Bishops Muscling Votes

I’m concerned about a “vote this way” letter received recently from our local Catholic bishop. Urges a yes vote for the November ballot “MN marriage amendment” and that you send the “yes” group money. This church move oversteps the line in my opinion. I vote for the church to lose tax exemptions.



about 11 years ago

My understanding is that religious institutions are allowed to endorse (or oppose) ballot amendments without losing tax exempt status.  That's different from endorsing (or opposing) specific candidates for elected office (which they can't do if they're tax exempt).


about 11 years ago

Constitutional amendments are considered a non-partisan issue, hence nonprofit entities are allowed to comment one way or the other on those issues without risking tax-exempt status.


about 11 years ago

Constitutional amendments traditionally were non-partisan. That was until Republicans started putting their entire agenda into constitutional amendments.


about 11 years ago

In fairness I have to point out that this tactic was started in Minnesota by the democrats with the legacy amendment. Regardless, legislation by amendment is a shitty way to govern, and is a shortsighted manipulation of the system, with unknown long-term consequences.


about 11 years ago

The Legacy Amendment was a pretty bi-partisan undertaking (to be fair). Half of those proceeds go to conservation, environment, outdoor stuff and half goes towards the arts. Granted, some republicans have wanted to steal money out of the fund for other purposes, but that's why we actually needed that amendment in the first place. It can be a shitty way to govern when the goal is a restriction of rights. Prop 13 in California stripped the legislature's ability to raise revenue through simple majority vote. Adding unnecessary steps to casting a vote is another example. 


about 11 years ago

Personally, I don't care if the Democrats, Republicans, or another party started it. If the UU and UUC congregations were urging parishioners to "vote no" and donate money to liberal groups I'd say the same.

Then again, I think that all churches should lose their tax-exempt status. True charities founded up on religious principles should be subject to all of the rules that every other charity is.


about 11 years ago

I apparently misremembered the bipartisan aspects of the legacy amendment. I retread some old news coverage, and TimK is on the money about that. 

I still think its a shitty way to govern. Sidestepping the legislative process to push an agenda (which is what all these amendments are) doesn't become right or wrong based on whether you agree with the agenda. If it is truly that important, make it a campaign issue, work to elect those who support it, and then get it legislated. 

If the primary reason an amendment is proposed is that there isn't legislative support to get that idea passed as law, then it isn't really anything we want in our constitution. 


about 11 years ago


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