used an outsider,  a member of another religion, a Samaritan, as the hero of his most famous parable. 
          The Samaritans were regarded by many as half-breed heretics, members of a religion that got important things wrong, which is specifically why Jesus turned things on their head by naming a Samaritan the hero of the story.  “Who is my neighbor?” a man asks Jesus, and Jesus launches into the story of “The Good Muslim” (or “the Good Gay Guy”) to put it in today’s terms. 
          The “Samaritan” is anyone you are prejudiced against.  That person is your neighbor, the person you are called on to love.  “Love” here doesn’t mean to hurl criticism at them, nor does it mean that they have to become just like you in their thinking.  It means that you need to treat them with respect and understanding.
          Churches that teach prejudice against Muslims or gays are watering down the Gospel, the good news that seeks justice for the stranger, the foreigner, the oppressed person, and the outsider.  Churches that ignore the Bible’s constant mention of the poor, the sick, the widow and the orphan, the foreigner, the oppressed, the weak, and the stranger as people who deserve our welcome and the justice of the land are watering down the Gospel.  Churches that fail to teach love and compassion and humility are watering down the gospel.  What does the Lord require?  To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).

          • Go look up Ivan Panin (December 12, 1855 – October 30, 1942), an Atheist, Russian born multi-lingual mathematician, who’s work on the bible led him to believe that it is the “infallible” work of God that it truly is.

            To date, no one has proved him wrong.

            But it doesn’t matter, because sin is sin. We’re all sinners. The “good Muslim” or even the “good gay guy” is still a sinner in need of repentance. By denying that they are sinners, you take part in their sin, by trying to make their sin seem less-than sinful.

            Even today people try to use the bible as a justification of their sin, no matter how in error they are about it. They say “I have no sin,” and therefore the sin remains!

            “And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?

            Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.”

          • Anonymous

            Try this please, and tell me which Bible verses are true, and which are false:
            Exodus 24:9-11, “Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up [on the mountain] and they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.  And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.”
            Gospel of John 1:18, “No one has ever seen God.”
            Epistle 1 John 4:12, “No man has ever seen God.”
            If John is right, Exodus is clearly wrong; if Exodus is right, John is clearly wrong.
            Tell me about your paper Pope — how can it be infallible, perfect in all things, if it is also wrong sometimes?

          • Anonymous

            Matthew 17:1-7 will answer your question. There is no inconsistency.

            And there is no perfect man; not even the Pope.

            For a self-proclaimed Christian, you sure do spend a lot of time fighting your own people. 

          • Anonymous

            Matthew 17:1-7 does not answer the question at all.
            Is Exodus right and John wrong, or is John right and Exodus wrong?  To me, the two clearly contradict one another.  Did Moses, Aaron, Nadan and Abihu and the elders of Israel see God (as Exodus says) — or, has nobody seen God (as John says twice)?
            You want it both ways, but I don’t think it works.
            I’m not fighting Christianity or the Bible, although I dislke distortions of the Christian message, and evil done in the name of Christianity. I do think that our Christian faith teaches humility, and respect for other religions, something that Pat Riot seems to not believe. 
            And I use “The Good Book,” the Bible, not a perfect book, not a “paper Pope” (and we agree that the Pope is not perfect either, even though Catholics say he is infallible under certain circumstances, just as fundamentalists say the Bible is infallible).  I don’t fight against Christianity, I struggle against distortions of Christianity.

          • Jesus was on the mount. Jesus is just the image of God, who no man really sees. That is why it is written, that no may go to the FATHER except through the SON.

          • Anonymous

            Exodus says they saw God.  John says no one has seen God. 
            I see what you are trying to do: you want it both ways. I don’t think it works.

          • Anonymous

            You dodged the issue — was Jesus right or wrong, when he made a Samaritan (a heretic) the hero of his story?  Did he mean for us to show respect for people of other religions, or to be disrespectful?  Was Jesus wrong to welcome everyone to his banquet table? 
            You say that gays and Muslims are sinners, but was Paul wrong when he said that everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory? Doesn’t that make you and I sinners, too? Was Jesus wrong when he said, “Judge not, so that you will not be judged?”
            Just how much of the Gospel do you reject?

          • “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” – 1 Timothy 5:20 (KJV).

