While Barry Lynn, Susan Thistlethwaite, and other secularist and church-state hysterics have been waxing wroth over Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s prayer meeting, they’ve been silent about something most of the mainstream media has ignored as well. Seems Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the U.S. Senate’s assistant minority leader, has gone into the religion business. According to Fox News:
Sen. Dick Durbin is calling on churches, synagogues and mosques to carve out time this fall to discuss the so-called DREAM Act with their congregations, despite federal restrictions on lobbying that often apply to religious institutions.
The Illinois Democrat is reaching out to the faith community as he tries to advocate for passage of the controversial proposal that would provide a pathway to legal status for illegal immigrants who attend college or join the military. A coalition of religious organizations–which see the bill as a humane immigration proposal–had already been pushing for what they call the DREAM Act “Sabbath.” Under the plan backed by Durbin on Tuesday, congregations across America would devote a Sabbath service this fall to discussing the immigration bill.
The senator’s office, though, insists the exercise is completely above board in terms of IRS law. Durbin spokesman Max Gleischman said the churches are not necessarily being asked to advocate for the legislation. And, in the event these congregations do dabble in advocacy, Gleischman said it certainly wouldn’t amount to lobbying.
“We’re not advocating for, nor are they advocating, the turning over of the church … to a lobbying firm to lobby on behalf of this,” he said. “They are dedicating one day … on Sabbath weekend to discussing the DREAM Act.” [Emphasis added.]
I have no particular feeling about the DREAM Act one way or the other. I’d like, however, for someone to explain to me why a United States senator endorsing a plan for churches to devote a worship service to discussing a piece of legislation is less of a church-state concern than a privately run prayer meeting endorsed by a governor?
Other than the fact that the DREAM Act is legislation favored by political liberals, I mean.