Today's post is mostly a rant about religion and politics, wrapped in yarn and flowers, because without a little warmth and freshness it would be unrelieved meanness. Not to mention it's really cold and windy today.
Here's the yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in 601 Simply Taube, which I plan to use for Malabrigo March (on Ravelry).
Here's the rant: The IRS is investigating my church denomination, the United Church of Christ, because of a speech Sen. Barack Obama gave last summer at a national church gathering in Hartford, Synod in the City. The IRS claims the UCC event violated IRS rules on political activity – the threatened penalty is revocation of tax-exempt status, tantamount to a death sentence for a nonprofit organization. The UCC disputes the IRS accusations and notes their chilling effect on the freedom of speech and religion.
Melissa Rogers gives a detailed analysis; John K. Wilson, a pithy one. More personally, DH and I attended Synod in the City (see my pix) and can attest that the event, while spirited, was hardly a campaign rally for Sen. Obama – he was one of over 60 speakers. Synod organizers invited him to give one of the several keynote addresses long before he announced his candidacy for president because he's a member of Trinity UCC in Chicago. I saw a small table with Obama '08 literature outside the venue on the sidewalk; inside I did not observe any campaign signs, buttons, chanting, or other displays for any candidate. Which is not to say there wasn't plenty of advocacy regarding poverty, the war in Iraq, Katrina recovery, Fair Trade, environmental justice, health care, and marriage equality, to name just a few topics.
Unfortunately, plain facts do not constitute a sufficient defense. IRS investigations can be protracted and the rulings are sometimes self-contradictory. Other churches in similar straits have had to spend ruinous sums on legal costs, which not only diverts money (never mind time and effort) that might be spent on ministry, but also tends to make a church very loathe to speak out on any matter. The UCC has started a legal fund, which is prudent, but so sad.
None too soon, here's the flowers: Phalaenopsis orchids. As is usual this time of year, I'm dreaming of the Flower Show.
After all, il faut cultiver son jardin [one must cultivate one's garden].