December 2008 Ethical Hero – Reverend George Regas

Published: December 13, 2008

By Jim Lichtman
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Reverend George RigasOn October 31, 2004, on the eve of the presidential election, Reverend George Regas stood in the pulpit at All Saint’s Church in Pasadena, California where he had been the rector for 28 years and delivered a sermon.

His homily was an imaginary conversation between President George W. Bush, Senator John Kerry and Jesus. His sermon triggered an investigation of the church by the I.R.S.

In a statement, Rev. Regas said, “The IRS has gone after All Saints Church… for a sermon I preached before the 2004 Presidential election.  They say this anti-war sermon was political intervention in favor of Senator Kerry.

“Since I stated I was not endorsing a candidate, this position of the IRS is one which implies the pulpit is not free to speak truth to power, to be critical of positions taken by the administration. My address attempts to address these critical issues.”

On November 22, 2008, I attended the 25th Annual Evening for Peace event sponsored by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, where Reverend Regas was honored as a “Distinguished Peace Leader,” for a lifetime of work including founding an AIDS center, a homeless shelter and a medical program for uninsured children, as well as a prominent leader in the interfaith nuclear disarmament movement.

“One of the most compelling voices for justice and peace in the United States,” Reverend Regas serves as Chair of the Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative.  This distinguished group of Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders has been working together in Los Angeles for more than two years.

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