An action alert from the

An action alert from the interfaith alliance

In a stunning backroom political maneuver that could hand the Religious Right lobby their biggest win in years, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) reached an agreement with the House leadership to allow him to bring the ãHouses of Worship Political Speech Protection Actä, H.R. 2357, directly to the House floor for a vote. The vote is expected within days of the House returning from their August recess.

Caving to the demands of the Religious Right, Jones and the GOP leadership, three of whom are sponsors of the bill, have chosen to bypass the committee process by scheduling the bill for a vote under suspension of the rules in early September. Due to legal and ethical concerns, as well as widespread opposition to the bill from religious and faith-based organizations, the influential House Ways & Means Committee had held the Jones bill in limbo for nearly a year, refusing to schedule the bill for a committee vote.

With 128 co-sponsors to date, the threat of the Jones bill receiving the required two-thirds vote of those present on the House floor is very real. Senators Bob Smith, Jesse Helms and Tim Hutchinson also recently introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

Crafted by attorneys from Pat Robertsonâs American Center for Law and Justice, H.R. 2357 would radically alter the tax code by allowing houses of worship to endorse political candidates, lobby for legislation, create political action committees (PACs) and funnel political donations to partisan political causes and candidates. Currently, houses of worship have an Îabsolute prohibitionâ on partisan political activities. Despite the rhetoric surrounding this legislation, however, there is nothing in current law that prohibits houses of worship from speaking to issues of the day.

TIA (The Interfaith Alliance) supporters are urged to use our Interfaith Action Center to send an email to their member of Congress alerting them to the upcoming floor vote and asking them to stand up for religious liberty and the integrity of houses of worship by voting no on H.R. 2357. Your action on this bill today is more important than ever. We also urge you to use the ãTell-a-Friendä option to spread this alert to as many allies as possible.

The Christian Coalition, Concerned Women for America and Coral Ridge Ministries are all working together to pass H.R. 2357. To date, they claim to have collected nearly 100,000 petitions in favor of the bill.

Your actions today could not be more important to the defense of religious liberty and the separation of church and state!

To see sample letters-to-the-editor, please visit: http://www.interfaithalliance.org/Initiatives/letters.htm.

For more information on H.R. 2357, please visit: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:h.r.02357:.

To read the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddyâs testimony before the House Subcommittee on Oversight Committee regarding HR. 2357, please visit: http://www.interfaithalliance.org/Initiatives/020514t.html.

Support the work of The Interfaith Alliance: https://www.interfaithalliance.org/ssl/secure.html.

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