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Nov 8 2009

I was just reading a piece in the NY Times about the health care debate. Personally, I'd like to see the health care system in America change to something more sensible (and nearly every other country has a more sensible one), but that's beside the point here. The thing that shocked me in that article was the blatant attempts of the Catholic Church to get their followers to affect legislation:

First, Ms. Pelosi met with leaders of the Pro-Choice Caucus, then she huddled with staff members from the bishops conferences, and with Mr. Stupak and two other leading Roman Catholic lawmakers, Representative Mike Doyle, Democrat of Pennsylvania, and Representative Brad Ellsworth, Democrat of Indiana.

The representatives of the nation’s bishops made clear they would fight the bill if there were not restrictions on abortion. In an extraordinary effort over the last 10 days, the bishops conference told priests across the country to talk about the legislation in church, mobilizing parishioners to contact Congress and to pray for the success of anti-abortion amendments.

The bishops sent out information to be “announced at all Masses” and included in parish bulletins, and urged priests and parishioners to tell House members: “Please support the Stupak Amendment that addresses essential pro-life concerns.” They added: “If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed.”

Can they DO that? I though that being tax exempt as a religious institution meant that they could not play "politics"? Or, am I misunderstanding it -- maybe the restriction only applies to supporting one candidate or another?

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