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Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Terry Glenn is a cowgirl, Oct 16, 2006.

  1. Terry Glenn is a cowgirl

    Terry Glenn is a cowgirl Banned

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    Church fighting IRS over anti-war sermon won't give up documents
    - Associated Press

    PASADENA, Calif. - An Episcopal church's decision Thursday not to
    cooperate with an IRS investigation into an anti-war sermon
    delivered before the 2004 presidential election sets up a
    high-profile confrontation between the liberal congregation and the
    IRS, which usually keeps such inquiries private.

    The leaders of the 3,500-member All Saints Church voted unanimously
    to resist an order to turn over documents related to the sermon,
    which was given just two days before the election. The decision
    means the IRS must decide whether to ask the Justice Department to
    pursue the case in court. A judge would then rule on the validity
    of the agency's demands.

    At a news conference at the church, the Rev. Ed Bacon, All Saints'
    rector, said the action was taken to defend the church's
    "responsibilities to criticize any public policies that demean or
    destroy any member of the human family."

    "Our faith demands that we say without fear or intimidation that
    every human life is sacred and in God's eyes and heart every human
    life is precious," Bacon said to loud applause and cheers. "Because
    these responsibilities are required by our faith, they are therefore
    constitutionally protected."

    Bob Long, senior warden at All Saints, said the 26-member vestry
    voted unanimously early Thursday to reject the IRS' demands, which
    included an interview with the rector, copies of e-mails and
    internal correspondence and utility bills.

    IRS spokesman Terry Lemons said he could not comment on a specific
    case and would not say whether the agency would request a court
    hearing.

    "We recognize the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and
    religion," Lemons said in a statement. "But there is no
    constitutional right to be exempt from federal taxation."

    The dispute, which could cost the church its tax exempt status, has
    attracted the attention of religious leaders on the right and left,
    who say the IRS' actions could make it more difficult for them to
    speak out on moral issues such as gay marriage and abortion during
    the midterm election campaign.

    At Thursday's news conference, church officials were flanked by
    about 40 representatives of mosques, synagogues and other churches.

    "We smell intimidation, it smells rotten, and we should not allow
    any aspect of intimidation to be directed to any member of our great
    country," said Maher Hathout, senior adviser of the Muslim Public
    Affairs Council.

    Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels of Beth Shir Sholom synagogue in Santa
    Monica suggested church supporters of all faiths contribute to a
    fund to help All Saints pay its legal fees. Comess-Daniels made the
    first pledge as Bacon looked on.

    Under federal tax law, church officials can legally discuss
    politics, but to retain tax-exempt status they cannot endorse
    candidates or parties. Most who do so receive a warning.

    The IRS, however, has promised tougher enforcement of the law during
    this year's mid-term elections and in the 2008 election cycle.

    The agency completed investigations of 90 tax-exempt churches and
    charities in 2004 and found wrongdoing in 70 percent of the cases.
    Four - none of them churches - lost their tax-exempt status. In
    2005, the agency began audits of 70 churches and charities and has
    40 cases pending so far this year.

    Earlier this week, the conservative Alliance Defense Fund and the
    Family Research Council sent letters to thousands of pastors
    informing them about their right to speak to congregations on issues
    in this year's elections, including abortion and gay marriage.

    In recent years, Republicans in particular have teamed with
    conservative evangelical leaders to motivate would-be voters, a
    strategy credited with helping President Bush win re-election.

    The dispute with All Saints centers on a sermon titled "If Jesus
    Debated Sen. Kerry and President Bush" that was delivered by guest
    pastor Rev. George Regas on Oct. 31, 2004. Though he did not
    endorse either President Bush or Sen. John Kerry, he said Jesus
    would condemn the Iraq war and Bush's doctrine of pre-emptive war.

    "I believe Jesus would say to Bush and Kerry: 'War is itself the
    most extreme form of terrorism. President Bush, you have not made
    dramatically clear what have been the human consequences of the war
    in Iraq,'" Regas said, according to a transcript.

    The IRS reprimanded the church in June 2005 and asked that it
    promise to be more careful. Church officials refused.

    According to the IRS, the only church ever to be stripped of its
    tax-exempt status for partisan politicking was the Church at Pierce
    Creek near Binghamton, N.Y., which was penalized in 1995 after
    running full-page ads against President Clinton in USA Today and The
    Washington Times in 1992 during election season.

    All Saints member Sally Howard, of West Hollywood, said she agreed
    with the vestry's decision.

    "The church should not back down from speaking to issues of peace
    and justice. And if that means that the church is going to face
    loss of its tax-exempt status, then that will be," she said. "We do
    not want to be in that position of being neutral or being silent
    because of the political ramifications."

    Howard said Regas never urged parishioners to vote for particular
    candidates.

    "He has never, and he didn't that day, he's never stated that a
    particular person should be voted for," she said.
  2. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Just a suggestion, you might want to link the article and keep it to 4 paragraphs as this is a copyright thing.

    Anyways, how does this compare to the actions of Falwell, Dobson and the rest of the crew out there who use their pulpits to espouse the conservative vote, however are tax exempt? The same goes for any little church who is telling its parishioners how to vote. I believe in the separation of the church and state and if the line is crossed Mr Tax Collector should pay them a visit.It is bad enough that this administration has begun the precedent of reimbursing them for their faith based efforts, double dipping IMO, and then ignoring their right to actively campaign for the right sans taxes.
  3. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I believe that the rule is you can speak on issues and advocate positions on those issues. The line is drawn at endorsing specific candidates.
  4. All_Around_Brown

    All_Around_Brown Rookie

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    Train left the station....
  5. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    But he may be insinuating that a particular person be voted against. I'm not sure what was said since I didn't hear the speech. I for one support the laws regarding tax exemption. If they crossed the line, they they should be reprimanded, if they did not, then they shouldn't be.

    In reading the article, they were warned once before, and refused to listen. The law is for candidates or parties. Again, they can say whatever they want, they simply have to abide by the tax laws or loose privledges.
  6. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Why have dem candidates stopped holding political rallies at Black churches?

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