A Sunday sermon made the news on Tuesday, as seen here, when a catholic bishop compared Obama to Hitler, and essentially told his flock to vote against Obama this fall. And after the Last Word yesterday, I expected some backlash against Lawrence O'Donnell when he called the bishop and the church out on violating their tax-exempt status.
I don't expect it to go anywhere, but Americans United for Separation of Church and State has filed a formal complaint, so I suppose time will tell.
Lawrence O'Donnell addresses the subject of bishop Jenky's political advocacy early in this clip. He cites the rule prohibiting intervention in any political campaign, in support or in opposition to any candidate.
This drew the expected response from conservative catholic blowhards...
Peoria Bishop Jenky recently said that President Obama’s radical secular agenda is violative of the First Amendment. Moreover, he warned that this path to religious intolerance had been followed before by the likes of Hitler and Stalin. Anyone is free to agree or disagree, but it is just plain stupid to argue that Jenky is putting the tax-exempt status of the Catholic Church in jeopardy. O’Donnell obviously knows nothing more about the First Amendment right to free speech than he does the right to religious liberty. Maybe Rev. Al can educate him....with the thoughtful, reasoned argument of 'you're stupid!' Nice job, fellas. And anyone is free to agree or disagree, but then this is a catholic bishop telling his flock what to do, and not just that.
May God have mercy especially on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.So, Peoria catholics are free to disagree with their god. I'm sure they feel bracing waves of freedom to do so! Well, if there's one thing the church does well, as I know from personal experience, it is the guilt trip.
As Christians we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but as Christians we must also stand up for what we believe and be ready to fight to defend our faith. The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction.
Anyway, in what may be the punchline for the story this week, Americans United etc. has called the church's bluff and taken it to the IRS.
An IRS document on political activity warns non-profit groups not to engage in any issue advocacy that “functions as political campaign intervention.”The bishop's full preach is available at Right Wing Watch, and I look forward to the church, the IRS, and most likely the President for that matter to completely ignore this issue and allow it to go away. Even though the bishop is apparently caught dead to rights, I can't see the administration taking any steps that would even slightly risk alienating catholics -- even if this particular odious twit, er, bishop richly deserves to be sanctioned for his political pandering from the pulpit.
The document goes on to say, “Even if a statement does not expressly tell an audience to vote for or against a specific candidate, an organization delivering the statement is at risk of violating the political campaign intervention prohibition if there is any message favoring or opposing a candidate.”
Jenky’s comments, Lynn told the IRS, were obviously designed to express opposition to Obama’s candidacy.