The Internal Revenue Service has told a prominent Pasadena church that it has ended its lengthy investigation into a 2004 antiwar sermon, church leaders said Sunday.You may recall the problem for All Saints was a sermon. But everyone agrees no political endorsement was made in the sermon:
But the agency wrote in its letter to All Saints Episcopal Church that officials still considered the sermon to have been illegal, prompting the church to seek clarification, a corrected record and an apology from the IRS, the church's rector told standing-room-only crowds of parishioners at Sunday's services.
The church also has asked the Treasury Department, which oversees the IRS, to investigate allegations that officials from the Justice Department had become involved in the matter, raising concerns that the investigation was politically motivated.
At All Saints, Rector J. Edwin Bacon on Sunday told the congregants that the guest sermon by Regas, a former rector, on Oct. 31, 2004, had prompted the warning from the IRS. In the sermon, Regas did not instruct parishioners whom to support in the presidential election but said that Jesus would have told the president that his Iraq policies had failed.Which didn't stop the IRS from saying All Saints had done something wrong, even though they wouldn't be prosecuted for it. So how is this not a violation of IRS regulation?
The IRS' letter cited a Times article describing Regas' sermon as having triggered the agency's concerns.
For years, [Terry] Fox [pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Wichtia, Kansas] flaunted his allegiance to the Republican Party, urging fellow pastors to make the same “confession” and calling them “sissies” if they didn’t. “We are the religious right,” he liked to say. “One, we are religious. Two, we are right.”Wonder if this newspaper article will trigger an IRS investigation? Since Pastor Fox is no longer the pastor of that church, and since this happened over a span of nearly 30 years, I rather doubt it.
But it does put the investigation of All Saints Episcopal Church into context, doesn't it?