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Unions can, churches can't?

| Saturday, May 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

We are informed regularly by the media that one labor union or another is backing a particular candidate for political office, ostensibly because the candidate's platform will benefit that organization's cause(s) — for example, in the news story “Experts: Unions can play powerful role in elections” (May 6 and TribLIVE.com) by Bob Bauder.

Consider that I have been told by more than one clergyman that churches cannot back political candidates without losing their tax-exempt status. I am therefore puzzled why labor unions can back political candidates without losing their tax-exempt status.

Please do not bother to use the phrase “separation of church and state.” Nowhere in the Constitution is that phrase ever used.

The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” It does not say that churches cannot express their opinions. That violates their First Amendment rights.

Anthony F. Cugini

Plum

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