Monday, June 25, 2007

Rev. Barry Lynn "Disappointed" in Barack Obama

Rev. Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, insists that Barack Obama did not illegally mix religion and politics with his June 23rd speech at the United Church of Christ's General Synod in Hartford.

And yet, he's disappointed by Obama's actions.


In his article, "No Foul Here," Lynn states:
The IRS has stated repeatedly that not all candidate appearances before houses of worship or religious groups are a violation of the Internal Revenue Code. The Code allows these kinds of appearances as long as the candidate and the religious group do not promote the candidacy.
Then a few moments later, Lynn admits:
During his speech, Obama mentioned his presidential run. He shouldn’t have done so, and I am disappointed that he made the reference. But those remarks did not transform the event into a political endorsement.
Here's a "disappointing" remark from Obama's speech, which is posted at the UCC's official website (picture above shows UCC President John Thomas [far left] and Associate General Minister Edith Guffey [center] listening to Obama's speech):
Our conscience cannot rest so long as nearly 45 million Americans don't have health insurance and the millions more who do are going bankrupt trying to pay for it. I have made a solemn pledge that I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family's premiums by up to $2500 a year. That's not simply a matter of policy or ideology – it's a moral commitment.
So according to Lynn's own understanding of IRS codes, Obama broke the law.

Plus, UCCtruths has photographs of campaign tables set up outside the facility, with staffers recruiting support.

Doesn’t that obligate the AU to take action?

Or, does Lynn's expression of personal disappointment provide sufficient atonement?

James Lord at the American Spectator muses:
Had this been a church of the "Christian Right" and the candidate a conservative, Lynn and various liberals would have been all over cable TV demanding an IRS investigation. Instead, silence.
Earlier I reported that Lynn and the AU has kept silent since the State of Connecticut underwrote the United Church of Christ's rental of the Hartford Civic Center to the tune of $100,000.

Now, Lynn sees no foul that warrants AU action against Barack Obama's campaign.

If this is the AU’s attitude toward religious liberals and politicians, fine.

Actually, I personally like it. If states want to generate business by offering financial incentives to religious groups, fine. If religious groups want to host politicians campaigning for office, fine.

Just apply the same generous standard to conservatives.


Anonymous said...

I don't know much about Lynn but to me the fact that Obama was at the General Synod would have to in some way promote his candidacy. But the fact that Obama is UCC and running for office and was asked to talk in front of the Church's General Synod is ok with me. Plus you have to wonder how much it is just Lynn trying to cover his own bee-hind.

Anonymous said...

Um, do you remember the "Let Justice Roll" and the other event about anti-abortion that were held by the far Christian Right? Billed as religious events to mobilize the faithful in these areas, and which did include political speakers. Though I wish Obama hadn't made this statement, the realityis that it didn't transform the speech into a partisan political event.

As for the tables set up outside the convention center - as long as they were on public land with permits if needed and/or not part of the UCC's display, there is nothing against them doing that. It's the whole freedom of speech thing.

Deb K.

Living the Biblios said...


I do remember "Let Justice Roll." My point is that Rev. Lynn needs to be consistent, but he isn't.

Thanks for stopping by.