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IRS probes politics at church
Miami Herald ^ | ANDREA ROBINSON

Posted on 03/22/2005 8:23:42 AM PST by Brian Mosely

The IRS has notified a Liberty City church that it is under investigation for possibly engaging in political activity -- putting its tax-exempt status into question.

The probe is related to an appearance last October by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and several black leaders, including U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami, the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

The reason for the investigation, an IRS official wrote in a 10-page letter obtained by The Herald, is that ``a reasonable belief exists that Friendship Missionary Baptist Church has engaged in political activities that could jeopardize its tax-exempt status as a church.''

(Excerpt) Read more at miami.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: blackchurch; churchandstate; democrats; electioneering; firstamendment; irs; kerry; politicking; taxes
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1 posted on 03/22/2005 8:23:42 AM PST by Brian Mosely
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To: Brian Mosely

Don'cha love it when lefties get hoisted on their own petard?


2 posted on 03/22/2005 8:24:33 AM PST by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: Brian Mosely
Maybe the IRS should focus their energy on Islamic mosques instead of churches.
3 posted on 03/22/2005 8:25:29 AM PST by LauraleeBraswell ( CONSERVATIVE FIRST-Republican second.)
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To: Brian Mosely

It's about time.


4 posted on 03/22/2005 8:26:28 AM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Brian Mosely
There was an original thread on FR when skerry went to that Church? I look for it. unless someone else beats me to it.
5 posted on 03/22/2005 8:26:40 AM PST by Rightly Biased (I believe If you can't say something good about somebody your probably talking about Hillary Clinton)
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To: Brian Mosely

It's about freakin' time. I can think of about a dozen churches they can hit in Cincinnati, including some Catholic ones.


6 posted on 03/22/2005 8:27:04 AM PST by GoBucks2002
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To: Brian Mosely

This will get ugly. The double standard bearers will be out in force. "Politics" will trump facts.


7 posted on 03/22/2005 8:27:04 AM PST by MB6.3
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To: dfwgator

Don'cha love it when lefties get hosed because they are retards? Social retards, that is.


8 posted on 03/22/2005 8:27:16 AM PST by whereasandsoforth
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To: dfwgator


""Don'cha love it when lefties get hoisted on their own petard?""

Well, I do. But this law banning churches from politics violates the basic freedom of speech. Every institution is political.


9 posted on 03/22/2005 8:27:47 AM PST by LauraleeBraswell ( CONSERVATIVE FIRST-Republican second.)
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To: whereasandsoforth

That too.


10 posted on 03/22/2005 8:28:05 AM PST by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: LauraleeBraswell

It sounds like in the case of this particular church, it went beyond simply allowing Rat politicians to speak there.


11 posted on 03/22/2005 8:29:19 AM PST by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: Brian Mosely

I disagree with the IRS investigating any Church. It is sad that Churches don't have first amendment protection.


12 posted on 03/22/2005 8:29:48 AM PST by Always Right
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To: Brian Mosely
This is not to be celebrated. Tempting but it is a reflection there is no separation of Church and State. It is all State. Our Constitution has been killed, it was on life support and despite political posturing from one party and active attempt on its life by the other the measures keeping it alive have been pulled.

Like Terri there will be no one to order it put back in. Terri will be "legal maneuvered" to death just like our rule of law.
13 posted on 03/22/2005 8:30:06 AM PST by Mark in the Old South (Sister Lucia of Fatima pray for us)
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To: Mark in the Old South

Ping


14 posted on 03/22/2005 8:33:31 AM PST by KansasConservative1
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To: Brian Mosely

It's time for all churches to lose their tax-exempt status.


15 posted on 03/22/2005 8:33:47 AM PST by Terpesman
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To: Always Right
I disagree with the IRS investigating any Church. It is sad that Churches don't have first amendment protection.

Get rid of the law. Not only is it not just, it is a huge club that intimidates conservative (mostly white and Republican) pastors because Rat churches know they can get away with anything.

A Rat admin will never investigate a Rat church and if a Republican admin does, they'll cry "racism" or "partisanship." Then, the Republicans will drop the probe because they won't want to be called "mean-spirited."

However, Rat administrations go full guns after conservative churches, to the point where some of them will not allow Republican candidates to pass out literature at the church on Election Day when people are voting there! Republican admins go after right-leaning churches in a vain attempt to get the media and other Dems to be nice to them.

