Speaking in Church — Compare and Contrast

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Mike Huckabee went to church in Texas this weekend, speaking both at the Prestonwood Baptist megachurch in Plano, and New Beginnings Church in Irving. At New Beginnings, which is on the grounds of the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Texas production studio, Huckabee appealed to Pastor Larry Huch’s charismatic audience by complimenting the church’s band and noting that he’s not a boring Baptist but rather a bass guitar-strumming “Bapti-costal.” He let Huch — who was careful to say he spoke for himself and not his church — do all the campaigning while the candidate himself told heartwarming stories about growing up poor and the difficult early years of his marriage, when he struggled financially and his wife survived cancer. 

Huch sang Huckabee’s praises to the congregation — and his position on abortion did not get first mention. Instead, Huch said that the previous evening, Huckabee “spoke about making our nation safe” from terrorists and ending our dependence on foreign oil. (Huch didn’t specify where Huckabee made those comments, but the candidate did attend a fundraiser at the home of former Pilgrim’s Pride president Lindy “Buddy” Pilgrim, at which he reportedly raised about $100,000.)

Echoing the words of Janet Folger of Faith2Action, a protégé of late televangelist D. James Kennedy and one of Huckabee’s fervent early supporters, Huch invoked the biblical story of Samuel’s search for God’s anointed one among Jesse’s sons. Introducing Huckabee to his congregation, Huch said that “God gave me this word for you … When [Samuel] saw David – and I believe you are God’s David – and the Lord said to the prophet, arise and anoint him, for this is the one. I believe God has his hand on you.”

With this

All Saints Church of Pasadena, California, notified by the IRS that it intends to conduct an examination for possible violation of its non-profit status, denies that any regulations were broken, and affirms its First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion.

The IRS cited a sermon delivered by a guest preacher on October 31, 2004, the Sunday before the 2004 Presidential election, and a local newspaper story the following day reporting on the sermon, as evidence that an inquiry was warranted. The IRS has alleged that the sermon may have contained “implicit” intervention in the 2004 Presidential election because it contained references to the two candidates’ positions on certain moral issues, and it reminded the congregation the need to consider their values when voting…

The sermon at issue, entitled “If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush,” was delivered by the Rev. Dr. George Regas, 75, who retired as rector of All Saints Church in 1995. Regas made it clear that he was expressing his personal opinions, though his sermon reflected core beliefs held by members of All Saints Church regarding the immorality and sin of war.

— and tell me when the IRS is going to land on Prestonwood like a ton of bricks. And if not, then why isn’t the apparent obvious politicization of the IRS by Bush & Co. being investigated?

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