            “Samaritan” isn’t a separate religion though. It’s an ethnic division that Jews had at the time (and MANY still do today).

            It would have been more like Jesus talking about “the good black man” to a group of listeners in the deep south around 1856. Jesus plainly and openly rebuked the pagan traditions within the Judaic system. You can’t serve two masters…

          • Anonymous

            Jews use the entire Hebrew Bible (the entire Old Testament).  the Samaritan religion uses only the first five books, the Torah, or Five Books of Moses, only (just as Christians use both the Old and New Testaments, but the Jews use only the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament).
            To Jews, the holiest site is in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount.  To Samaritans, it is the place where their Temple once stood on Mt. Gerezim. The Jewish and Samaritan religions went their separate ways when Israel split into the northern kingdom of Israel (with its capital in Samaria, hence the Samaritans) and the southern kingdom of Judah (from which we get the name “Judaism”).
            Samaritans are a separate religion from Judaism, with a different understanding of what constitutes holy Scripture; there are only a few thousand Samaritans today.
            Yes, the “Good Samaritan” story could be “the Good Black Man” in the segregated South of the 1950’s.  It could be “the Good Republican” if one is prejudiced against Republicans, and “the Good Democrat” if one is prejudiced against Democrats. 
            It is whoever you are prejudiced against — you are prejudiced against gays and Muslims, so for you it is “the Good Muslim” or “the Good Gay Guy.” 
            For me?  Probably “the Good Fundamentalist.”

  • Anonymous

    Rev. Joan DeSanctis, good letter.  Thank you.  Here are some additional thoughts:
    Churches do have a right to speak out on moral issues.  Taking a moral stand on a referendum question does not cause a problem for their tax-exempt status.  It’s only a problem if they were to endorse specific political parties and/or candidates.
    The United Methodists, despite their name, are divided on many issues.  It is impractical for the “United” Methodists to take a position either for or against the freedom to marry referendum question, because many Methodists support fairness and equal treatment under the law  for gays and lesbians, but on the other hand many other Methodists do not.  
    Roman Catholics are a top-down organization, and so the political positions of that denomination come from the hierarchy, and reflect the views of that hierarchy.
    Many evangelical and fundamentalist churches oppose fairness for gays and lesbians, and fail to heed the biblical calls to welcome the stranger, and seek justice for the outsider and the oppressed person — instead, they find a very small number of biblical verses that appear to support their anti-gay prejudice, take these verses out of context, and use them to justify their opposition to fairness and equal treatment (using the same method, many of the same churches supported slavery and racial segregation in the past).  They will oppose the freedom to marry in this referendum.
    Several “mainline Protestant” denominations, including the Episcopalians, the United Church of Christ (most but not all of the Congregational churches), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church USA — and some difficult to categorize churches such as the Unitarian Universalists, the Swedenborgians, and the Friends (Quakers) — and along with Reform Jewish synagogues — are likely to join with the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination, which supports marriage, including the freedom to marry for same-sex adult couples.
    So some churches will oppose fairness and equal treatment for gays and lesbians, some will support these important family values, and some, like the United Methodists, are likely to remain divided and silent.

    • Anonymous

      Unfortunately, some of the other church bodies you cite are also divided over many of the issues:  Espicopals, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Presbyterians, etc.  Actually, I prefere a church that accomodates a variety of views rather than the top-down (“Thoe shalt …”) churches like Catholics and many conservative Christian bodies and congreagations.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, it’s true that the Episcopalians, ELCA Lutherans, Presbyterian Churech USA are not unanimous in their support for equality and fairness — but those national denominations, plus the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalists, Reform Judaism, and some others, allow the ordination of qualified clergy who just happen to be gay or lesbian.  They allow their clergy to officiate at same-sex weddings.  That leaves their clergy more able to support the freedom to marry in Maine.
        The United Methodists deny ordination to otherwise qualified clergy if they are gay or lesbian, and do not allow their clergy to officiate at same sex unions.  That’s why pro-equality Methodist clergy can’t easily speak out on this issue, except at great risk to their careers.  The United Methodist Church has a lot of great clergy who support fairness and equal treatment, but the United Methodist advertising slogan, “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds” falls flat in light of the official anti-gay policies of the national denomination.
        And, full disclosure, I’m the son and nephew of United Methodist ministers; they are both now deceased.  I have a warm place in my heart for the Methodists, it’s the faith tradition of my childhood and youth, but I cannot in good conscience be a Methodist anymore.

