Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Christian Voter's Guide

Fate delivered something interesting to my hands yesterday: A packet from a group called the Oregon Family Council.

The OFC is obviously a conservative Christian organization that intends to get Senator John McCain into the White House. Oh sure, the disclaimer at the top of the guide declares, in part: "It [the guide] is presented as a non-partisan, non-biased information service."

But when I checked the guide out, the intention became obvious to me. I recognize the point of the guide and so will everyone else who reads it.

Which, I am sure, is why there are several letters included in the packet.

The first one, dated April 22, 2008 is from Michael P. White who lists himself as the Executive Director of the OFC. In his letter, Mr. White asks the Pastor or Christian Leader: "Please make these guides available during your next services."

In the next paragraph of the letter, Mr. White mentions his legal backup team and declares that: "...the Christian Voter's Guide [Mr. White refers to the guide that way three times in his letter but the word "Christian" isn't part of the guide label on the actual publication] is non-partisan and non-biased and promotion and distribution of the guide should not jeopardize a churches tax-exempt status."

The second letter, dated April 18, 2008 was apparently composed and signed by three Oregon "Senior Pastors." In their letter, they claim that: "We've reviewed letters from [two legal firms], which state confidently that this year's Christian Voter's Guide sits safely within the safe harbor of acceptable political activity for churches."

"...safely within the safe harbor." How poetic.

The third letter, dated April 22, 2008 and labeled as a memorandum, is from O'Donnell, Clark and Crew LLP, Attorneys At Law. In the letter, the attorneys declare that they will: "...vigorously resist any attempt by the IRS or outside groups to silence or intimidate Oregon churches when churches believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ requires they speak on the public implication of Biblical themes."

The law firm then states that: "Christians have every right to be involved in the political process as individuals. Churches have every right to educate their members on important Gospel issues as they occur in the public sphere."

And nowhere in the letter does the law firm refer to the guide as anything beyond the "OFC 2008 Voter's Guide." The word "Christian" is not included.

The last letter, dated October 5, 2006 is signed by Gary S. McCaleb, who is listed as a Senior Counsel with a legal outfit called The Alliance Defense Fund. At the bottom of Mr. McCaleb's letter, he states that: "ADF is here to protect the precious, constitutional rights of churches and Christians. Please do not be silenced by fear or intimidation!"

From where I sit, every letter carries the implication that these people are trying to pull a fast one on the IRS and the American voters.

I don't agree with the OFC's choice for President of the United States. And that group can flap its "angel wings" all that it wants to in response to my words. I know and they know what they're really doing.

Their tactics don't bother me. I agree that they have the right to hand out their publication. I just wish that they felt comfortable enough to distribute it with a clear McCain endorsement and without all of those disclaimers and letters attached.

I feel this way because I believe that:

We, as a Nation, will never truly be free until we can declare our Presidential choice, everywhere, without any one's permission.

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