I guess Howard Dean thinks that too many religious people are voting for the Democrats. How else does one explain the following remark from an interview with the Christian Science Monitor?

The religious community has to decide whether they want to be tax exempt or involved in politics.

Now no context was given for this comment, but I can’t imagine any that would make it sound less troubling. Religious groups have played important roles in politics throughout our country’s history. The Quaker support for the abolition movement is one example. A more recent example is the Civil Rights movement. The leader of the movement was a preacher, and the support of churches played a crucial role in its success.

Would such a movement be able to flourish today if the government could unleach the IRS on them? Maybe, but it would definitely hinder it. Separation of church and state has to run both ways. The church can’t dictate what the laws should be, but the state shouldn’t be able to silence the church either.