WASHINGTON, September 4, 2002 ( – A bill sponsored by Congressman Walter B. Jones Jr., a North Carolina Republican, would restore the First Amendment rights of churches and synagogues by removing the threat that they could lose tax-exempt status—a threat that currently discourages religious bodies from making political endorsements.  “Our churches and synagogues are denied their First Amendment rights in this country, at least when it involves political issues,” Mr. Jones said, pointing to the 1954 separation law which “stifles freedom of speech,” by limiting the involvement of pastors, priests and rabbis in political activities.  The bill has bipartisan support in the House. Rabbi Daniel Lapin, president of Toward Tradition, said the bill’s crafters “perceptively recognize that this long overdue legislation is important to all religious faiths and all political parties.”   For more Washington Times coverage of the coming U.S. election season see:


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