  • MaineHiker

    How do you spell disgusting? “If Angus King wins the Senate race, will
    he commute to Washington, D.C. in his brand-new Mercedes Benz RV? It
    would be wasteful to leave the custom-built $130,000 24-footer in his
    Brunswick dooryard. But driving 11 hours — one way — would get old
    quick, no matter how deluxe the accommodations.”

    • Anonymous

      Envious much?

      • Anonymous

         That is a left wing malady.

        • Anonymous

          Really?

          • Anonymous

            It seems to be the lefties here seem  to focus alot on what others have. 

          • Anonymous

            it’s not what you have, it’s what you have and how it’s used to hurt people. You know the ones who aren’t normal, rich, or smart, and oh oh not let us for get the lazt and the poor.

          • Anonymous

            Good point, but I believe there is always an assumption that because someone has a Mercedes, someone else was hurt.  Can anyone but George Sorros or an entertainment figure be extravagent without criticism?

          • Anonymous

             I’m not talking, about Mr. Sorros, I’m talking about the Cheesecakes of the world.

        • Anonymous

           I’m rubber and you’re glue! What a compelling argument.

    • Anonymous

      I fail to see the relvance of this rant.

  • Anonymous
    • Anonymous

      We have a guy running for President that makes his money by hiding his savings accounts overseas and sending jobs overseas. Support bringing jobs home by voting for Obama. 

  • Anonymous

    Ann- I agree we should know who and how much they are spending.  If money is speech then we need to know how big their mouth is and how loudly they are speaking.
    Daniel- I feel anyone who does not vote to eliminate tax incentives for moving jobs should be sent home or tried for treason.  My guess is the Republicans will vote it down in the House or try to add some bull to it that has nothing to do with the bill.  
    Dr. Stalman– you hit the nail on the head with the Republicans
    Rev. DeSanctis–great letter

  • Anonymous

    Rev. Joan DeSanctis – 
    “To anyone who says that church is no place to talk about these issues, you tell them there is no place better—no place better,” Michelle Obama told those in attendance at the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s general conference in Nashville.

    It would seem as if the First Lady has declared that the separation of church and state should be ignored when it comes to re-electing her husband. Nothing new, of course. The Democrats have been using the church to campaign for decades. Then they blast a Republican if they do the same. That good-old double standard at work.

    I say that Mrs. Obama has lifted the restrictions on preaching politics from the pulpit; at least for this election season.

    • Anonymous

      I didn’t know that Mrs. Obama had run for office or been elected. As far as I know she has the right to speak as much as you do.

      • Anonymous

        She’s campaigning for another term as First Lady. That is an office with a lot of power.

        • Anonymous

          She’s not campaigning to be First Lady. She’s campaigning for her husband to be re-elected. You even say so in your intitial comment.

          • Anonymous

            Well, of course she’s campaigning for her husband. But if he wins, she get another four years as First Lady. Duh.

          • Anonymous

            Nobody wants the job of First Lady.   You get criticized from all sides every day about every little personal thing you do.  There is no way a First Lady can do anything right.   The only way to avoid massive criticism is to simply smile sweetly and pretend you don’t have a  brain.  If you do anything else someone will complain that you are too bold, too bossy, too intellectual, too educated, too political,  to opinionated, to contentious,  too whatever.    First Lady is a thankless job.   You don’t see any women out campaigning  for the position.  

          • Anonymous

            That’s not what you were trying to argue. Keep your duhs to yourself. 

        • Anonymous

          Umm, I’m not even going to google that. I think if you are making the claim that First Lady is an elected office, you should be the one posting your source.

        • Anonymous

          She holds no elected office. Her talk was non-partisan, and it wasn’t in a church, nor was it from a pulpit.  She told her audience that, yes, the church should be discussing the great moral issues of our day.
          I’m sure you find that sinister because a Democrat said it.  If a non-office-holding Republican said the same thing, you would sing her praises.

      • Anonymous

        Ms. Obama used her speech in a church to campaign for her husband. This is clearly a no-no and she should know better. I hope you are not supporting this violation of IRS regulations by the First Lady?

