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POLITICS: Church: Anti-war sermon imperils tax status

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posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 02:27 AM
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An Episcopal Church in Los Angelas has been threatened by the IRS to have its tax-exemption pulled after a sermon by a guest priest attacked the war in iraq. The sermon was given on the eve of the 2004 elections, which the IRS claims is a violation of rules prohibiting intervention in campaigns or elections.
 



www.cnn.com
The Internal Revenue Service has warned a prominent liberal church it could lose its tax-exempt status because of an anti-war sermon a guest preacher gave on the eve of the 2004 presidential election, church officials say.

The Rev. George F. Regas did not urge parishioners at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena to support either President Bush or John Kerry, but he was critical of the Iraq war and Bush's tax cuts.




Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Now, i have steadfastly held to the premise that most people on this site who think the US government is moving away from democracy are nuts. after this article, i'm not so sure. Trying to silence a church using the IRS is kind of ridiculous. Priests and Ministers have used the pulpit to push their political leanings since the beginning of organized religion. Why is it suddenly against the law for Christian ministers to preach anti-war sermons from the pulpit, but Muslim leaders can continue to preach anti-american sermons from their pulpit even in the US? Now, dont get me wrong, i completely disagree with the priest's stance on the war. However, he has every right to express his opinion, and i would die for his right to do so.




posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 08:23 AM
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It's true that it's the law that churches that become too political face losing their tax-exempt status. The same thing has happened to conservative churches.

It's not a free speech issue any more than your having to pay personal income taxes squelches your free speech.

[edit on 11/8/2005 by djohnsto77]



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 09:40 AM
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I agree with warning shots to churches that blatantly demonize candidates or hand out specific voting tracts, but being "anti-war" is political now?

Heads up to the Catholic Church. Between opposition to the death penalty, all war and some legal medical procedures, that's probably the biggest illegal political action committee in the US. Assuming this is enforced consistently. Which it's not.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 09:50 AM
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Without going into a specific, lets take a look at the various widespread sermons of political importance, and how it is already ingrained in the church.

well, since both parties have taken moral stances on issues, then the church has taken a moral stance on which parties to support.

take the moral out of the politics, and take the politics out of the church.

I heard from 3 different churches this last election, of how anyone that voted democrat, was a heathen murderer, and moral depraved... if that isn't pulpit politics, then i don't know what is...

the opposition to the war, is another example... and one pastor I knew even flipped on his stance, later in the war... he went from slamming the "murdering democrats" to critisizing the "elitist uncaring repubicans..."

How about since we don't really know whether God is a republican, or democrat...we not try to assume... and leave the judgement of political issues to the big guy?.... I personally think everyone will be surprised to find that God is instead a socialist.


Removing tax status from a church should be based upon a much different measurment, since they all fall short on this one...



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 09:52 AM
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Today's Pharisees love the 501(c)(3) because it allows them to get around "giving to Caesar what is Caesar's" -- but that's not what Mark 12:17 says:


And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.

According to the 501(c)(3) info on the IRS website:


To be tax-exempt as an organization described in IRC Section 501(c)(3) of the Code, an organization [...] may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate at all in campaign activity for or against political candidates.

To me, this whole issue is really like complaining about 'dancing with the devil' -- the question is not whether free speech should be limited from the pulpit, but whether or not churches should submit to the federal government in the first place. It really boils down to Matthew 6:24


No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

This sums it up best, imo:


via hushmoney.org
The American church has exchanged the mantle of the prophet for the alms bowl of the beggar. Herod has cut a deal with the church. He has promised that He will give the church all the protections afforded a corporation, and in exchange the church has promised not to call him to repentance.
source



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 09:56 AM
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"Step in Line or loose your help......."

whats next, "Step in line or be locked up for life....." or maby "Step in line or die.."

smell the stink people... its coming, WW3 will have our support or we will face the conciquences...

Got to love the orwell!

Daz Out



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 10:19 AM
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Sunday while I was visiting my mother in the nursing home where she is recovering from an illness I heard Jerry Foulwell on the Old Time Gospel Hour proclaiming from the Pulpit of his Thomas Roads Baptist Church (I live just 40 miles from him in southwestern Virginia) how it was the churches duty to be involved with politics and how his congregation should write their senators in support of Alito etc. If anyone should have their status as a non-profit questioned by the IRA...sorry I mean the IRS (
:lol
...it should be the likes of Foulwell and Robertson since they have both been meddling in politics from the pulpit for years. In the 90's Foulwell was actually selling a video on his show that accused Clinton of just about every sin known to man and then some. Like Clinton or not, Foulwell's video was all slander (I've seen it) and lurid as a porno movie and its sole purpose was anti-Clinton propaganda.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 10:38 AM
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This may not directly relate, as it has to do with existing tax payers, but it does provide a sort of precedence.

www.givemeliberty.org...

According to this article, without a federal court order, the IRS can no longer compel individuals to turn over personal and private property to them. That means SS taxes, income taxes, etc...

If this is true, it could be that any restrictions, or future taxings that the IRS may "request" of Churches may end up being only that, "requests", unless they are ordered by a federal court to pay.

The U.S. government has long used our ignorance of the law against us, claiming that if we don't allow the government to compel us illegally to do things, that we will be fined or imprisoned.

I love this site...



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 10:52 AM
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what you failed to mention is that the priest said "Jesus wouldn't have voted for Bush" or something along those lines.

I think they're going with the idea that this church is pushing an agenda other than religion and, therefore, is not doing what they said they would when they applied for their non-profit status.

