Monday, September 24, 2007

All Saints Probe over but questions remain!



The Los Angeles Times reports that the IRS has dropped its probe of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena. The whole sordid thing began back in 2004 when Rector Emeritus George Regas happened to challenge George Bush's Iraq War policy. Someone complained to the IRS who threatened to pull it's tax exempt status and demanded all kinds of documents from e-mails to sermons. The church fought back, refused to comply, and now months later they say they're dropping the probe. The only thing is, they insist that All Saints broke the law -- they just don't say how they broke the law. Well, according to the report, All Saints wants both clarification and an apology -- and both are due them.

What is interesting about this case is that the church has discovered that the Justice Department -- you know the one run by partisanship run amok Al Gonzalez -- was involved in all this. Additionally, the IRS never allowed the church to respond to the charges and provide explanations.

It looks as if partisan politics may have had a hand in this -- not from the church, but from others within the government. But things haven't worked out as expected.

Congressman Adam Schiff, who represents Pasadena commented:

"The real message from today is that the IRS picked on the wrong church," said Schiff, whose district includes Pasadena. "They thought that All Saints would fold up the tent and admit it was wrong . . . but instead they found a church that would stand up for itself."



Indeed!!!

2 comments:

Fr Chris said...

I have to say, having read the sermon in question, that Fr Regas was skating on some pretty thin ice. In his sermon, he strongly implies that Jesus would vote for John Kerry, and that people who vote for George Bush committed a sinful act in doing so. As a committed progressive who agrees that the Bush agenda is sinful in many significant ways, I still thought it crossed the line — at least the legal one.

If the IRS went wrong anywhere, it was in selective enforcement. Perhaps the line is really just that fuzzy these days because of how much they've allowed right-leaning congregations to abuse their tax-exempt status. But Regas all but endorsed a candidate for federal office from the pulpit. I don't think All Saints is exactly a persecuted party here.

Steve Kindle said...

Chris, the operative words in your comment are "thin ice," "strongly implies" and "all but indorsed." No crossing of the line here, just nuanced flirting. Of course All Saints is a persecuted party, as in your own words, it's selective enforcement.