Desperate Christian Coalition officials in California have recruited former pop singer Pat Boone to encourage churches to distribute the group's voter guides this November.
In a recent letter to pastors throughout the state, Boone, a member of the Christian Coalition of California Board of Directors, warns that "ultra liberals" and "anti-Christian organizations" are trying to keep churches out of politics. He endorses a letter from state Coalition officials offering free voter guides to churches.
"This is the strangest thing Pat Boone has done since he put out that heavy metal CD three years ago," said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "I realize Boone needs a job -- after all, he hasn't had a Top 40 hit since 1962 -- but I can't think of anyone less qualified to advise churches on tax issues."
Americans United insists that Coalition voter guides are partisan campaign material that in effect endorse candidates and says that churches that distribute them are risking their tax-exempt status.
Lynn noted that Boone's letter contains factual errors. Boone claims that Thomas Jefferson, originator of the "wall of separation between church and state" metaphor, later added that the wall was meant to be "one dimensional" and designed to "keep government out of the affairs of the church but never Christian principles out of government."
In fact, Jefferson said no such thing. This distortion of Jefferson's views has been debunked repeatedly.
"Obviously, Pat Boone is neither a historian nor a tax attorney," remarked Lynn. "Rather than take advice from him and TV preacher Pat Robertson, church leaders need to listen to the Internal Revenue Service. As recently as two months ago, the IRS warned houses of worship to keep partisan politics out of their pulpits."
Concluded Lynn, "I realize the Christian Coalition is trying to rebuild its sagging operation, but expecting religious leaders to take tax advice from a faded pop singer is too much. To quote the title of Boone's first number one hit, 'Ain't That a Shame?'"
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.