I feel it is extremely inappropriate for a political campaign to
distribute voters guides in a house of worship or to use the
congregation's directory to contact voters. People go to their various
houses of worship to worship, not to listen to political campaigns or
be inundated with nonreligious writings. If a political campaign
wants to reach out to a community, they can go door to door, introduce
themselves and hand over the voters guides to residents; if no one is
home they can leave a voters guide behind. Politics do not belong in a
house of worship!
Lisa A. Sokol, Knoxville, Md.
Channeling God at the Video Cafe (The Washington Post, Sep 5, 2004)
REVELATIONS (The Washington Post, Sep 5, 2004)
Should Political Campaigns Distribute Voter Guides in Churches? (The Washington Post, Sep 5, 2004)
At Teen Magazine, Faith Is in Fashion (The Washington Post, Sep 4, 2004)
In Congress, Religion Drives Divide (The Washington Post, Aug 28, 2004)
More Religion Stories
It is wrong and most inappropriate. Our Founding Fathers were quite
aware of the separation of church and state having had firsthand
You will find that the majority of main-line churches do not do this; it
seems to be the fundamentalist churches who do not have governing bodies
and each church has their own rules and regulations. They feel that they
know who people in their congregation should vote for and their
parishioners are easily swayed and are not knowledgeable about politics.
It is an affront to all this country stands for.
Ann Rudd, Arlington, Va.
Campaigns are expected to leverage every tool possible. They are really the
lowest of the low and I don't expect much from them in terms of conduct.
The church, on the other hand, should have its tax-exempt status revoked
immediately unless it can be proved that they provided exactly the same
access to all parties in the race. If I were a member of the congregation,
I'd quit regardless of circumstances. The trusted relationship between
church and parishioner ought to be, shall we say, sacred.
Eric Graves, Alexandria, Va.
I am Mormon, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is very careful to not endorse any party or candidate. I am a registered Independent, but usually vote Republican. I
will likely vote for Bush, but I am undecided.
I agree that a church should not be a pulpit for a candidate's campaign. Rather, if a candidate is going to give a speech to a church, equal opportunity should be given to the other side of the aisle.
Kaua'i Mansur, Anthem, Ariz.
Someone could stand outside a church and talk to people coming and going,
but not in a place of worship of any faith.
We should be free to worship without encountering campaign efforts for an
elected office in our place of worship and, in particular, during services.
Congregations should welcome participants regardless of their political
affiliations or beliefs.
Peggy Drake, Baltimore Md.
As a practicing Christian, I can only note that Jesus said, "Render unto
Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are
God's." Church and state must be kept separate; to combine them endangers
each. No one should be allowed to place the imprimatur of God upon any
candidate. Any church that tries such a thing should immediately lose its
John Floars, Woodbridge, Va.
Thirty years ago, I spoke out against prayer in public schools because, as
I said then, "Who will be designated to write the prayers?" The question
is the same regarding voters guides in houses of worship. "Who will be
allowed to write the guides?" Other than the simple act of encouraging
people to vote and assisting them in the process of registering to vote,
voters guides in formal religious settings are inappropriate at the very
least and, in some instances, may violate the Constitution. The answer is no!
Ronald F. Christian, Fairfax, Va.
Chairman, Fairfax County Faith Communities in Action
I can see two sides to this question. On the one hand, the separation of church
and state should be respected for many reasons, and so should the identity
of church members. Should politicians who do not comply with that
separation benefit from the practice of campaigning this way while others
who comply do not?