Monday, November 14, 2005

To the IRS, Some Churches May be More Equal than Others

Remember how all those gawd-haitin' organizations are out to make sure Christians can't be involved in politics by using the IRS to muzzle them? Well, if they have tried, it sure didn't work. And frankly, despite my objections to many evangelicals' political goals, I am glad it didn't work. But how about the current adminstration using the IRS to put the heat on Christians who don't toe the right -- and I do mean right -- line politically?

According to Canton, Ohio's The Repository, that's just what happened:

According to all accounts, the Rev. George Regas did not tell the congregation at All Saints Episcopal Church to vote for one candidate or the other. Instead, his sermon focused on an imaginary debate with Jesus and then-candidates John Kerry and President W. Bush. He focused on Christ’s message of pacifism and the need to care for the poor.
That was the day before the 2004 presidential election. In June 2005, All Saints found out their tax-exempt status was endangered, supposedly because they'd gone over an invisible line prohibiting non-profits from becoming involved in political campaigns.

As The Repository noted, Ohio in particular was a place where plenty of politicking from religious groups took place in 2004. But almost all of it came from the religious right, including Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition.

Yet in Ohio, it is one rather ambiguous but somewhat liberal sermon that seems to be the target of the IRS, and by extension, the current administration.

About par for the course, unfortunately.


B-W said...

Actually, the church in question is in Pasadena, CA, not in OH. But otherwise, I agree with your points.

Jon Trott said...

Ah, right you are. Typing too fast, I was...