Americans United Challenge "Safe Harbor" Provisions

June 8, 2004

Source: Americans United Press Release

On June 8, 2004 Americans United for Separation of Church and State press release reported, "Republican members of the House of Representatives are attempting to clear the way for partisan politicking by houses of worship by slipping an important change to the nation's tax laws into a job-creation bill, Americans United for Separation of Church and State revealed today. The bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. William M. Thomas (R-Calif.), contains provisions that would allow church leaders to 'unintentionally' endorse or oppose candidates up to three times per year. It also greatly reduces the tax penalty for church electioneering. 'This is a blatant attempt to recruit churches into partisan politics,' said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. 'Even worse, this measure tries to make sweeping changes in tax law through the back door and out of public view. I don't think it's a coincidence that this bill will help the Bush campaign's outreach to churches.' ''