Vice president Al Gore was endorsed on February 13 by Rev. Floyd Flake inside Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in Queens, New York.

“I don’t do endorsements from across the pulpit,” said Rev. Flake, “because I never know who’s out there watching the types of laws that govern separation of church and state.” He then proceeded to endorse Gore anyway. “But I will say to you this morning, and you read it well: This should be the next President of the United States.” Rev. Flake then put his arm around the vice president.

The Catholic League said a double standard was at work. When Archbishop Justin Rigali of St. Louis recently implored Catholics to “elect those who respect the sacredness of life,” he was roundly criticized. But there were no howls of protest screaming separation of church and state when Rev. Floyd Flake endorsed Vice President Al Gore from the pulpit. Was this because Rev. Flake isn’t Catholic?

The next time someone tries to intimidate a Catholic priest from speaking out on contemporary moral issues, we said, this incident should be brought up. As for Gore, it would be interesting to know why his alleged interest in keeping church and state separate allows him to oppose school vouchers but doesn’t stop him from accepting endorsements in church. Or, for that matter, from accepting money in Buddhist temples.

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