Monday, June 19, 2006

Bureaucracy of Death

June 12, 2006

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The Internal Revenue Service is warning religious leaders in South Dakota that their churches' tax-exempt status could be jeopardized if they campaign against a challenge to a law that bans nearly all abortions in the state, a proposal that could be on the November ballot.

Compare Warren's point about regulation and the death of manhood. Also, Tocqueville's insight that bureaucracy excels not at doing but preventing; not at fructifying but at preventing things from being born . . .

Newspaper accounts from across the nation show some examples of that IRS interest:

An Episcopal church in Pasadena, Calif., was audited after a rector gave a sermon titled "If Jesus debated Senator Kerry and President Bush" and discussed the war in Iraq and abortion rights.

A complaint was filed against a Boston church where the pastor introduced Sen. John Kerry as the "next president of the United States." The church's lawyer argued the introduction was not intended as an endorsement.

An Ohio church had a complaint filed against it because it invited the Republican gubernatorial candidate to speak, but not the Democratic candidate. The complaint said the Democrat was not invited because he opposed a ban on same-sex marriage.

In New York, a group called Catholics for Free Choice filed a complaint against Priests for Life, saying that via e-mail and a blog the anti-abortion group said it would campaign for "pro-life" candidates in the 2006 elections. The IRS also got complaints that said churches gave political parties their membership directories.

Some religious leaders' increased involvement in the last election campaign made some people uneasy. Conservative religious groups were credited with helping Bush's campaign by telling voters that he shared their Christian values.


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