GoMemphis: Columnists: .....The President wants to turn churches into "faith-based" government subcontractors. Now some members of Congress want to turn churches into political action committees. A bill in Congress would amend the tax code to allow churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship to get involved in partisan political campaigns.
Well, that ought to produce some interesting sermons. "God wants you to vote for Shrubya and his candidates in the next election. No, really, he does. God told me so himself." (Mind, that probably happens anyway.)
I don't imagine that the law quite violates the establishment clause. After all, it reverses things; it's not the state giving money to religion, but religion giving money to individual candidates. (Although there is that pesky "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" thing. Does "no law" in fact mean "no law"?) And, technically, isn't religion basically a very specific interest group, viewed that way? Why on earth shouldn't they be allowed to give money the way any other tax-exempt group can? ... oh. Tax exempt groups can't give money. Oh, dear.
Where this law might have constitutional problems, in fact, is that it separates churches out from other nonprofit groups and treats them differently, for no legislatively good reason other than that "we wanna."
(And now for something completely different and utterly unrelated: somehow, I find it disturbing that the Library of Congress THOMAS site makes it look as though the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are unrelated documents. A nit, I know, but it's just weird.)Posted by iain at August 28, 2002 12:12 PM
They're not entirely unrelated because the text of the latter refers to the former, but they are separate historical documents.Posted by Dominik at August 28, 2002 11:40 PM
They're not entirely unrelated because the text of the latter refers to the former, but they are separate historical documents.
The whole Constitution as most recently amended is Senate Document 105-11, available from the Government Printing Office at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=105_cong_documents&docid=f:sd011.105 (or in PDF).
Thomas.loc.gov's Historical Documents section points to the National Archives and Records Administration site, which displays the documents as originally (separately) written. That's probably what they should be doing: is it the lack of a link to the amended version that's disturbing?
(Please forgive the mangled post.)Posted by Dominik at August 28, 2002 11:57 PM