Saturday, May 26, 2012

Maine churches fighting marriage equality via the collection plate

Even if this legal, I don't think that it's morally right. It's one thing for church members to vote as their conscience dictates, but when the church itself becomes a tax-exempt political machine, we have problems.

From the NY Daily News:

Scores of Maine churches will pass the collection plate a second time at Sunday services on Father’s Day to kick off a fundraising campaign for the lead opposition group to November’s ballot question asking voters to legalize same-sex marriages.

Between 150 and 200 churches are expected to raise money for the Protect Marriage Maine political action committee, said Carroll Conley Jr., executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine evangelical organization and a member of the PAC. Conley is also trying to drum up support for the Maine campaign from religious leaders from around the country.

It’s unusual, but not unheard of, for churches to take up collections for political causes. Maine’s Catholic diocese says it raised about $80,000 with a designated collection in 2009 in its effort to overturn Maine’s same-sex marriage law, which was passed by the Legislature that year and later rejected by voters. The Catholic Church isn’t actively campaigning this time, instead focusing on teaching parishioners about the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

Father’s Day, June 17, seemed an appropriate time to kick off this year’s fundraising campaign because of the day’s focus on family, Conley said. Additional collection-plate offerings at churches are expected in the months ahead.

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JT said...

When churches become politically active, they should lose their tax-exempt status. That's all there is to it.

Anonymous said...

That's terribly unethical and underhanded of them.

I would quit a church like that.

They are basically pressuring parishioners to make a donation toward that cause even if they don't want to or believe it is right. They know that some (or many) will not want to appear supportive of marriage equality in opposition to the church by not placing something in the plate.

In fact a whole row of people who support marriage equality but haven't indicated as such to each other, are likely to put something in the plate because each thinks that everyone else in the row opposes marriage equality.

That's terrible.

rottenqueerchristian said...

These Churches are choosing an inanimate institution called "marriage" over the lives of living, breathing, human beings. You can't claim Christ as your Saviour if you're not loving your neighbor as yourself, and I don't see them denying themselves marriage.

Some Teacher said...

I'm ready for a stronger stand than JT. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution neither states nor implies special tax status for religious institutions. It is time to tax all religions (including my own).