UCC Minister in Church/State controversy in Connecticut

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Scott MacLean, an ordained United Church of Christ (UCC) minister and the early morning Newscast Director at WFSB-TV, Channel 3 in Hartford, Connecticut, is running for the Republican nomination as the U.S. Representative in the Connecticut first district[1], and according to an email sent by MacLean to Republicans in Connecticut, MacLean has been using First Church in Hartland Congregational UCC to hold campaign meetings.[2] In the email, MacLean claims that "the good folks from the First Church in Hartland-Congregational (my home church) have graciously let me use the Parish Hall for campaign meetings".

This is the second church/state issue in Connecticut in the last month involving the United Church of Christ. Americans United for Separation of Church and State is investigating a deal between the Governor of Connecticut, the UCC and the Hartford Civic Center to keep the UCC General Synod in Connecticut. According to a report in the June, 3, 2006 Hartford Courant, the state is "taking care of the $100,000 fee for the Civic Center" for the UCC's General Synod next July.

The MacLean controversy also comes on the heels of a controversy in Ohio where two mega-churches are being accused of illegal political activities for their support of Republican candidate for Governor, Ken Blackwell. A group of Columbus clergy, headed by UCC minister Eric Williams, has filed a complaint with the IRS questioning the tax-exempt status of the churches. The complaint alleges that the mega churches have used their facilities for partisan politics.

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