Polluting The Pulpit?: Virginia Attorney General Urges (Right-Wing) Churches To Be Political

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has been a thorn in Americans United’s side for the past few years. A staunch ally of the Religious Right, Cuccinelli seems to have no problem using government to promote right-wing theology.

His 2010 memo on government-sponsored holiday displays was less than helpful. Americans United had to issue a statement warning that towns that took his advice without additional legal counsel might get sued.

Yesterday, Cuccinelli appeared at a Virginia Christian Alliance (VCA) breakfast in Fredericksburg to brief pastors on the law relating to political activity. He correctly reminded his audience that churches can’t endorse candidates, for example, and he distributed a handout reprinting some information made available by the Internal Revenue Service.

But Cuccinelli also blithely told the pastors that their churches can distribute voter guides – without warning them that most guides are produced by partisan operations intended to steer congregants toward certain candidates. Handing out biased guides is a clear violation of federal tax law.

Regardless of the specifics of his remarks, however, I had to wonder what Cuccinelli was doing there in the first place. Turns out he wanted to help the VCA, a hardball Religious Right outfit, prod churches to get more involved in political issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

“You have a lot of freedom of action, and I would encourage you to use it,” Cuccinelli said.

Since when is it the attorney general’s job to urge churches to dive into politics?

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I'm a non-theist. I recognize Mr. Boston's arguments as old school atheism - heated rhetoric devised to rally the troops in times of panic. It is time to realize that the separation of church and state is not violated by the communications of religion and politics; and furthermore it should be recognized that organized religions would suffer if exposed to the public scrutiny that politics has to offer. It is in the best interest for atheists to understand that atheism would be much better served if the organizations were to constitute as being political interest rather than a lame educational organization. No body in their right mind would be so stupid as to believe that atheist organizations are more of a refuge of knowledge than a component of their political activism. Change your thinking a little bit Mr. Boston, and put those rhetorical skills to real use for the betterment of mankind.
Thank God the pastor-teacher of my church made it a rule that no one could bring political info or anything backing a party or candidate into his church. He truly understood the separation of church and state!

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