Defending Democracy with Informed Community Action in WNC

Religious Freedom

Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.

— Abraham Lincoln

Religious Freedom Action Team

We believe that, in some cases, religious beliefs are being used in our country and around the world, to hurt and judge. We believe everyone has the right to practice and believe as they choose, but have a goal to help that not be a constriction on anyone else.

We are not happy with the growing divide in our families, our communities and our country – not just financially, but spiritually and culturally. In too many cases, family, neighbors, working partners and other community members are unable or unwilling to communicate with each other because of strong differences of opinion.

Conversation Model

With the strong belief that there are more things that we have in common than we differ, we are working on a conversation model described below to build on the things we agree on in order to strengthen our communities, our families and eventually our nation.

Our goal is to hold conversations with people of differing political views to find things that we have in common and not focus so much on what we see differently.

Our design is based on the Living Room Conversation model – a simple design of inviting three or four friends over who each invite one friend with opposing political views to have conversations. Our group has a questionnaire that we have developed to help a conversation move along on 8-10 subjects.

We have a secondary objective to introduce people to a place of faith that might be different than theirs. So instead of living rooms, we hope to sponsor these conversations in different places of faith.

http://www.livingroomconversations.org/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish-Palestinian_Living_Room_Dialogue_Group

 

If you are interested in learning more, joining our group, or sharing information, you can reach us at religiousfreedom@indivisibleavl.org.

KEY ISSUES

  • Disintegration of Separation of Church and State
  • Lack of Faith Diversity Represented in Politics
  • Stop Imposing Specific Religious Beliefs on Citizens
  • Lack of Respect for Different Faiths

ACTIONS

  • Organize Discussion Forums hosted by people of different faiths
  • Create Listening Groups

UPCOMING EVENTS OF INTEREST

FAITH IN DEMOCRACY – Building Local Power for Action (Hosted by: Democracy NC, Americans United, and NC Council of Churches)

LEGISLATION TO WATCH

  • House Bill 781
    • “A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow charitable organizations to make statements relating to political campaigns if such statements are made in ordinary course of carrying out its tax exempt purpose.”
    • Note: This bill and S. 264 seek to repeal the Johnson Amendment.  
    • Current status: It went to the Committee on Finance, and it has been collecting co-sponsors.  The House bill has 57 cosponsors right now.
  • Senate Bill 264
    • Note: This bill is exactly the same as the House Bill described above. Both SB 264 and HR 781 seek to repeal the Johnson Amendment.
    • Current status: It went to the Senate Finance Committee, and it has been collecting co-sponsors.  The Senate bill has 4 sponsors. 

FURTHER READING ABOUT THE JOHNSON AMENDMENT

  • PROCON.ORG
    • “A ban on church intervention in political campaigns became law in 1954 with the passage of then-Senator Lyndon Johnson’s amendment to Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 501(c)(3), which covers tax-exempt charitable organizations in general. [7] [52] The amendment was passed with no recorded input from churches or any other charitable groups. [7] Under the amended IRC, churches and all other 501(c)(3) charities are ‘absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office’ if they are to remain tax-exempt. [IRC 8]”

LOCAL NEWS COVERAGE

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