Editorial: Church and state must continue separation during election season

The separation of church and state is not explicitly stated in our Constitution. However, Thomas Jefferson first used the phrase to express the intent and function of both the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, and the Supreme Court has upheld this view through numerous precedents.

This principle, a part of our American political heritage, is currently under attack. This election cycle has seen many instances of churches, namely Catholic churches, discriminating against parishioners based on their political beliefs.

On Sept. 28, the archbishop of Newark sent a pastoral letter, addressed to over 1 million Catholics in his archdiocese, demanding that Catholics who support marriage equality refrain from receiving Holy Communion.

That is not all. According to Faithful America, "In Illinois, a bishop wrote a newspaper column implying that voting Democratic 'places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.' In New York City, right under the nose of the nation's highest-ranking bishop, a priest literally printed a Romney endorsement in the parish bulletin.”

We at Gavel Media recognize that there are Catholics on both sides of the metaphorical political aisle, and are not about to get into a debate regarding questions of church doctrine. Churches certainly have a right to express their opinions and positions on an issue, but in no way, shape or form can endorse or attack a candidate from the pulpit. Not only do these acts make parishioners who hold a different belief than the official Church position feel unwelcome and discriminated against, but they are also unconstitutional and place the non-profit, tax-exempt status of the Catholic Church in jeopardy.

Therefore, we strongly urge the IRS to fully investigate any claims and complaints brought before it. Proper enforcement of the tax code is necessary to ensure religious freedom and that church and state remain separate.

 

Comments