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UCCtruths

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Barack Obama to speak at General Synod

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


UC News is reporting that Barack Obama has agreed to speak at the UCC's General Synod in June. UCCtruths reported back in February that negotiations had begun to bring Presidential Candidate and UCC member Barack Obama to General Synod. From UC News:
U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.), an active UCC member since 1988, has accepted an invitation to speak at UCC General Synod 26, June 22-26, in Hartford, Conn.

Obama — a member of the 10,000-member Trinity UCC in Chicago — will speak to delegates and visitors during a special day-long "Synod in the City" event on Saturday, June 23, at the Hartford Civic Center.
Obama's appearance adds to a General Synod already clouded in church/state conflict. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is currently 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 an 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, Tuesday, April 24, 2007

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