I wasn't aware of this until I saw tonight's episode of NOW on my local PBS station. Earlier this month, the IRS warned an Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California that its tax-exempt status could be in jeopardy. The reason? An anti-war sermon preached last year. Read about it here.
I could hardly believe this. This is a very troubling development. David Brancaggio's excellent guest discussing this was the Rev. Madison Shockley of Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad, CA. He said it was quite cynical for the IRS to target this church, when so many evangelical churches were quite active for Bush. I might use other words. The Rev. Shockley said he would not be cowed into changing his messages and he felt that other progressive clergy felt the same way.
It is events such as this which are continually happening during this administration that keep me upset about the direction this country is headed. It is important that we guard the right to dissent. It is vitally important that we guard the right of free speech and not compromise it - not for national security, not for fear of being labeled unpatriotic. It troubles me that this administration always seems to want to silence criticism. It's scary and also not very smart. Always thinking you're 100% correct is a recipe for getting into messy situations.
I hope that each person will open his or her eyes to the abuses of this administration and its allies on the extreme right. Find out what the issues are and stand up for more progressive, inclusive and less repressive ways of dealing with our society's challenges.
I hope specifically that people will be interested enough to find out more about this situation. All Saints Episcopal Church has a website where you can read about their viewpoint (their Rector's Nov. 13th sermon is worth reading) and offer support. Rev. Shockley is a columnist for the L. A. Times. You may want to read some of his columns.