Our Question of the Week asked readers, Should churches take sides in political contests?
Religious groups already are too involved in politics
In a word? No! Churches are given tax advantages denied to the rest of us because, allegedly, they are concerned only with charity and good works.
Increasingly, however, churches are using their tax-free status to influence legislation supporting (and imposing) their beliefs. An excellent example is the Mormon church, which put millions into fighting Proposition 8. We’ll never know how much influence the negative ads enabled by church money had on denying same-gender couples the simple right to marry the person they love.
Churches use our tax money to pay lobbyists who influence legislation. Is there any doubt these efforts swayed the current administration to attempt to eliminate the Johnson law?
Thanks to the Hobby Lobby ruling, a business can now impose its religious belief on the reproductive lives of employees. We’ve seen county workers refuse to do their jobs because of their religious convictions. Why should any public servant be able to refuse to do their job because their religious beliefs are offended? Religious entities are allowed to lobby in the legislature for this legalized bigotry.
Why should they be enabled to preach politics from their pulpits? Why should they be permitted to impose their religion on the public or their employees? These are not the United States of Jesus (or Mohammad or Jehovah, etc.)
If churches wish to become political forces, they should refuse the generous tax breaks they’re presently allowed.
— Pam Wright, Pasadena
Asking whether churches should be involved in politics raises the question of who’s treading on whose turf. When government redefines marriage and forces nuns to facilitate abortion, which side is guilty of overreach should be obvious.
— Kathy Bence, South Pasadena
Why separation is needed
Spiritual politics is an oxymoron. Politics involves opinion; religious truths are unyielding.
The people we elect have to govern for everyone of every philosophical and ideological persuasion. That demands compromise, and God’s word cannot compromise, provide grey areas, or wiggle room. Therefore, the separation of church and state is necessary.
— Jim Jernigan, Walnut