Monday, November 7, 2005
Interesting story in today's L.A. Times: 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:
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....
In his sermon, [Rev. George F.] Regas . . . 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.
(Thanks to Ellen Aprill (Loyola-L.A. for the tip.)