After two elections in a ow in which the White House and the GOP openly used fundamentalist churches to help mobilize their base, the IRS is now threatening the tax exemption of a liberal-leaning Episcopal congregation in response to a single sermon that made an anti-war argument but no explicit, or strongly implicit, partisan endorsement.
If you believe that this is merely bureaucratic fumbling, I’ll tell you another. Here’s the thought-experiment: If the IRS had tried this against a right-wing church, how long would it have taken for the White House to tell it to back off?
This action is likely to offend even churches sympathetic to the GOP; the more discussion of it, the better. The current ruling cabal’s contempt for all limits served it well through the 2004 campaign, but I think I see a 1974-level backlash developing.
Update The evangelicals weigh in, on the good-guy side of the issue. Let’s make nice to them.