• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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IRS at War with Episcopal Church?

Back in February, I reported on a church service at Porter Memorial, Kentucky which was doubling as a military recruitment event.

Now fast-forward to today, to All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, via the LA Times:

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, who from the pulpit opposed both the Vietnam War and 1991’s Gulf War, 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.”

UPDATE: Ted Olsen of Christianity Today thinks the church’s regular pastor, Ed Bacon, has been playing the media and that “there is no chance—zero—that All Saints is going to lose its tax-exempt status over this sermon.” Olsen makes a good case, and so I’ve added a question mark to the title.

(Tipped from The Revealer)