        PS: Ms. Obama’s blunder was the fact she used part of her speech to praise the President’s policies while criticizing the Republicans for not helping the middle class.

        • Anonymous

          She was not in church.  She was at a conference center in Nashville Tenn.  And she was not campaigning for her husband.   Her topic was African-American activism.  

          • Anonymous

            Yes, you are right. Before checking out my sources I ascribed Valerie
            Jarret’s speech to Michelle Obama’s by mistake. Thanks for the
            correction.

    • Anonymous

      Separation of church and state does NOT mean that a church cannot take a stand on a moral issue — such as taking a side on a referendum question.  It DOES mean that churches cannot endorse candidates or political parties.  So the First Lady was correct when she said that the churches can discuss these issues.
      Churches have every right under the law, and (I believe) a moral obligation, to discuss issues such as poverty, homelessness, war and peace, domestic violence, and other issues that have moral implications.
      Some churches will support fairness and equal treatment in Maine by endorsing the freedom to marry; others will oppose these values; still others will remain neutral.  That’s all fine under separation of church and state — as long as they don’t endorse candidates or political parties.

      • Anonymous

        Is your blindness to the obvious voluntary or do you invoke it just to be argumentative?

        • Anonymous

          What’s obvious?  Elucidate.

          • Anonymous

            EJ is unable to explain his rude remark — he has written on this page since then, but he avoids explaining his mean-spirited insult.

        • Anonymous

          Like everyone I know, I always flunk the mind-reading test, EJ.  If you have something to say, say it. 
          By the way, I wrote a respectful reply (above) to you, and you replied with an insult, which I suppose you did just to be argumentative. Could you please try to be a little nicer?

          • Anonymous

            Actually, you capitalized words to emphasis your disagreement. Capitalization isn’t respectful. 

            And, I’m always nice.

          • Anonymous

            You completely avoided my question — you rudely said to me: “Is your blindness to the obvious voluntary or do you invoke it just to be argumentative?”  I told you I can’t read your mind.  Will you please tell me what you meant by your rude and insulting comment?
            EJ, I repeat: I gave you a polite answer.  You answered me in a mean-spirited, rude manner.   Your contention that you are “always nice” is an obvious falsehood.
            It is true that, not knowing how to do italics on this page, I did put two words in capitals so that they would be clear — that’s not the same as those who rudely put their entire message in capitals, the equivalent of shouting.  If I knew how to do italics on this page, that would have been my preference.  I have been polite in spite of your attempts to be mean-spirited. 
            Please answer my question.  What did you mean by your insulting remark: “Is your blindness to the obvious voluntary or do you invoke it just to be argumentative?”

          • Anonymous

            It’s obvious that the left works under a double standard, yet those on the left refuse to see it. Their refusal to see the obvious has to be a case of voluntary blindness, either that or they just to it for the sake of argument. 

            And I am always nice. Unless, of course, that double standard is invoked.

          • Anonymous

            EJ, please give some example of this double standard you imagine.
            Here’s the real double standard:  Right wing preachers frequently endorse the Republican Party and Republican candidates from the pulpit.  Msally gives some examples on this page.
            But you get mean-spirited and insulting when Michelle Obama speaks to a church-related convention audience at a conference center and tells them that the church should be addressing the great issues of our day, as it has done in the past.
            Yes, that’s a double-standard, all right.
            And no, you are not a nice person.  Don’t kid yourself.

      • Anonymous

        I agree with your comment as far as what is allowable conduct by tax exempt churches. I believe however the First Lady crossed the line in her speech by making a pitch for her husband’s re-election. Although I am not certain, I believe the church where she made her speech appearance claims a tax exemption with the IRS.

        • Anonymous

          Whawell,  she wasn’t at a church.   She was on stage at a conference center at Nashville Tenn.   There was no pulpit.   There was a podium.   There wasn’t a congregation, there was an audience. She was the keynote speaker at the AME conference.   Her topic was not the re-election of President Obama.   It was about the importance historically and currently of African American activism.  

          • Anonymous

            Yes, you are right. Before checking out my sources I ascribed Valerie Jarret’s speech to Michelle Obama’s by mistake. Thanks for the correction.

    • Anonymous

      Welcome back, EJP, you must have been gone for a while too.

      Discussing is one thing, telling parishionerts how to vote (with the implied or stated threat of excommunication) is another.

