Ed Bacon is mad as h**l, and he’s not going to take it any more.

In case you aren’t up on minor Episcopal personalities, Ed Bacon is the rector of Democratic Underground All Saints’ Church in Pasadena, California. He’s also under investigation by the IRS to see if he violated the rules against churches endorsing candidates in a 2004 sermon attacking George Bush (for the record, I think not, but then I oppose the IRS making political judgments about the content of sermons on principle). But he’s more, oh, so much more. He’s also evidently a legal scholar who knows that it’s time to set the hounds of Congress baying after the Vice President of the United States. According to his associate pastor, Susan Russell, head of the gay ECUSA lobby Integrity, Bacon decided that the pulpit of his church was the proper place for his foray into constitutional law:

In an Independence Day sermon All Saints Church rector Ed Bacon called for an investigation into grounds for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney.

“I have come to believe,” Bacon proclaimed, “that for the soul of America … the U.S. Congress should direct the Judiciary Committee to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment the Vice President.”

The July 1st sermon, entitled “God Mend Thine Every Flaw” was inspired by words from Katherine Lee Bates’ 1893 poem “America the Beautiful,” and challenged All Saints parish members to serve as “stewards of the fragile dream of democracy.”

Reciting a litany of abuses of executive power including condoning torture, lying to the American people about the war in Iraq and destroying executive office records Bacon went on to charge Cheney with “making secret what is the right of U.S. taxpayers to know.”

“God can mend our every flaw,” Bacon proclaimed, “only if we will come out of denial that we are still not living the American ideal.”

Me, I prefer the Christian ideal to the American one, whatever that is, but that’s just me. I also wonder just what the “soul of America” is, other than an expression of Bacon’s political preferences, but I’ll let that pass. What’s more interesting is Bacon’s definition of what constitutes “high crimes and misdemeanors”:

1) “Condoning torture”: Not committing it, mind you, not ordering it, but apparently–and I say apparently, because I’ve never heard any high government official say they “condone torture,” but only argue in favor of investigative techniques whose nature as torture is very much under dispute–expressing an opinion supporting it. Expressing a controversial opinion that Ed Bacon and his fellow moonbats disagree with is now grounds for impeachment.

2) “Lying to the American people”: If Bacon can produce for me one politician who has never lied to the American people about something or other, including some very big matters, I’ll listen to him. As it is, it’s universally acknowledged that presidents, vice presidents, Senators, representatives, bureaucrats, and all manner of other government types lie when it suits their purposes. That doesn’t mean I approve of it, just to say that if we impeached every office holder in Washington who ever lied to the American people, the office buildings up the road would be quickly depopulated. As for “lying…about the war in Iraq,” let’s just say that there’s been more than enough of that to go around, much of it by some of Bacon’s closest political friends.

3) “Destroying executive office records”: Did those records indicate criminal behavior on Richard Cheney’s part? I don’t know, and neither does Ed Bacon. But he’s sure they must–otherwise, why destroy them? Every piece of paper that Cheney has ever doodled on must be preserved, in order to prove to history that he was…well, whatever he was.

So the grounds for Bacon’s spleen-venting are, by and large, ridiculous, but that’s to be expected out of someone who gets his talking points from Daily Kos and MoveOn.org. But here’s the real issue: what in the name of sweet Fanny Adams do Ed Bacon’s political opinions have to do with his preaching the gospel, the job that he supposedly signed up for when he became a priest?

I have no problem with preachers taking Scripture and applying it to daily life and modern issues–that’s part of the job, and if we don’t do it we’ve not done the job of preaching properly. But the question of whether a federal official has been malfeasant in his duties and should be removed from office is not a question on which Scripture can be legitimately brought to bear. That’s a prudential legal and political judgment that, in the American system, is left to Congress. So if Bacon wants, as a citizen and a voter, to write to his representative and say that he thinks Congress should impeach Cheney, that’s hunky dory. But to take that opinion, which is not the expression of an expositor of Scripture but of a private American citizen, into the pulpit is a gross abuse of his office.

And I’ll bet the members of All Saints’ Church ate it up.

(Via T19)

UPDATE: Welcome to all of you visiting from T19. By all means, feel free to comment as much as you’d like on this. Just keep in mind the rules that apply at Father Harmon’s, and let ‘er rip.

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