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UCCtruths

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Barack Obama at General Synod?

Monday, February 12, 2007


Sources inside the United Church of Christ have confirmed that discussions have started about the possibility of Barack Obama at least making an appearance ~and possibly giving a speech~ at the United Church of Christ General Synod in Hartford, Connecticut at the end of June.

"It makes sense on both sides. The timing and platform is a good one for the Senator to make it clear to the voting public that he is a Christian. It's also great publicity for the UCC," according to the source.

Questions about logistics and the mixing of church and state remain. At this point, it is difficult for a Presidential contender to make a commitment for a date in June. In addition, there are concerns that if an appearance is not properly orchestrated, a conflict of church and state could overshadow the event.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is already investigating a deal between the Governor of Connecticut, the UCC and the Hartford Civic Center to keep the UCC General Synod in Connecticut. According to a report in the Hartford Courant last year, the state is "taking care of the $100,000 fee for the Civic Center" for the UCC's General Synod. Rev. Barry Lynn, Executive Director of American United and ordained UCC minister, made it clear in October he was "concerned" about the arrangement. Lynn contrasted the deal with a similar arrangement that the State of Maryland made to host a Baptist convention in June of last year. In that deal, a $150,000 state grant was used to help defray the costs of transportation for the group's convention in Baltimore. Lynn called the grant "totally inappropriate and clearly unconstitutional. Religious groups should pass the collection plate to their own members, not the taxpayers.”

In the UCC case, Lynn said "There are a number of questions that need to be answered. Is there a precedence in Connecticut of other religious groups receiving similar grants or is the UCC an exception?"

While secular groups regularly receive grants from states to attract convention business, Lynn made it clear that there is a distinction between secular and religious groups being the beneficiary of these types of grants.
posted by UCCtruths, Monday, February 12, 2007

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