Religion and Politics
On a similar subject, have a look at this short article from Beliefnet, about a liberal California church being investigated by the IRS:
The IRS notified the church of the investigation in a letter that cited an Oct. 31, 2004, sermon by Regas called “If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush.” Church leaders say they have done nothing wrong.
Regas' sermon speculated about what Jesus would say to Bush and Democratic candidate John Kerry on subjects including poverty, violence and war.
In his introduction, Regas said he did not intend to tell people how to vote, but at one point, Regas imagined the words Jesus would have for Bush: “Mr. President, your doctrine of a pre-emptive war is a failed doctrine. Forcibly changing the regime of an enemy that posed no imminent threat has led to disaster.”
Right. The liberal church gets investigated. Over at the Washington Monthly blog, Amy Sullivan weighs in:
Today we learn that Bush's IRS is investigating a prominent liberal Episcopal church because of a sermon last fall in which the minister condemned Bush's policy in Iraq. (No word on whether the agency is also going after the Baptist church that kicked out members who voted for John Kerry. Or the churches that helped out the Bush/Cheney campaign last year by sending in their membership directories. Or the Catholic priests who told parishioners it would be a sin to vote for Kerry.)
See the original for links.
The IRS scours the Earth to find the one liberal church it can go after, while ignoring the fact that a great many churches and religious organizations serve as arms of the Republican Party. Lovely. Even worse is that your typical red state fundamentalist would not see anything hypocritical in this. Fundamentalist religion has very little to do with sincere faith, or with forging a relationship with God. It's about political power and their own perceived moral superiority.
Personally, I think it's ridiculous that religious organizations get a tax exemption to begin with. As George Carlin once put it, if they want to get involved in poitics, let them pay the entrance fee like everyone else.