Sunday, April 10, 2005

Churches and Political Donations

This was a concern in the last election. Since most blacks in America are overwhelmingly Democrat, sometime the churches tend toward that direction. Black minister have their hands in politics as well. Ministers have stood for elective office and have served. In the last aldmermanic election in Chicago two ministers were incumbents and one of them lost his election. Also there is a minster, James Meek, who is a state senator having defeated a foe of his ally Jesse Jackson, Jr. Of course historically, a minister by the name of Adam Clayton Powell served as a United States Congressman for the state of New York.

In any case though, I would have one question. Should these ministers get politically involved and would doing so affect their spiritual mission? Whethere this is an issue that should be brought up, whether politically or otherwise, is another question. Besides, it was an issue that didn't appear to hold much water when Rev. Meek's opponent William Shaw was attemptin to retain his State Senate seat.

In any case I found this article and perhaps this is something I should maintain an interest in. Why? Because I'm not sure ministers or churches should become politically involved and they definitely shouldn't donate money to political campaigns. A minister should only worry about spirituality not politics. Of course, the two may overlap in areas of abortion, human rights, crime, euthanasia, etc. It is appropriate for a church or a minister to come out and speak on that issue and attempt to take action on that issue. It's just that the spiritual realm and the political realm should remain separate.

In any event the article from the Chicago Sun-Times doesn't just look at churches in general it does talk about non-profit organizations. However, I've picked out a quote that pertains to black churched offering donations to politicians. Here are the quotes:

Baptist churches and other religious organizations on Chicago's West Side were prevalent on the BGA's list. The Christian Love Missionary Baptist Church, Community Christian Alternative Academy and Good Hope Freewill Baptist Church all contributed to Citizens for Action, a West Side group that works to elect Democratic candidates.

Citizens for Action was the biggest recipient of nonprofit donations, collecting $14,250. Ald. Michael Chandler (24th), who has close ties with the group, made no apologies. He said his campaign and Citizens for Action will continue to accept donations until being told otherwise.


"Over history, African-American institutions have always been involved with politics, going back to the civil rights era with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King," Chandler said. "I don't see how you can separate the two in my neighborhood."

Other tax-exempt groups said they've consulted with lawyers who have told them that, while giving directly to candidates isn't allowed, they can make contributions that allow members to attend political golf outings, dinners and other fund-raisers.

Such is the case at St. Sabina parish, which in October spent $2,500 to send several parishioners to a Navy Pier dinner honoring African-American leaders which was run by the 17th Ward Democratic Organization. In May, the church spent $1,500 to send volunteers to the same organization's golf outing.

"If it's an event where people are going and eating a dinner or golfing, I don't see a problem with that," said the Rev. Michael Pfleger, St. Sabina's pastor.

Here's a little snippet of what's going on amongst black churches and who they give their money to. I would hope that if anyone cares about their church I hope they know who they're giving their money to. That's not to say that's merely a black problem because this is something everyone should be concerned about.

Read this article here.

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