USA: Bush administration persecutes church for criticism of Iraq war

Bush on God, cartoonBy John Burton:

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is threatening to revoke the tax-exempt status of Pasadena’s All Saints Church on the grounds that an antiwar sermon given in November 2004 violated the requirement that charitable organizations not endorse particular candidates.

The church is challenging in court the IRS’s demand that it turn over documents to investigators. …

The Internal Revenue Service’s probe to strip Pasadena’s All Saints Church of tax-exempt status is an act of political censorship aimed at intimidating and suppressing opposition to the war in Iraq and the policies of the Bush administration.

I call for an immediate end to the investigation.

There is no legitimate basis for the government’s demand that the church turn over documents to IRS investigators.

The IRS action is a transparently political and anti-democratic attack, coming as it does from an administration that has done more to eliminate the separation of church and state than any government in US history.

Right-wing Christian fundamentalists exercise an effective veto power over government policy on such issues as stem cell research, abortion and gay rights.

Bush repeatedly invokes God as a justification for his policies, including the war in Iraq.

The administration funnels millions of dollars to right-wing religious organizations in the name of Bush’s program of “faith-based” initiatives.

US soldiers’ blogs censored: here.

Japan: Korean opera canceled for political reasons.

US Bush administration and freedom; cartoon

2 thoughts on “USA: Bush administration persecutes church for criticism of Iraq war

  1. From Dear Kitty ModBlog Google cache:

    USA: political censorship of church on Iraq war Linking: 2 Comments: 3
    Date: 11/7/05 at 4:25PM

    Mood: Looking Playing: War, by Edwin Starr

    From the Los Angeles Times in the USA:

    November 7

    Antiwar Sermon Brings IRS Warning

    All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena risks losing its tax-exempt status because of a former rector’s remarks in 2004.

    By Patricia Ward Biederman and Jason Felch, Times Staff Writers

    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 his sermon, 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.” …

    As Bacon spoke, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a co-celebrant of Sunday’s Requiem Eucharist, looked on.

    “We are so careful at our church never to endorse a candidate,” Bacon said in a later interview.

    “One of the strongest sermons I’ve ever given was against President Clinton’s fraying of the social safety net.”

    So, this church is attacked financially by the Bush administration.

    Will the same happen now to Rightist churches calling to vote in referendums against women’s rights to choose on reproduction?

    Or calling for killing gay people?

    Churches supporting the Iraq war, or other Bush administration policies?

    Or “Reverends” calling for murdering the democratically elected President of Venezuela?

    Or the church calling for flushing the Koran down the toilet?

    I would not bet even one dollar cent on that.


  2. Pingback: United States Iraq veteran’s suicide note | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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