GOP Requests Church Directories

Tue Feb. 21, 2006 9:24 PM EST

North Carolina Republicans know where to find their friends, and aren't afraid to give them a call. That is, if they can get the correct phone numbers. Over the protests of local national religious leaders, the North Carolina Republican party called on its members to submit their church directories to the party, stating that "people who regularly attend church usually vote Republican when they vote."

Bill Peaslee, the party's chief of staff, claimed he was simply targeting his demographic base. "The Republican Party believes that people shouldn't leave their moral and spiritual beliefs at the door of the polling place," the chief of staff said. "We're just appealing to one of our constituencies, just as the Democrat Party does. ... The Democrats may feel it's more profitable to go and do voter registration drives at a homosexual convention. We feel more comfortable going to churches."

According to the Internal Revenue Service, a church's tax exempt status may be revoked if it engages in "any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office." In this case, local North Carolina clergy have called the practice of soliciting directories unethical, especially if it could potentially call the leanings of the church into question.

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