the Desk of
Reverend Dr. Daniel E. H. Bryant
September 6, 2007
Dear Fellow Pastor,
I am writing to share my deep concern
and dismay after reading in today's paper about the activities of groups
circulating petitions in some of our churches. These groups are seeking
to overturn Oregon's new domestic partnership and anti-discrimination
laws (Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 2007).
According to the complaint outlined in
today's Statesmen Journal, there are two groups who are gathering
signatures, and both are violating the law. The first group is "The
Defense of Marriage and Families Again!" and is sponsoring the
referenda to overturn these two laws. The second group is
Both groups have misrepresented
themselves to the public and especially to churches by collecting funds
for the campaign under the pretence that these donations qualify for a
tax credit. In fact, they do not. Only registered political committees
that relate to elections qualify for the political tax credit.
I am particularly concerned by the
actions of Concerned Oregonians. David Crowe, the head of Concerned
Oregonians, has sent hundreds of Oregon pastors a letter imploring us to
circulate these petitions among our congregations. He carefully assures
us that doing so would not jeopardize a church's tax-exempt status. And
yet, according to this complaint, his tactics circumvent the law and are
likely illegal. His organization also claims to be the
"sponsor" of the referenda, when that is not the case.
While it calls itself "Concerned
Oregonians PAC", this group never been registered in the state of
Oregon as a "political committee" nor is it the Chief
Petitioner Committee for the referenda. This means that donations to
Concerned Oregonians may not be claimed for Oregon's political tax
Moreover, Concerned Oregonians is not
subject to the important reporting requirements essential to a fair and
just election process. Worse, those who wrongly claim a political tax
credit may be committing tax fraud (unknowingly), diverting support away
from for schools, law enforcement and other state services to a group
that ignores the law in order to change it.
Regardless of how one might feel in the
issue of gay rights, as pastors we should all be wary of those who
blatantly violate the law and disregard the rules of our democratic
government. It is especially important for churches to adhere to
election laws and to not associate with those who disregard them.
I urge you to join me as a truly
concerned Oregonian in disregarding all appeals from these organizations
that cannot be trusted to provide pastors and churches with accurate
information on such important political issues.
Daniel E. H. Bryant, D. Min.
Senior Minister, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)