Liberals Seek to Ban Bible, Says Republican Election Mailing
In an effort to mobilize religious conservatives before the election, Republican Party officials mailed fliers to voters in Arkansas and West Virginia asserting that "liberals" seek to ban the Bible.
The mailing included a picture of a Bible with the word "banned" over it as well as an image of a gay marriage proposal with the words "allowed" over it.
The mailing to Arkansas read, "This will be Arkansas ... if you don't vote."
U.S. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee, called on President George W. Bush to pull the fliers and apologize, but GOP officials refused and went on to defend the content of the mailing.
In an e-mail message to The New York Times, Christine Iverson, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, wrote, "When the Massachusetts Supreme Court sanctioned same-sex marriage and people in other states realized they could be compelled to recognize those laws, same-sex marriage became an issue. These same activist judges also want to remove the words 'under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance."
Asked by The Times to comment on the mailing, Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Religious Liberty Commission, said he believes some people want to categorize criticism of gays as hate speech.
"We have the First Amendment in this country which should protect churches, but there is no question that this is where some people want to go, that reading from the Bible could be hate speech," Land said.
But Land conceded that the mailing may have gone too far in implying that Democrats favor this approach. …