Bush Seeks Church Membership Data

  1. retrieved this from http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/elections...01193109990003
    (not sure if non-aol users can access this...)
    updated: 07:27 am edt

    bush seeks church membership data
    by david morgan, reuters

    washington (july 1) - president bush, seeking to mobilize religious conservatives for his reelection campaign, has asked church-going volunteers to turn over church membership directories, campaign officials said on thursday.

    in a move sharply criticized both by religious leaders and civil libertarians, the bush-cheney campaign has issued a guide listing about two-dozen "duties" and a series of deadlines for organizing support among conservative church congregations.

    a copy of the guide directs religious volunteers to send church directories to state campaign committees, identify new churches that can be organized by the bush campaign and talk to clergy about holding voter registration drives.

    the document, distributed to campaign coordinators across the country earlier this year, also recommends that volunteers distribute voter guides in church and use sunday service programs for get-out-the-vote drives.

    "we expect this election to be potentially as close as 2000, so every vote counts and it's important to reach out to every single supporter of president bush," campaign spokesman scott stanzel said.

    but the rev. richard land, who deals with ethics and religious liberty issues for the southern baptist convention, a key bush constituency, said he was "appalled."

    "first of all, i would not want my church directories being used that way," he said, predicting failure for the bush plan.

    the conservative protestant denomination, whose 16 million members strongly backed bush in 2000, held regular drives that encouraged church-goers to "vote their values," said land.

    "but it's one thing for us to do that. it's a totally different thing for a partisan campaign to come in and try to organize a church. a lot of pastors are going to say: 'wait a minute, bub'," he added.

    the guide surfaced as a spate of opinion polls showed bush's reelection campaign facing a tough battle.

    a wall street journal/nbc poll showed bush running neck-and-neck with democratic presidential candidate john kerry among registered voters, 47 percent of whom said they now believed the president had misled americans about the threat posed by saddam hussein's iraq.

    the bush campaign has also been spending heavily on television ads, only to see the president's approval ratings slump to new lows.

    stanzel said the campaign ended the month of june with $64 million on hand. he had no figures on how much bush has raised in june. at the end of may, bush had raised $213.4 million and spent all but $63 million.

    the latest effort to marshal religious support also drew fire from civil liberties activists concerned about the constitutional separation of church and state.

    "any coordination between the bush campaign and church leaders would clearly be illegal," said a statement from the activist group americans united for separation of church and state.


    07/01/04 19:30 et

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  2. 66 Comments

  3. by   KarenAR
    Kudos to Rev. Land of the Southern Baptist Convention for speaking out against the request!
  4. by   eltrip


    My fellow Americans,
    In light of this report, may I suggest that we find a candidate who is not trying to undermine the right to privacy?

    Your Libertarian BB member,
    Eltrip
  5. by   HannasMom
    Ugh!!! Bush has lost it!!!
  6. by   fergus51
    I don't see a problem with this. It's just good campaign strategy. As far as I knew there was no right to privacy when it came to church membership.
  7. by   movealong
    Apparently the churches disagree with you fergus. They have refused to provide member names.
  8. by   purplemania
    I guess they see it as a type of mailing list. Don't for a minute think that either side is not using every list they can come up with. Bush evidently feels he has the vote of religious conservatives. I will vote for him, but mostly because I see Kerry as a lying creep.
  9. by   Dixiedi
    I see nothing wrong with asking for the mailing lists (church roster).
    I see nothing wrong with many churches that denied giving them.

    The writer of the article used adjetives to his advantage in his attempt to make it sound as if President Bush was doing something wrong. Like this one, I find particular amusing...

    The latest effort to marshal religious support also drew fire from civil liberties activists concerned about the constitutional separation of church and state.

    "Any coordination between the Bush campaign and church leaders would clearly be illegal," said a statement from the activist group Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

    "Marshall religious support" as if he were trying to force it; and where does he get the idea asking for a mailing list is "religious support"? Chrsitans are a group of people with the right to vote, just like any other group of people. LOL

    Asking for mailing lists (one activity) and encouraging church members to vote (another completely separate activity) has nothing to do with "mixing" church and state.
    The two activities do not make a "coordination" of efforts to "do" anything illegal. 1 activity allows President Bush to advertise to a group of people, this in not illegal and another activity to encourage folks to vote, I sure hope nobody thinks that is illegal!
  10. by   VivaLasViejas
    Illegal? No. Desperate? Probably. Tacky? Definitely.

    Hmmmm..........wonder why Bush hasn't asked for labor-union membership rosters? :chuckle
  11. by   movealong
    Not sure if it is illegal or not. But the churches thought it not ethical.( thank god, no pun intended

    I personally don't like my name to be released to anyone's mailing list.
  12. by   fergus51
    Quote from movealong
    Apparently the churches disagree with you fergus. They have refused to provide member names.
    I can refuse to tell you my haircolour. I can refuse to tell you my best friend's name. That doesn't mean either I or my friend have a right to privacy barring anyone from asking. Thinking someone shouldn't know isn't the same as having a right to keep them from knowing.

    Now, if Bush was asking for medical records from a doctor for example, that's another issue.
  13. by   VivaLasViejas
    Yanno, this sort of thing happens all the time........Years ago, my DH signed a petition for some conservative cause that we both actually supported, and since then we've been getting mail from all sorts of ultra-right-wing organizations (despite the fact that we're both lifelong Democrats) that neither of us would ever support in this lifetime. We have since learned NEVER to sign petitions, as we've ended up with permanent pen pals like the Oregon Right To Life PAC and a quarterly newsletter from a conservative 'Christian' group (which I read just for the fun of it, all the while wondering at the incredible diversity of opinion out there---sometimes I can't believe we all live on the same planet).
  14. by   Mkue
    Did I read a while back where voter registration was set up outside of a movie/theater, after viewing the movie Farenheit 9/11?

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