16 posted on 03/22/2005 8:34:57 AM PST by GoBucks2002
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To: LauraleeBraswell
But this law banning churches from politics violates the basic freedom of speech. Every institution is political.

There is no such law. The church asks for a favor from the government, in this case not paying taxes, and in return it has to play by certain rules. All a church as to do is stop taking that government handout, then they're free from that rule.

17 posted on 03/22/2005 8:35:31 AM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: Brian Mosely

It is about time.

If a priest or pastor from a mainline non minority church dared to bring in a Republican candidate for any position from Dog Catcher to President, that church would lose its non profit status.


18 posted on 03/22/2005 8:35:59 AM PST by Grampa Dave (The MSM has been a WMD, Weapon of Mass Disinformation for the Rats for at least 4 decades.)
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To: Brian Mosely

I raised hell about this back during the election.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1263034/posts


19 posted on 03/22/2005 8:37:10 AM PST by KansasConservative1
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To: LauraleeBraswell
But this law banning churches from politics violates the basic freedom of speech

The church is not banned from speaking. This is about its 501(c)(3) status, not its right to have a position on the issues.

20 posted on 03/22/2005 8:37:50 AM PST by Camachee
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To: LauraleeBraswell
Well, I do. But this law banning churches from politics violates the basic freedom of speech. Every institution is political.

Free speech is not the question here - tax exempt status is. Churches are as free to engage in politics as they want to be - but not at my expense.

21 posted on 03/22/2005 8:38:27 AM PST by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Spec.4 Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: LauraleeBraswell
But this law banning churches from politics violates the basic freedom of speech

But it doesn't ban them from politics.

It bans them from electioneering when they agree to be classified as 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations.

Nothing/nobody forces them to be incorporated as non-profits. When churches agree to that tax designation they are doing so knowing full well what the rules & restrictions are. And the rules are the same for all 501(c)(3) groups - churches or not.

The solutions are simple. A church can abandon its 501(c)(3) status & engage in electioneering (and start paying taxes). Or it can reincorporate itself under a different designation. For instance, as a PAC. It can even create two (or more) technically separate organizations in the exact way that everyone from the NRA to Planned Parenthood have done for years.

But to say churches are banned from electioneering is totally false & misleading. Some churches just want to have their cake & eat it too.

22 posted on 03/22/2005 8:39:43 AM PST by gdani
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To: antiRepublicrat

You are correct. If they exempt me from paying taxes I will shut my political mouth from now on.


23 posted on 03/22/2005 8:40:37 AM PST by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Spec.4 Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: Grampa Dave
If a priest or pastor from a mainline non minority church dared to bring in a Republican candidate for any position from Dog Catcher to President, that church would lose its non profit status

Not true at all. I saw Bob Dole speak at a church during the 1996 campaign. Many Republican candidates at the state & local levels appear in churches throughout Ohio (where I live) while campaigning.

24 posted on 03/22/2005 8:42:50 AM PST by gdani
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To: LauraleeBraswell
Well, I do. But this law banning churches from politics violates the basic freedom of speech. Every institution is political.

Let churches pay taxes and they can say whatever they want. They have a choice.

25 posted on 03/22/2005 8:44:13 AM PST by lonestar (Me, too!--Weinie)
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To: dfwgator

Mosques do it all the time! But then that would not be PC.


26 posted on 03/22/2005 8:44:50 AM PST by YOUGOTIT
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To: Terpesman

Churches need not even file as a 501(c)(3) to be recognized as tax exempt. This is a fallacy and disinformation. A church, as a "religious, non-profit" organization should not be held to suppression of political speech.


27 posted on 03/22/2005 8:46:33 AM PST by TommyDale
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To: lonestar

Most churches are like mine in that there is no "profit" to tax anyway.


28 posted on 03/22/2005 8:47:24 AM PST by justshutupandtakeit (Public Enemy #1, the RATmedia.)
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To: Always Right

"I disagree with the IRS investigating any Church. It is sad that Churches don't have first amendment protection."

They have as much 1st ammendment protection as any other organization or person, as long as they pay the same tax rate. If you get subsidized by the government, you have to live by their rules/demands.

Of course, I support the FairTax legislation that would eliminate this at a Federal level.

The only Churches I wanted to see removed from the Tax Exempt status is all of them in my area that failed to shovel the snow all winter. I do a lot of walking and their blatent disrespect for their fellow community members made it clear that they don't value the community that subsidizes their existence.


