Vote for Obama and risk damnation?

This is a Catholics Called to Witness ad, and it looks pretty — oh, I don’t know — political to me, which would render the organization not worthy of their tax exempt status. If you agree, sign the petition.

You can read more about the ad here and here. You can visit Catholics Called to Witness‘s website here. Want to know about religious organizations and tax exemptions? Here! Let the IRS help you.

And thanks, Leftover, for the links.

ADDENDUM: Jac sent this, a sermon by a much-respected area minister, Rev. Dr. Carl F. Schultz, Jr. It’s 10 minutes, and Jac asks: He’s talking, at about 6-minute mark, about economic justice Is this political?

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  1. Yuck. Unfortunately I don’t think the IRS restrictions– though I’ve read them only for local churches– have teeth here, as no candidate was mentioned. It’s pretty thickly encoded, though, isn’t it?

    1. Interesting. By not actually mentioning a candidate, they can eek through? That may be true. I read what I thought were the pertinent points and this is definitely political.

    2. This is clearly a political message. One need only look as far as the USCCB and Timothy Dolan for verification. Even without mentioning a specific candidate, the message is obvious;if you’re Catholic, don’t vote for Obama.

      It’s clear the Catholic Church has learned the lesson other extremist groups learned in decades past: The Power of Nightmares.

  2. Nice bait-n-switch maneuver from The House of Moral Squalor. Sure, there’s the pandemic child rape cover-ups, the Vatileaks scandal, and the jack-booted nun crackdown … but look! Oooohh, a scary, liberal black man in the White House!

    Apparently the pontiff did not attend parochial school. If he had, he’d know ya never mess with the nuns.

    1. There’s 101 today? There was only 40 yesterday. I find that encouraging.

      But okay…i filled out the form…although I think AU might get hung up on the “specificity” issue. (I’m a little surprised in hasn’t showed up on their radar already.) That’s why it’s also important to sign the petition. People need to make it clear to folks in charge of mediating the separation of church and state how they feel about things like this.

      We only have our voices and signatures to confront the billions of dollars and the state-sanctioned power of the RCC. Exploiting as many venues as possible is necessary.

  3. There’s a scene from an episode of West Wing where Bruno Gianelli (Ron Silver) explains the difference between a candidate ad and an “issues” ad – basically changing only a couple of words. I can’t find it on YouTube but given that explanation (and that is something Sorkin would have probably gotten true-to-life), my guess is this ad is well within the legal bounds, especially in today’s political climate.

  4. With the candidates so divided on some issues, it’s easy to run an issues ad and at the same time be crystal clear about the candidate supported, without saying. I don’t know the law, but wonder if this would technically pass as ok. It’s no secret that the Pope does not bend on certain issues and expects Catholics to follow. However, there is an undertone of threat in this video that is disturbing.

    1. “there is an undertone of threat in this video that is disturbing.”


  5. The whole idea of Religious Freedom is very confusing to me. You are free to join and be a member of any religious organization, but once you’ve joined, you’re not free to believe what works for you within that framework but must believe only what you’re told to believe. And you’re free to join that church instead of another, but the other church’s freedom might be impinged by the one you’ve joined. Do I have that right?

  6. So a couple things:
    first, wouldn’t the scary picture of the Pope on their web site scare people away anyway?
    second, does it work to petition the IRS? I hope it does, but kind of doubting it.
    Finally, it doesn’t tell you who to vote for. Most C’s are D’s, so encouraging them to vote might be a good thing.
    The whole ad is upside down, but I’m going to hell anyway, so it’s time for a drink.

    1. Save a seat for me. Oh, wait. I’m probably older. I will get there first. I shall save your seat.

    While there are certainly political themes in his sermon, I think there are distinct differences between his sermon and the propaganda created by Catholics to Witness.

    Rev. Schultz is clarifying and interpreting scripture for the benefit of his congregation…in church. And even though it was recorded and made available to those congregants and “seekers” who may be interested, it is not a commercially manufactured Hollywood-style production most similar to what comes out of a sales department…or a SuperPac.

    And, unless I missed something, Rev. Schultz never mentions voting. He speaks in general terms about justice and equality and where he feels those things emanate from and where they belong. The Catholics to Witness video is very clear in the action that Catholic faithful are expected to perform. And equally clear on the consequences of failure.

    “You can’t vote for Justice,” a preacher once told me. “If you don’t live it, you don’t get it.”
    That’s what I hear from the Rev. Schultz.

    1. Yes, I don’t have an issue with this sermon, but Jac raised an interesting point: When we agree with a message, we usually don’t mind if it’s political. Or, at least, I don’t mind.

      1. I think Jac is probably correct. My exposure to sermons is extremely limited, though, and I usually err on the “too critical” side…considering my disposition concerning religion in general.

        Speaking from The Unclaimed end of the bench…I think that preacher struck an acceptable balance. One cannot reasonably expect preachers to avoid political themes. Jesus didn’t. But…if memory serves…he didn’t spend a lot of his time telling people how to vote.

        1. I think the world of Rev. Schultz and agree with you, leftover, that he struck an acceptable balance. And, no where is there an implied threat. I have often thought that religion has no place in politics, but discussion of political issues is part of the discussion of how to put religious beliefs into action. The law is confusing to me. I have my opinions and aside from personally disagreeing with the message in the YouTube video, the delivery is most disturbing to me. However, that bullying, threatening tactic goes with the judging, punishing God image that is very much a part of some religions. I don’t like it, but is it wrong for those who have involved themselves with that religion?

          1. I suppose beauty (and God) are in the eye of the beholder, but coming from a fear-based religion, myself, I can say that that kind of foundation makes for some odd choices in regards to people who don’t worship like you.

  8. Religion, because it influences so many people, will always influence politics. It is the degree of influence that has become troubling…blurring the boundaries, so to speak, between church and state. A secular society seeking to provide “religious freedom” in the private sphere needs to be vigilant against the “purpose, power and public consequence” of organized religions seeking to impose control over the public sphere.

    I couldn’t say if it’s right or wrong to worship one god instead of another…because I don’t believe in gods. And if one group of preachers want to take their message on who to vote for to the streets, there’s really not much anyone can do to stop them. But I don’t think they should be afforded tax-exempt status when every other organization that participates in electioneering must pay taxes and report their activities to secular authorities.

    A society that “sanctifies” churches through preferential treatment in the public square risks its status as “secular” and endangers the very “religious liberty” it seeks to protect.

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