A formal complaint has been filed with the Internal Revenue Service following a local bishop's recent homily comparing President Barack Obama's policies to those of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
The director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed the complaint, accusing Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky of intervening in a political campaign, according to the Chicago Tribune. Rev. Barry Lynn said Jenky's message urged his congregation to vote against Obama.
During Sunday's homily at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria, Jenky contended social services for Catholics could be eliminated if Obama's directive to include contraceptives in health insurance continues. Jenky went on to compare the actions to past cultural wars against the Catholic Church.
“Remember that in past history other governments have tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches like the first disciples locked up in the Upper Room,” Jenky said.
In comparison, he pointed to Otto von Bismarck's "culture war against the Roman Catholic Church, closing down every Catholic school and hospital, convent and monastery in Imperial Germany."
“Clemenceau, nicknamed ‘the priest eater,’ tried the same thing in France in the first decade of the 20th Century," Jenky said. "Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services and health care."
"In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama, with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path,” he said.
The Anti-Defamation League on Thursday demanded an apology for the comments, calling them "not only offensive, but grossly inaccurate and dangerous rhetoric."
"A clergy person with so many people listening to every word should be more responsible and should think twice before making analogies," said League Regional Director Lonnie Nasatir.
The Archdiocese of Chicago said they offer religious freedom as something they encourage people to investigate.