Monday, November 07, 2005

The church of the IRS

Just in case you thought you lived in a country with a government that wasn't controlled by vengeful religious fanatics who use political power to destroy political opponents here's a reminder:

The Internal Revenue Service has warned one of Southern California's largest and most liberal churches that it is at risk of losing its tax-exempt status because of an antiwar sermon two days before the 2004 presidential election.

Rector J. Edwin Bacon of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena told many congregants during morning services Sunday that a guest sermon by the church's former rector, the Rev. George F. Regas, on Oct. 31, 2004, had prompted a letter from the IRS.

In a sermon on Oct. 31, 2004, the church's former rector, Rev. George F. Regas, who from the pulpit opposed both the Vietnam War and 1991's Gulf War, imagined Jesus participating in a political debate with then-candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry. Regas said that "good people of profound faith" could vote for either man, and did not tell parishioners whom to support.

But he criticized the war in Iraq, saying that Jesus would have told Bush, "Mr. President, your doctrine of preemptive war is a failed doctrine. Forcibly changing the regime of an enemy that posed no imminent threat has led to disaster."

On June 9, the church received a letter from the IRS stating that "a reasonable belief exists that you may not be tax-exempt as a church." The federal tax code prohibits tax-exempt organizations, including churches, from intervening in political campaigns and elections.

No word on and IRS warning or investigation into the East Waynesville Baptist Church in North Carolina where the pastor "led an effort to kick out congregants who didn't support President Bush." Nine members were later voted out at a church meeting.

During the presidential election last year, Pastor Chan Chandler told the congregation that anyone who planned to vote for Democratic Sen. John Kerry should either leave the church or repent.

After that maybe the IRS can look into Bishop Michael Sheridan the Roman Catholic Bishop of Colorado Springs, Colorado. During the 2004 presidential election the Bishop pronounced that Catholics who vote for politicians in favor of abortion rights, stem-cell research, euthanasia or gay marriage may not receive Communion until they recant and repent in the confessional. Gee, I wonder if he was trying to influence Catholics during a presidential election. I can't remember whether Kerry supported abortions rights or stem-cell research. I wonder who Bishop Sheridan voted for in 2004.

Then there was Charleston, South Carolina Bishop Robert J. Baker who declared that Catholics in public life, especially elected ones, who didn't support church teaching on the sanctity of human life are not to be admitted to Holy Communion. A minister in the diocese turned away a church member from receiving communion because he was wearing a "John Kerry for President" button to the Communion rail. Bishop Baker was upset not because of the incident only that he hadn't made the decision to turn away the church member. "No one else may make a decision regarding whether or not a person should be admitted to holy Communion. That determination is reserved to me personally." said Baker.

Of course Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley had issued a statement before the 2004 election declaring, "A Catholic politician who holds a public, pro-choice position should not be receiving Communion and should refrain from doing so." No word on whether the IRS is looking into this.

Nor on whether the Catholic church has any similar position on politicians who support the death penalty or pre-emptive war. I know Jesus did.


Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Heil Bushler!

Nixon famously wanted to use the IRS to punish Jews, but Bushler is more open minded - he would be happy to have all non party supporters rounded up and sent to prison whether for tax reasons or for taking the wrong books out of the library or for saying the wrong things in private.

Sieg Heil!

12:09 PM  
Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

They are going to start selling brown shirts soon.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous techunter said...

You could not be more off base in your analysis. Conservative Christian churches do not pontificate politics from the pulpit. My church with over 6000 members never, ever speaks of poltics and won't even allow voter registration drives.

On the other hand I seem to remember several instances of John Kerry being intoduced in black Christian churches by Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackass.

If you become more intellictually honest in your liberalism, you will only assist us conservatives in our efforts to keep your ilk out of power.


2:23 PM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

"You could not be more off base in your analysis. Conservative Christian churches do not pontificate politics from the pulpit."

Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Bob Jones...

Uh huh.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Techunter - AKA Kevin - bills himself as: "Providing Opinions To Those Too Busy To Come Up With Their Own."

Those are probably the only people who would believe his utopian and libertarian nonsense. I'm only surprised that he forgot to haul out Hilary and jane along with Kerry. He doesn't have a case, he doesn't have an argument, only insults. Conservative my ilk - an asshole is an asshole is an asshole.

3:35 PM  
Blogger phinky said...

Time to upgrade to Haloscan

7:48 PM  
Blogger phinky said...

I guess techunter has problems with people being able to think for themselves. We'll see how conservatives do tomorrow after various states vote.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Blunderford said...

You're on the wrong side of this issue. Jesus is well-known to have kicked ass based on nothing other than faulty intelligence from his disciples and to have described war as the Father's favorite hobby next to "flyin' jets"

9:41 PM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

Blunderford - Thank you. I went back and looked at the Holy Book (next to the Holy Hand Grenade) and found support for your comment in the Book of Assassinations.

10:06 PM  

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