29 posted on 03/22/2005 8:49:01 AM PST by CSM
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To: Always Right

By signing the document to become a tax exempt church....the church has given over its rights to the government...THAT church is mandated by the government. THERE IS NO SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE WITH THAT TAX EXEMPT STATUS. Read below. The whore is in bed with the beast.

Being a pastor today is a pretty lucrative proposition, from a strictly IRS tax perspective. Pastors get a special housing allowance paid for by the Church to cover the pastors mortgage and insurance including other living expenses. The pastor gets to deduct the mortgage interest on his house and gets to exclude the housing allowance from taxable income...pretty sweet huh? This only applies to IRS ministers. This also applies if the Pastor quits. He keeps the profit on his house even though it was paid for with the offerings of the Church. Here we may find at least part of the reason IRS pastors were so silent when, for the first time in American History, the IRS seized a American Christian Church. The Indianapolis Baptist Temple was seized by the IRS on February 13, 2001. Scores of Armed Federal Agents (after getting the go-ahead from 'Born Again' Ashcroft and Bush) removed the pastor and parishioners for income tax violations. These so-called tax violations were procedural only and did not cheat the Government out of one red cent. The Pastor did not withhold income taxes from employees who were acting as independent contractors even though the employees reported the income and paid the taxes separately. It seems the IRS is not interested in the tax money, but in the CONTROL and REPORTING that comes with the IRS's Lordship over the Church.

This seizure is most strange because when Jesse Jackson clearly violated the Law by:

using Tax free foundation money to house a mistress and pay for an illegitimate child

raising money in Black Churches for his Presidential Campaign (Clearly Illegal)

no one prosecuted him or seized his assets.


30 posted on 03/22/2005 8:51:44 AM PST by BriarBey
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To: gdani

That is surprising, and I would appreciate any links that you might have.

Our church lawyer and the Diocese Lawyers in 1992 sent out several letters, documents and copies of canon law stating that we could lose our non profit status for allowing any politician running for office to speak or anyone supporting a politician running for office speaking officially. Every election since then, we are reminded about the no politics re our non profit status.


31 posted on 03/22/2005 8:52:53 AM PST by Grampa Dave (The MSM has been a WMD, Weapon of Mass Disinformation for the Rats for at least 4 decades.)
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To: Brian Mosely

I actually had a sit-down with my minister on Sunday after service over where the lines should be drawn. There were some people in the church who were gathering signatures (in the lobby on Sunday morning) on a petition, which I would have signed gladly had it been presented to me in from of a supermarket. I expressed to him my concern that the church as body not be directly political. We cannot in good faith ask the government to stay out of our churches if our churches are not willing to stay out of the government. That's the deal you make when you file as a tax exempt organization.


32 posted on 03/22/2005 8:52:56 AM PST by BlueNgold (Feed the Tree .....)
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To: Brian Mosely

I seem to recall a DU/MoveOn effort to get conservative churches investigated for the same thing in 2004, and only a few out of sixty-some were found out of compliance by the feds. Seems more have been appropriately added to the list recently.

Many churches have dropped or are considering dropping tax-exempt status to allow uncensored/unpunished speech from the pulpit. It's time.


33 posted on 03/22/2005 8:53:31 AM PST by polymuser
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To: Brian Mosely

bump


34 posted on 03/22/2005 8:57:53 AM PST by RippleFire ("It's a joke, son!")
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To: lonestar
Let churches pay taxes and they can say whatever they want. They have a choice.

So, what about other non-profits and their political speech?

35 posted on 03/22/2005 8:58:11 AM PST by polymuser
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To: Brian Mosely

Bump for later


36 posted on 03/22/2005 9:00:13 AM PST by Flora McDonald (Stand the Storm!)
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To: LauraleeBraswell
...But this law banning churches from politics violates the basic freedom of speech. Every institution is political....

Well not quite. Churches claim tax exemption on first amendment grounds citing the separation between church and state. The case in point rests on the fact that the churches have taken sides in the issue of the state and may have forfeited their church status and therefore tax exemption.
If tax exemption were associated with FRee speech, we would all pay no taxes because we certainly exercise out right.
37 posted on 03/22/2005 9:00:25 AM PST by bert (Peace is only halftime !)
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To: TommyDale

I know absolutely nothing about the tax code so I can't discuss the legalities of this with you. Churches are a business, they have investment portfolios, real estate, and power. They want to act like a business, they should be treated like a business.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1363096/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1349958/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1335649/posts

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1320563/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1295847/posts


I threw in a couple of posts that I have read that made me realize that churches are as morally corrupt now as they were in the past.


