Pasadena Church Threatened by I.R.S.
This is a picture of the Rector of All Saints Church, J. Edwin Bacon, Jr.
And now the Church is being singled-out for alleged improper political activity. As reported
The IRS in a June 9 letter warned the church that its tax-exempt status was in jeopardy because the federal tax code prohibits such organizations from intervening in political campaigns and elections. The church's current rector, J. Edwin Bacon, told his congregation about the problem on Sunday.LISTEN to the sermon HERE
"It's important for everyone to understand that the IRS concerns are not supported by the facts," he told the congregation.
Is this the best the Internal Revenue Service could do to find inappropriate campaigning by churches? Is it surprising that this Administration that uses all of the tools available to it to advance its political agenda, should use the power of the I.R.S. to hypocritically beat up on a church that made an anti-war sermon?
Did the Internal Revenue Service or the Federal Elections Commission find anything wrong when the Bush/Cheney campaign recruited churches to be directly involved in the 2004 election?
As reported by the Washington Post on July 1, 2004:
The Bush-Cheney reelection campaign has sent a detailed plan of action to religious volunteers across the country asking them to turn over church directories to the campaign, distribute issue guides in their churches and persuade their pastors to hold voter registration drives.The article continued:
Campaign officials said the instructions are part of an accelerating effort to mobilize President Bush's base of religious supporters. They said the suggested activities are intended to help churchgoers rally support for Bush without violating tax rules that prohibit churches from engaging in partisan activity.
The instruction sheet circulated by the Bush-Cheney campaign to religious volunteers lists 22 "duties" to be performed by specific dates. By July 31, for example, volunteers are to "send your Church Directory to your State Bush-Cheney '04 Headquarters or give [it] to a BC04 Field Rep" and "Talk to your Pastor about holding a Citizenship Sunday and Voter Registration Drive."Did the I.R.S. investigate any of this mixing of religion and politics. Or is the point of the I.R.S. to beat up on liberal viewpoints to get Congress to relax laws limiting the role of churches in American politics?
By Aug. 15, they are to "talk to your Church's seniors or 20-30 something group about Bush/Cheney '04" and "recruit 5 more people in your church to volunteer for the Bush Cheney campaign."
By Sept. 17, they are to host at least two campaign-related potluck dinners with church members, and in October they are to "finish calling all Pro-Bush members of your church," "finish distributing Voter Guides in your church" and place notices on church bulletin boards or in Sunday programs "about all Christian citizens needing to vote."
And does the I.R.S. think that the entire Catholic Church should be denied tax-exempt status for as reported in Catholic World News on September 23, 2004:
Denver, Sep. 23, 2004 (CWNews.com) - In a tough statement on Catholic political responsibilities, Denver's Archbishop Charles Chaput has said that politicians make "a deal with the devil" when they support legalized abortion.And what of the recent visible campaigning for Proposition 73 among churches? Will they be investigated or threatened with their tax-exempt status?
Writing in the Denver archdiocesan newspaper, the archbishop noted that many Catholic politicians are trying "to explain why their faith won’t 'dictate' their public actions." Although Archbishop Chaput did not name Senator John Kerry in his column, the logic of his argument clearly applies to the democratic presidential candidate.
Protection of church-state separation mandates that Churches should stay out of politics and Government stay out of churches. But using the power of the Internal Revenue Surfact to challenge a church that gives a sermon while ignoring the direct cooperation of churches with a Presidential campaign is obscene.
And do not forget the Rev. Ronnie Floyd, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Springdale.
As reported by the Christian Post:
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State filed a complaint on July 20 against Floyd’s July 4th message on the civil duty to vote.America deserves better! We need a President who builds an administration designed to foster religious freedom and not to tear it down. We need a President who appoints qualified people to high positions and not cronies. A President who honestly informs Congress on Intelligence that leads us into war and who does not distort the truth to pressure our legislators.
"Pastor Floyd's presentation seemed more like a Bush campaign commercial than a church service," said Barry Lynn, Americans United executive director, in a statement made in late July. "His sermon was clearly intervention in the campaign on behalf of Bush."
During his sermon, Rev. Floyd told his congregants that the presidential election is “one of the most critical elections in U.S. history. ... Rarely have we seen two candidates so diametrically opposed in their convictions."
Floyd then went on to contrast the candidates’ stance on gay “marriage.”
“One candidate believes marriage is a God-ordained institution between one man and one woman and has proposed a constitutional amendment protecting marriage." Floyd said as a picture of George Bush showed up behind him.
"The other candidate was one of only 14 U.S. senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996," Floyd added, as a photo of Kerry appeared.
As Senator Kerry has explained:
As he recently put it to Time magazine, "I don't tell church officials what to do, and church officials shouldn't tell American politicians what to do in the context of our public life."This was very different from the Bush Campaign which made promises to religious organizations, including Catholics, to serve their needs, including giving them Federal Funds.
President Bush meeting with Knights of Columbus members prior to the election.
As reported on August 4, 2004:
DALLAS, Aug. 3 -- President Bush told an effervescent crowd of 2,500 Catholics at the annual convention of the Knights of Columbus on Tuesday that they have a friend in the White House who will work with them to restrict abortion, provide vouchers for parochial schools and champion a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.Keep on coming John Kerry! America needs your leadership in Washington! Help us restore the proper relationship between our government and our Houses of Worship! Our religious freedom is in jeopardy!