I think the review is wrong but I would be more concerned with finding out who was at the sermon and turned them in. a link to abuse of power if ever there was one.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 12:38 PM
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Originally posted by snafu7700
Now, i have steadfastly held to the premise that most people on this site who think the US government is moving away from democracy are nuts. after this article, i'm not so sure. Trying to silence a church using the IRS is kind of ridiculous. Priests and Ministers have used the pulpit to push their political leanings since the beginning of organized religion. Why is it suddenly against the law for Christian ministers to preach anti-war sermons from the pulpit, but Muslim leaders can continue to preach anti-american sermons from their pulpit even in the US? Now, dont get me wrong, i completely disagree with the priest's stance on the war. However, he has every right to express his opinion, and i would die for his right to do so.


They aren't attempting to silence anyone!

You know what you are talking about right? The church had a status with the IRS to be tax exempt, but they blew the agreement. Simple as that. So don't use this time to bash Muslims.

It was also never suddenly against the law to do anything, the church knew what rules followed the exemption. You people act like they are putting red tape over their mouths without warning.

And why places of faith can be tax exempt is beyond me. I WANT TO BE TAX EXEMPT! I actually work, I actually contribute back to society, take the taxes away from me, stop stealing from me, they are the one's who burnt our beloved scientist at the stake not me!



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 01:20 PM
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Originally posted by Crakeur
what you failed to mention is that the priest said "Jesus wouldn't have voted for Bush" or something along those lines.

And I have personally heard and read right wing ministers (robertson being one on his 700 club) blatently saying that if Jesus were here today he would vote for Bush. So what's the difference? Robertsons listeners are for the most part a segment of Bushes base.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 01:21 PM
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So . . . is OK and dandy to preach in favor of Government candidates and policies but is a sin to preach against war and the Government policies.

Hum . . . do I smell double standards.


Or, control of our freedom to free speech or preach.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 01:42 PM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77
The same thing has happened to conservative churches.


I don't think so, djohn. I could be wrong, but I don't recall conservative churches being threatened except when they encouraged voting for or against a particular candidate... I could be wrong, but there's a huge difference. The code states:

"it may not participate at all in campaign activity for or against political candidates."

An anti-war stance has nothing to do with who is president at the time.

I don't know how they're getting away with this. I've been saying that a lot lately, though...



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 01:51 PM
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He said something like "Jesus would have told the president that his Iraq policies had failed." (Source: LA Times). That's treading very close to the line, if it's not crossing it.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 01:59 PM
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this is just one more example of the harrassment that has been metted out to anti-war activitists and groups by individuals associated with this administration.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 03:21 PM
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Originally posted by Frosty

They aren't attempting to silence anyone!

You know what you are talking about right? The church had a status with the IRS to be tax exempt, but they blew the agreement. Simple as that. So don't use this time to bash Muslims.


i did not "bash" anyone, and i am definitely not anti-muslim. i am anti-extremist, and that includes christian extremists.

i merely stated that they are allowing anti-american rhetoric to continue from certain mosques, yet they attack an anti-war sermon from a church. this is hypocritical.

they also seem to ignore ultra-conservative southern baptist preachers who call for the assassination of other heads of state, but they try to silence this priest for his sermon. again, hypocritical to the extreme.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 03:51 PM
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Originally posted by snafu7700

Originally posted by Frosty

They aren't attempting to silence anyone!

You know what you are talking about right? The church had a status with the IRS to be tax exempt, but they blew the agreement. Simple as that. So don't use this time to bash Muslims.


i did not "bash" anyone, and i am definitely not anti-muslim. i am anti-extremist, and that includes christian extremists.

i merely stated that they are allowing anti-american rhetoric to continue from certain mosques, yet they attack an anti-war sermon from a church. this is hypocritical.

they also seem to ignore ultra-conservative southern baptist preachers who call for the assassination of other heads of state, but they try to silence this priest for his sermon. again, hypocritical to the extreme.



That is not at all what is happening. Again, they are not attempting to silence anyone, they are revoking a tax exemption status, not censoring anybody.

What has happened to the ATSNN? As of the last month or so the articles have been either grossly misquoted/mistated or have comments that have nothing to do with the situation.

These mosque you speak of, are the tax exempt by the IRS? Can you name these mosque which you speak of? If they are not tax exempt by the IRS, why bring this up?



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 04:25 PM
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There does seem to be a double standard going on here. I mean, Dobson I believe it is, publishes a booklet that lists all the candidates and their views on those select issues that are so critical to so many christians....the message is clear, if not concise......donate your money and give your vote to those candidates that uphold your christian views.....

well, SOME christians do believe that needlessly starting wars is WRONG!!! if a multimillion dollar church organization like Focus on the Family can research every candidate, grade them, and publish their results to their listeners, well, why can't one preacher deliver the message that God really doesn't like our wars? if one should have their tax exempt status revoked shouldn't at least both of them? or is the government now, with it's divine wisdom in a position to be able to tell the churches what God does or doesn't approve of? opps, God doesn't approve of that message of yours, here's your taxbill!!!



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 04:37 PM
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Originally posted by dawnstar
There does seem to be a double standard going on here.


It is dawnstar, it is, God has become such a politician that now when one group preach in his name about the evils of war, the other side is coming forward to punish for such outrageous lies.


God is still very much active and pro war too.


Double standards.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 04:38 PM
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I think the whole thing is stupid. I think this is one of the reasons for separation of church and state.

The pastor of the church I attended went on about how Bush is a man of character, that we're in Iraq hunting down terrorists (yeah, like they ALL fled to Iraq), etc.

Say something negative about BushCo, prepare to be punished by having to pay taxes.

I don't like it because a church is supposed to be where believers assemble. You should be able to say anything you like and support whomever you like in church.

Unfortunately too many churches are just businesses, and I have yet to find a church without an inkling of it. Yes, you should support your church, of course, but don't try to wrangle money out of your congregation.



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