Bush Treasury Dept Vendetta: IRS chases California church for moral stance on the war in Iraq
An Episcopal church in Pasadena, California has been under investigation with threats to their tax-exempt status because their emeritus pastor gave a sermon just before last year's presidential election that criticized the Iraq war as immoral. The church has a tradition of anti-war sentiments dating back to their opposition to Japanese internment camps during WWII, the killing in Vietnam, and the Reagan-sponsored wars in Central America during the 1980s. The IRS letter does not hide the political nature of the accusation, stating that the sermon in question "given on October 31, 2004 to a congregation of 3500, delivered a searing indictment of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq, criticism of the drive to develop more nuclear weapons, and described tax cuts as inimical to the values of Jesus." Rev.George Regas, who was only a visiting preacher, actually began his homily by saying, "I don't intend to tell you how to vote." This apparently did not protect the church from the Administration's retribution.
The pastor of the church, Rev. Ed Bacon, delivered a sermon November 13, 2005, that outlines the dark side of a disrespect for church-state separation that results in tolerance toward conservatives who politicize Christianity while chastening progressives who actually preach the Gospel.