Saturday, March 27, 2004

Time to Revoke Tax-Exempt Status

When the Catholic Church is conducting political purges within its ranks, they shoudn't be allowed to maintain their tax-exempt status. This stuff is ridiculous:

Message to church employees who support John Kerry's presidential bid: public endorsement of the pro-choice Catholic senator could cost you your job.

Just ask Ono Ekeh, founder and moderator of the Catholics for Kerry e-mail discussion list and, until March 9, program coordinator at the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for African-American Catholics. The 33-year-old father of two is now looking for work.

It all started in late February when Deal Hudson, publisher of Crisis magazine and a key player in the Bush campaign outreach to Catholic voters, revealed in his widely distributed weekly "e-letter" that Ekeh hosted the pro-Kerry site. Hudson is a leader of efforts to get U.S. bishops to publicly confront pro-choice Catholic elected officials.

"Look," wrote Hudson, "it's one thing for a Catholic to be a pro-life Democrat -- that in itself is a perfectly legitimate position and consistent with our Catholic Faith. However, it's completely unacceptable to follow Ekeh and trade away our pro-life responsibilities."

Such litmus tests only ever seem to apply to Republican party policy positions which are aligned with the positions of the Church, and not, say, the death penalty. I'm not Catholic, so to a great degree what happens within the Church is none of my business. But, once they align themselves with a political party while retaining their tax-exempt status, it is my business.