IRS dispute over sermon worries other congregations
PASADENA, Calif. â€” With the campaign season in full swing, a liberal church is locked in an escalating dispute with the IRS over an anti-war sermon â€” delivered two days before the 2004 presidential election â€” that could cost the congregation its tax-exempt status.
Religious leaders on both the right and left are watching closely, afraid the confrontation at All Saints Church will compromise their ability to speak out on issues of moral importance such as abortion and gay marriage during the midterm elections.
Under federal tax law, church officials can legally discuss politics, but to retain tax-exempt status, they cannot endorse candidates or parties. Most who do so receive a warning....