Getting Out the Vote, Religiously

House Republicans "quietly introduced a measure to make it easier for churches to support political candidates, just days after the Bush campaign ... [invited] church members to distribute campaign information at their houses of worship," reports the New York Times. "'Safe Harbor for Churches' ... would allow religious organizations a limited number of violations of the existing rules against political endorsements without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status." Americans United for Separation of Church and State's director, Reverend Barry Lynn, said the election year timing "reeks to high heaven, literally." Bush campaign spokesperson Steve Schmidt replied, "The campaign wants people of faith to participate in the political process." On Tuesday, a state campaign coordinator emailed religious contacts, writing, "The Bush-Cheney '04 national headquarters ... has asked us to identify 1,600 'Friendly Congregations' in Pennsylvania."