Monday, April 21, 2008

Beware the Tax Collector, Cometh!

Beware the Tax Collector, Cometh!

Beware, the Tax Collector Cometh!
By Shakeel Syed, Executive Director of the Islamic Shura Council

Romans craftily taxed small farmers, artisans and businesses but exempted the senatorial class, the descendants of anyone who had served in the Roman Senate. Farmers who could not pay their taxes were enslaved (along with their wives and children) and had to give their lands and themselves to the local members of the senatorial class, losing both their freedom and their farms.

History shows us that tax collection is often used by the state as a chief instrument of power. From the ancient Egyptians and Romans to the recent British Empire and now to the emerging Empire of the United States of America, both taxes or the lack there-of is meant to demonstrate power.

The state is now using that power against All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena over a 2004 sermon by Rev. Dr. George Regas in which he said Jesus would have told President Bush, “Mr. President, your doctrine of preemptive war is a failed doctrine [that] has led to disaster.”

Beware, the Tax Collector Cometh!

The Tax Collector claims Regas’s sermon implied endorsement of the then presidential Democratic nominee for president, John Kerry. Such discourse from the pulpit is evil, said the Tax Collector and threatened to take away the church’s 501C3 status, one of the key benefits awarded by the state.

Hypocrisy of the tax collector of our time, a.k.a. the I.R.S. (I Are Us as in With Us or Against Us), cannot be but at its worst.

The spiritually and socially responsible All Saints Church is being threatened, for merely calling for justice to the destitute and impoverished while the multi-million dollar 700 Club of the infamous Pat Robertson can continue to get richer in spite of calling for the assassination of a head of state, using the tele-pulpit!

Such are the hypocrisies of the I Are Us; very similar to the Roman inequities. When commoners could not bare the injustices, they rebelled, leading to the downfall of empires. The emerging American Empire should learn from history. Downfall is near.
The role of tax agencies all along in history was to serve as the bullies of the monarchs and dictators. The IRS is no different. Selective enforcement of good law is a demonstration of such corrupt power. A moral audit of IRS is imperative for the health of our society.

501C3 or not. The call to redress inequities and injustices often begins from the pulpit. And that never has, nor will ever change. Else, the Mayflower would never have sailed.

Much before man created the I.R.S. and such three-letter acronyms, the three-letter word, God, always has and always will remain simply supreme. Pulpit or no pulpit, 501C3 or no 501C3, man will always be inspired, like George Regas, to speak for justice and equity for the destitute and impoverished. No I.R.S. can ever succeed in auditing the word of truth to the power.

An Op-Ed in support of All Saints Church, Pasadena and the threats it received from IRS.
Published in Pasadena Star News.

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