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Juliet Huddy - Hypocrite Du Jour

Reported by Janie - November 18, 2005

Yesterday (11/17) on Dayside, hosts Juliet Huddy and Mike Jerrick interviewed Reverend George Regas, the now retired Reverend from California, who gave a sermon at his parish denouncing Bush's preemptive war strategy days before the 2004 election, and has now been contacted by the IRS, who are threatening to take away the church's tax exempt status.

The transcript is as follows:

JH: "A California church could lose it's tax exempt status after delivering an anti-war sermon, it was two days before the Presidential election when Reverend George Regas said "Mr. President, your doctrine of preemptive war is a failed doctrine. Forcibly changing the regime of an enemy that posed no imminent threat that has led to disaster."

MJ: "In June of this year, All Saints Church received a letter from the IRS, yikes, stating they may not be exempt as a church, they might have to pay some taxes… Remind us what the IRS Code says."

GR: "The code says that you can be involved in certain political activities, but you are forbidden to intervene in an election in supporting on particular candidate."

MJ: "So you can't endorse a certain candidate."

GR: "You cannot endorse a candidate"

JH: "And that's basically what the IRS said you did, your endorsing one candidate over another, according to the IRS, and therefore they take, they're threatening to take away your tax exempt status. Do you feel that this speech was overly political, do you feel you were endorsing once candidate over another, or pushing towards one side over another?"

GR: "I do not think it was an endorsement, I said clearly in the sermon that I was not telling people how to vote, I was saying that good Christian people can vote for President Bush and some can vote for Senator Kerry, I was not telling them explicitly how to vote, but I was raising values that the church holds central to it's life, and that's being faithful to Jesus the peacemaker."

MJ: "I thought the IRS said you could settle this thing. What is the status of the situation now?"

GR: " Well, they did say we could settle with them if we said we were guilty of the violation, and committed ourselves not to repeat it. We refused that settlement, I'm very much for the separation of church and state, it's a very important part of American life and of this pluralistic country. However, that does not mean that the church cannot be a voice of criticism of the state, and that's what I was trying to do in that sermon. I was trying to engage the Iraq war with Jesus the peacemaker, and to have that in front of the people."

JH: "In the future, would you avoid tackling political issues in your sermons?"

GR: "I talk political in sermons, I do not think that you can talk about anything in life in a non-political way, everything in life is political. Jesus said heal the sick, well, you can't talk about health non-politically in the nation that we live in."

Comment: On the surface, the interview itself was generally fair and the Reverend was respected and allowed to air his opinion. What bothered me with this segment was the hypocrisy displayed by Huddy.

Just last month, Huddy conducted a segment discussing the Supreme Court's decision not to hear a Colorado case in which a ruling was overturned because the jury decided to base their vote around biblical passages. When Huddy heard this affront, she stated, "The Bible is something that is part of the fabric of life", as though she was personally offended. So does her opinion of the Bible change when different passages are used? Or when passages are used that go against the right-wing talking points she is issued? Which part of the Bible, exactly, is the "fabric of life" then? Only the politically convenient sections?.

The segment was also a bit one-sided. Since they were discussing how a pro-peace sermon could bring the ire of the IRS, would it not have been "fair and balanced" to mention that pro-Republican, pro-war churches are not receiving warnings from the IRS for out and out endorsing candidates, as the East Waynesville Baptist Church did when they attempted to "excommunicate" members of the church that voted for Senator John Kerry?

Apparently, Fox and Huddy feel there is only one true church out there, and it's whatever church that supports their views at any given moment.

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