Soliciting churches for membership
In Spring 2004, the Bush-Cheney campaign in Pennsylvania attempted
to obtain the membership lists of 1,600 conservative churches so
that the Bush-Cheney campaign could contact the membership of the
churches and encourage them to vote for Bush-Cheney.
The Bush-Cheney campaign defended the action.
"Our nation has always been guided by
a moral compass. In every generation men and women have
protested terrible wrongs and worked for justice." George
W. Bush. Independence
Day Celebration, July 2001.
"America rejects bigotry. ... Every faith
is practiced and protected here, because we are one country."
George W. Bush. Parkside
Hall, San Jose, California April 30, 2002.
Volunteers for the Bush-Cheney campaign were expected to send their church
directories to the Bush-Cheney campaign. Other duties included:
Identify another conservative church in your community who we can
organize for Bush.
By Sunday, September 17, all non-registered church members must be
registered to vote.
Distribute voter guides in your church.
Get-out-the-vote program in your church place reminder bulletins
about all Christian citizens needing to vote in Sunday program or
on a board near the church entrance.
It must be known by the Bush-Cheney administration that any church that
gives its membership list to a political party is violating the law and
can lose their tax-exempt status. Further, an individual who did it would
be violating the trust of their fellow church members, just as it would
be inappropriate to share the membership list with a marketing group.
Attempting to get these membership lists is unethical and can be seen
as trying to coerce religion for political gain. Nonetheless, the Bush-Cheney
campaign defends this action.
Some Christian leaders have written letters to the Bush-Cheney administration,
telling them how bad this is.
Do you see the message in their instructions? Christian citizens need
to vote presumably, others don't. The only moral that this administration
seems to recognize is political expediency.
Here are websites that discuss the issue:
Baptist Message Online was appalled. Onew spokeperson called it
a "shameless attempt to misuse and abuse churches for partisan
Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs discusses the issue.
Interfaith Alliance has warned churches to be aware legal and ethical
violations if they give address lists to the Bush-Cheney campaign.
Baptist church-state specialist Richard Land is appalled at these
moves by the Bush-Cheney campaign.