(letter in Phila Inquirer, 7/5/08)
Bishop Harry Jackson Jr. frets about which presidential candidate conservative African American pastors should “support” (“Vote religion or race?” June 30). The answer is simple: Pastors of any race or creed should not in their official role openly support any candidate for elected office.
Religious congregations cannot endorse candidates for office without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status. They can take positions on issues but they cannot legally endorse candidates while giving any appearance of purporting to represent their congregations or trying to influence their members, and they cannot issue “voters guides” slanted in such a way as to favor a candidate.
I hope I have resolved Bishop Jackson’s dilemma: He should do his religious job, leave the politicking to others, and vote for the candidate of his choice.