September 18, 2006

Church And State -- Gotta Keep 'Em Separated

(title apologies to Apologetix)

The IRS is demanding that All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, CA turn over all their documents and emails so that they can determine whether the church violated any campaign laws and should lose their tax exempt status. The church is notoriously liberal, and is very active in social causes, so government policy is often mentioned in sermons.

From this Sunday's response to the IRS:

... we would argue that this entire case has been an intrusion, in fact an attack upon this ChurchÂ’s first amendment rights to the exercise of freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
...
Our faith mandates that always stopping short of endorsing or opposing political candidates, the church can neither be silent nor indifferent when there are public policies causing detriment to the least of these.

I'm sure that I wouldn't fit in at All Saints. I'm sure that I disagree with the folks there on matters of politics, morality, and theology. But I have one thing to say after reading the statement from yesterday.

Amen.

Our faith requires us to speak out. Our faith demands that we are not silent. And that is what the rest of the world refuses to hear, or understand. Faith is not an option to us -- it's an integral part of who we are. We can't not speak out and be consistent with our faith.

And so, while I would most likely stand opposed to All Saints and rector Ed Bacon, I want to let them know publicly that I am 100% behind them in this. This is an attack on freedom of religious expression that should alarm people of all faiths everywhere. We must speak out on this, or we will all lose.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 07:22 PM | Comments (394) | Add Comment
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