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The IRS declares war on churches« Thread Started on Nov 19,

Daily newsbrief journal for November 2005, also see for a global 100-page perpetual brief and follow twitter @usdemocrats

The IRS declares war on churches« Thread Started on Nov 19,

Postby admin » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:42 pm

The IRS declares war on churches« Thread Started on Nov 19, 2005, 4:10am » --------------------------------------------------------------------------------IRS declares war on churchesEditorial / Opinion read source: ... 901Richard Nixon lives. In one of the more notorious acts of his presidency, Nixon turned the Internal Revenue Service into a White House attack dog, unleashing them to go after anyone who dared cross his path: Alabama Gov. George Wallace, Democratic Chair Lawrence O'Brien, Sen. George McGovern and the Ford Foundation, among others. Richard Nixon lives on in the person of George W. Bush, only more evil than ever. At least Nixon only sicced the IRS on his political enemies. Bush has turned the tax cops loose on at least one religious leader simply for expressing his opposition to the war in Iraq. And he won't be the last. It started with All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., where Rector J. Edwin Bacon was recently notified by the IRS that his church risks losing its tax-exempt status. Why? "A reasonable belief exists that you may not be tax-exempt as a church," warned the IRS, because of a sermon preached by former rector George F. Regas on Oct. 31, 2004, shortly before the last presidential election. Regas is one of Southern California's best known clergymen, and a long-time peace activist. He was an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq. I met him in the 1980s, when he helped lead opposition to the Reagan administration's illegal support of the contras in Nicaragua. It was no surprise when he stepped into the pulpit and spoke in opposition to the war in Iraq. That's not an unusual position for a priest, rabbi or minister to take. Regas, in fact, was doing nothing more than echoing the teachings of the Prince of Peace: "Put your sword back in its place. For all who draw the sword will die by the sword." In his sermon, Regas told the congregation that, were Jesus Christ alive today, He would not support the war in Iraq. In fact, said Regas, if Jesus could only make it through White House security (a Middle Eastern man with a beard?), he would tell Bush: "Mr. President, your doctrine of pre-emptive war is a failed doctrine. Forcibly changing the regime of an enemy that posed no imminent threat has led to disaster." In taking that stand, Regas was hardly alone among church leaders. In fact, during the buildup to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, only one religious organization -- the Southern Baptist Convention -- supported the war. Every other church or organization, including many individual Baptist churches, came out in opposition. The general secretary of the World Council of Churches called the war in Iraq "illegal, immoral and unwise." Pope John Paul II sent his personal emissary to tell President Bush his plans for war were morally indefensible. Indeed, when it comes to war, it is pro-war Christians, not anti-war Christians, who should bear the burden. The message of Jesus is clear: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." Let those Christians who opt for war over peace explain why they know better than Jesus. But don't punish those who take Him seriously and oppose a particular war -- especially an unprovoked, pre-emptive war. So why was Regas singled out for retaliation by the IRS? Surely, not for preaching the Gospel. But not for violating the separation of church and state, either. In opposing the war, he was talking policy, not politics. In fact, in that same anti-war sermon, Regas said that "good people of profound faith" could vote for either John Kerry or George W. Bush. He made no endorsement. No, Regas was singled out for one reason only: because he dared speak out against the war in Iraq. Consider this: Regas purposely did not tell members of his flock how to vote. Yet, at the same time, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and other evangelical preachers told their followers it was their "Christian duty" to vote for Bush. Now Regas is targeted by the IRS, while Falwell and Robertson are not: proof that the attack on Regas is part of a political witch hunt, initiated by the Bush White House, and directed against critics of the war. There's one way to stop the IRS. All George Bush has to do is pull the plug. Of course, he'll never do that. Bush wants to destroy Rev. George Regas, just like he tried to destroy Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame -- and he won't hesitate to use taxpayer-funded government agencies to do so. Even Richard Nixon would be appalled. Bill Press is host of a nationally syndicated radio show and author of a new book, "How the Republicans Stole Christmas." His email address is: His Web site is:
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