Mixing Religion and Politics: A Holy Task
Regas will address the critical issues raised by the current IRS investigation into All Saints Church, which he describes as a direct result of the sermon he delivered in 2004 in which he criticized the war in Iraq and President George W. Bush, who was then campaigning for reelection. The IRS investigation, which is examining the tax-exempt status of All Saints as a church and nonprofit, has placed All Saints in the center of a national debate on "politics from the pulpit."
"The IRS has gone after All Saints Church, where I served as rector for 28 years, for a sermon I preached before the 2004 presidential election. They say this antiwar 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," states Regas.
Regas is considered a prominent voice for peace and justice in the United States. For three decades, he served as rector of All Saints Church. This culturally diverse congregation was highly active, under the leadership of Regas, in its opposition to the Vietnam War; the escalating nuclear arms race; the covert Central America wars; and Gulf Wars I and II. During his tenure, Regas established the largest AIDS service center in the San Gabriel Valley; supervised the creation of the Young & Healthy Program, which serves uninsured and underinsured children; and established the homeless shelter Union Station.
In 1998, he founded the Regas Institute. The Institute is dedicated to the study and examination of progressive religion, with the goal of countering the dominance of the Religious Right. The Regas Institute seeks to organize and advocate locally and nationally for a progressive religion that speaks and acts on both economic and racial justice, as well as gender equality, gay rights, and reproductive choice.
The Social Activism Speaker Series is a program organized by Caltech students that focuses on current social and political issues by inviting prominent activists to share their experiences and perspectives with the Caltech community and the public. The series is coordinated with the help of the Caltech Y, and is made possible by contributions from the Moore and Hufstedler Funds, Student Affairs, Campus Life, the Alumni Association, the Graduate Student Council, and the Associated Students of Caltech, along with the Caltech Y.
The Beckman Institute is located at 400 South Wilson Avenue. The auditorium is on the first floor of the north wing of Beckman Institute. Parking is available in the lots south of Del Mar Boulevard between Wilson and Chester avenues; in the Holliston Avenue parking structure between Del Mar Boulevard and San Pasqual Street; and in the Wilson Avenue parking structures between San Pasqual Street and Del Mar Boulevard.
For more information, visit http://sass.caltech.edu or contact Greg Fletcher, Caltech Y, (626) 395-6163. ###
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