Patterico's Pontifications


The Return of Deja Vu All Over Again: L.A. Times Yet Yet Yet Again Gives Us The Myth of the Church Whose Tax-Exempt Status Was Threatened Over an Anti-War Sermon

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 1:32 am

It’s so wonderful to have the L.A. Times treat us once again to the Myth of the Church Threatened with Losing Its Tax Exempt Status Over an Anti-War Sermon.

In an article yesterday titled Pasadena Church Wants IRS Apology, the local rag reports:

[Rev. George F.] Regas did not instruct parishioners whom to support in the presidential race, but his suggestion that Jesus would have told Bush that his preemptive war strategy in Iraq “has led to disaster” prompted a letter from the IRS in June 2005 stating that the church’s tax-exempt status was in question.

As I have documented on this site time and time again, there was much more to Regas’s sermon than mere anti-war sentiment. Specifically, in one sermon, Regas managed to communicate that:

  • Jesus hates war.
  • Jesus specifically hates the Iraq war. He thinks it is terrorism, and that Bush does not care about Iraqi children the way he cares about Americans.
  • Jesus dislikes tax cuts. (A previous letter from the IRS specifically noted that Regas described tax cuts as “inimical to the values of Jesus.”)
  • Jesus does not like Bush’s nuclear weapons policies.
  • Jesus is pro-choice.
  • Jesus favors government involvement to ensure adequate pre-natal care, “dignified jobs,” and affordable housing.

In short, Regas’s sermon was one huge advertisement for the policies of John Kerry, and against those of George W. Bush.

The latest article says:

In its latest letter to All Saints, dated Sept. 10, the IRS said the church continues to qualify for tax-exempt status but that Regas’ sermon on Oct. 31, 2004, amounted to a one-time intervention in the 2004 presidential race. The letter offered no specifics or explanation for either conclusion, but noted that the church did have appropriate policies in place to ensure that it complied with prohibitions on political activity.

Of course, if the IRS did offer specifics or explanation, the L.A. Times would hide it from you. That’s exactly what they’ve done virtually every single time they have written about this issue. Why change anything now?

UPDATE 9-24-07 7:12 a.m.: The version I quote above was apparently a first draft. The final version is now available and is on the paper’s front page today. It is little different in content. Here’s the relevant passage about why the IRS targeted the church:

One of Southern California’s largest and most liberal congregations, All Saints came under IRS scrutiny after a sermon two days before the 2004 presidential election by a guest speaker, the Rev. George F. Regas. In his sermon, Regas, the church’s former rector, imagined Jesus participating in a political debate with then-presidential candidates George W. Bush and John F. Kerry.

Regas did not endorse either candidate, saying that “good people of profound faith” could support either one. But he strongly criticized the war in Iraq and said that Jesus would have told Bush that his preemptive war strategy in Iraq “has led to disaster.”

The story contains none of the other blatant anti-Bush sentiments expressed in the sermon, and the tenor of the story is that the church was wronged — but had the nerve to stand up for itself.

And so the truth is, once again, gravely distorted by this rag of a paper.

13 Responses to “The Return of Deja Vu All Over Again: L.A. Times Yet Yet Yet Again Gives Us The Myth of the Church Whose Tax-Exempt Status Was Threatened Over an Anti-War Sermon”

  1. Jesus is pro-choice

    Wow! Where did this Regas guy get the insight that Jesus was into infanticide?

    juandos (0ecd0b)

  2. The more important point whatever the weaknesses of this article is the double standard for religious organizations opposed and those supporting the president and his policies. Ohio is one famous example and there are others. You see a tree and ignore the forest.


    blah (918977)

  3. jesus dislikes tax cuts…

    well, he did say “render unto caesar” which is one of his most telling remarks because he provided absolutely no guidelines for any independent interpretation of “that which is caesar’s”, essentially a total capitulation to caesar’s fiat. this lends credence to the view that religion is a tool of the state to gull the people.

    assistant devil's advocate (ab8298)

  4. Web Reconnaissance for 09/24/2007…

    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often….

    The Thunder Run (59ce3a)

  5. Shorter Patterico:

    “Liberals in Church — BAD!!!!”

    “Conservatives in Church” — (crickets chirping)

    David Ehrenstein (b35c9c)

  6. blah,

    Got any statistics to back that up?

    I rather doubt you do, because my recollection (don’t hold me to it) is that the statistics undercut your argument.

    But feel free to supply them. (Statistics, please, not anecdotes.)

    Patterico (554cbe)

  7. I believe George F. Regas was saying that it wrong for politicians to oppose abortion and at the same time fail to provide funding for poor mothers to raise healthy kids.

    Wonder if Bush is gonna veto SCHIP?

    alphie (99bc18)

  8. assistant devil’s advocate,

    Thanks for showing your biblical ignorance. Next time try a little harder.

    Minturn (2a8465)

  9. I mentioned Ohio and that meant Kenneth Blackwell. And you knew that I think.

    blah (55d03b)

  10. ada’s ok, it’s just that he’s been too isolated in his rainy backwoods for too long. We have to send him abroad. Or maybe a broad? 😉

    ada, some persnickety people might consider “render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” the first statement for the separation of church and state. Also, as a self-professed pagan, you must know that it was the pagans who made religion a tool of the state, notably the Romans who made it part of the civil service even to electing their pontifexes the way they elected their tribunes, consuls and praetors.

    nk (7c7414)

  11. Don’t be too tough on Rigas, he has little interest in being tied down to what the alleged “jesus” dude said anyway. Ask Rigas: didn’t Jesus also say that belief in him was the only way to salvation through God? Sure. Like he isn’t going to weasel out with the “there are good people who know God who are not Christian..” blah blah. Of course, the commitment at All Saints to embracing a watered down faith does not extend to exiting their lovely building, build and paid for by the narrow-minded “Jesus” believers who went on before them. Nope – like spoilt trust fund children, All Saints wants to be “free” from Mom and Dad’s narrow viewpoints…..and they want all of Mom and Dad’s stuff too. “Church in a tent? what, are we some sort of red-necked Jaysus types?!”

    californio (1eb8f2)

  12. […] maybe there was a bit more to it than that. As I have documented on this site time and time again, there was much more to […]

    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story « Something should go here, maybe later. (0de2f5)

  13. Forma pluralis nominis “pontifex” “pontifices” est.

    nhrenton (4e9369)

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