    • Anonymous

      Mrs Obama did not campaign from the pulpit nor did she advocate preaching politics from the pulpit . Why would she of all people tell people to do something illegal.    She addressed the AME conference in Nashville, TN  from a conference center stage  and spoke about  the history and effect of African American activism.   Here are her exact words, in context.

      “Because we know that the only way to be heard above all the noise is to lift our voices up together. 
      So I want you to talk to your friends and your family, your neighbors. Talk to them. Talk to folks in the beauty salons, the barbershops, the parking lot at church. Tell them what’s happening on the city council and out in Washington. Let them know. Find that nephew who has never voted — get him registered. (Applause.) Start an email list or a Facebook group. Send people articles about issues you care about, and then call them to make sure they’ve read them.And to anyone who says that church is no place to talk about these issues, you tell them there is no place better — no place better. (Applause.) Because ultimately, these are not just political issues — they are moral issues. They’re issues that have to do with human dignity and human potential, and the future we want for our kids and our grandkids. And the work of inspiring and empowering folks, the work of lifting up families and communities — that has always been the work of the AME Church. (Applause.) That’s what you all do best.”

      • Anonymous

        This is campaigning from the pulpit.   This is illegal

        Bethlehem Baptist Church, Bethlehem, Ga.: According to press accounts, Pastor Jody Hice “urged his congregation to vote for Sen. John McCain and to not vote for Sen. Barack Obama.”

        Fairview Baptist Church, Fairview, Okla.: TheAssociated Press reported that Pastor Paul Blair “says he told his congregation that as a Christian and as an American citizen, he would be voting for John McCain.”

        Warroad Community Church, Warroad, Minn.: Pastor Gus Booth told his congregation, “We need to vote for the most righteous of candidates. And it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure that out. The most righteous is John McCain.”

        Calvary Chapel, Philadelphia, Pa.: The Rev. Francis Pultro told the congregation, “As Christians it’s clear we should vote for John McCain. He is the only candidate I believe a Christian can vote for.”

        First Southern Baptist Church, Buena Park, Calif.: The Rev. Wiley Drake said, “I am angry because the government and the IRS and some Christians have taken away the rights of pastors. I have a right to endorse anybody I doggone well please. And if they don’t like that, too bad….According to my Bible and in my opinion, there is no way in the world a Christian can vote for Barack Hussein Obama. Mr. Obama is not standing up for anything that is tradition in America.”

        New Life Church, West Bend, Wisc.: Speaking from the pulpit, Pastor Luke Emrich said, “I’m telling you straight up I would choose life. I would cast a vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin.”

        • Anonymous

          I guess I could list the many, many times that the Democrats have used church pulpits for campaigning purposes, but since the most recent ones have dealt with demonizing the Republicans and building support for Obama, then I’d be called a racist.

          • Anonymous

            Go ahead, list them.  

      • Anonymous

        Thank you, msally!  I’m sure that the far-right folks will find something to object to in that, but I can’t see any problems with what the First Lady said. 
        Of course the right-wing churches frequently break the law by telling their parishioners how to vote, but that’s okay, because God is on their side, or so they believe.

  • Anonymous

    It was suggested by another poster here a week or so ago that it our politicians should be forced to wear suits like NASCAR drivers with all their sponsor names sewn on them.

    You are absolutely correct that the disclosure rule should be made law. As it stands now, thanks to the Supreme Court, King Saud of Arabia could buy controling stock in a so called US Corp. and pump millions into campaigns run by that corporation and not have to disclose the source. I for one would like to know the source of the money.

  • Anonymous

    To all those good Christians, who  regularly turn up  at legislative hearings eager to meld church with state ,   Mrs. Obama’s speech did not violate the separation of church and state. 

    She did not preach in a church, to a congregation, from the pulpit.   She spoke from behind a podium, on a stage,  to the people at the 49th Quadrennial session of the General Conference  of the AME at the  Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, in Nashville, TN.

    She did not preach.  She was the keynote speaker at the conference.   She did not campaign for President Obama’s re-election.  Her topic was African-American activism since slavery.

     You can stop hyperventilating now; the separation of church and state has been preserved.    It was nice of you to be so concerned that  Mrs. Obama stick to the letter of the law.   It would be equally nice if we could expect the same from you.

Similar Articles