Wednesday, November 09, 2005

DISSENTER'S NOTEBOOK: Just a Question...

Well, maybe a couple... If what Episcopal Rev. Dr. George Regas said in a sermon October 31, 2004, was trying to influence an election, where was the IRS from July through October 2004 when Roman Catholic priests were proudly and very publicly denying John Kerry communion and telling their parishioners that voting for any candidate for any office who supported abortion would send them to hell? If that was not a deliberate attempt to influence an election, what could be? Where are the IRS letters to those churches? Surely they must be coming...

And if an Episcopal sermon suggesting that parishioners should vote for whichever candidate best matched their conscience caught the IRS’s eye, where was the IRS in 2004 when fundamentalist churches were threatening their parishioners with hellfire if they did not vote for George W. Bush? If that was not a deliberate attempt to influence an election, what could be? Where are the IRS letters to those churches? Surely they must be coming...

And when the leadership of both those Christian groups was working mightily, and publicly, to see that George W. got elected? Where was the IRS then? If those were not overt attempts to influence an election, what could be? Where are the IRS letters to those denominational leaders? Surely they must be coming... But we know none of those letters are coming.

The IRS has always been a tool of punishment for the Executive Branch of our government. If you can’t get a mafia mobster on murder charges, you can always get him on tax evasion. But now the IRS is being used for purposes that are a greater threat to democracy than a mere mobster.

There is an obvious disparity between the government’s treatment of churches that favor mr. bush’s policies, including torture, and those that favor other values like peace or social justice. There are rewards for those who support his policies: the funding allocations for faith-based initiatives make that clear. The most recent letter from the IRS to All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena makes it clear that mr. bush’s administration will also find ways to punish churches whose pastors speak out for peace and the still small voice of social conscience.