38 posted on 03/22/2005 9:04:09 AM PST by Terpesman
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To: Brian Mosely

501(c)(3) specifics:
http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/0,,id=96099,00.html


39 posted on 03/22/2005 9:06:18 AM PST by polymuser
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To: BriarBey
By signing the document to become a tax exempt church....the church has given over its rights to the government...THAT church is mandated by the government.

And that is where the problem lies. That clearly Congress regulating the establishment of a religion. But oh well, those are just the actual words from the Constitution. We all know that the real meaning is that the Church shall not be involved in politics.

40 posted on 03/22/2005 9:09:15 AM PST by Always Right
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To: Terpesman

Apply the 'treated like a business' idea equally. Include other entities like Red Cross, United Way, etc. in that.

Some churches going astray is not all churches going astray. Many are leavng their apostate churches for true-teaching denominatons.


41 posted on 03/22/2005 9:11:56 AM PST by polymuser
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To: lonestar

In other words, you must pay to have free speech. Not very free.


42 posted on 03/22/2005 9:12:09 AM PST by petitfour
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To: polymuser

The point is that churches who have registered as 501(c)(3) are subject to these rules. CHURCHES ARE NOT REQUIRED TO FILE AS SUCH!


43 posted on 03/22/2005 9:13:11 AM PST by TommyDale
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To: polymuser

Tax them all!

Then maybe I wouldn't have to give ~30% of my salary to the IRS every year.


44 posted on 03/22/2005 9:13:48 AM PST by Terpesman
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To: Brian Mosely

THE CASE FOR CHURCHES TO REMAIN TAX-EXEMPT

1. Historically, churches were not taxed because our laws recognized the existence of God. In tax jurisprudence, only a greater entity can tax a lesser. Because no American governmental entity ever previously considered itself to be greater than God, God and His Church have not historically been taxed. Courts have considered the question of what judge would have jurisdiction over God in the event of nonpayment of property taxes. Because our American laws have traditionally recognized God, churches have not historically been taxed.

2. Churches offer a special function that is essential to all societies—one that government cannot as effectively provide. Churches guide people as they seek to make sense of life. They assist people in dealing with issues regarding God, self, purpose, failure, loss, sickness, disability, birth, and death. A society without answers to such meaning-of-life questions is jeopardized by people who view life as meaningless; and therefore, live for the moment in selfish and potentially reckless pursuits.

Full article at: http://www.christianlaw.org/tax-exempt.html


45 posted on 03/22/2005 9:18:15 AM PST by polymuser
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To: LauraleeBraswell

HAVE TO start somwhere


46 posted on 03/22/2005 9:24:16 AM PST by italianquaker (CATHOLIC AND I VOTE BUSH=MANDATE)
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To: Grampa Dave
That is surprising, and I would appreciate any links that you might have.

No links but most of my info from Republican pols in churches comes from a local radio program that used to air in the Cleveland area on AM 1000 (Pastor Ernie Sanders' show). During election season, there were always plenty of Republicans on & they used to always talk about going to churches & speaking from pulpits.

I would think getting info would be as easy as contacting campiagn staffs for itineraries.

Our church lawyer and the Diocese Lawyers in 1992 sent out several letters, documents and copies of canon law stating that we could lose our non profit status for allowing any politician running for office to speak or anyone supporting a politician running for office speaking officially.

Sounds to me like they're just being risk adverse re: politicians speaking. The IRS is pretty clear on this issue. Perhaps you should print the info from the following link (IRS website) & forward to your pastor.

Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations

Politicians can speak from the pulpit, talk politics, etc. Churches, however, must make the same opportunities available to other politicians, such as opponents or those from other parties.

Exactly how far they have to go is, I believe, unsettled. That is, do they have an affirmative obligation to contact someone's opponent(s) in a Senate race when they allow one candidate to speak? Or do they just have to make the opportunity available if the other candidate(s) inquire? I'm not sure.

The big no-no, of course, is a church, pastor or any subdivision of a church endorsing candidates while they are speaking withing their official capcity as reps of the church. Pastors can still endorse politicians within their capacity as private citizens.

Obviously, if they are to do so, they should make crystal clear that their endorsement is their own & not the church's.

47 posted on 03/22/2005 9:24:37 AM PST by gdani
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To: Terpesman; TommyDale

Section 527 of the tax code grants an exemption from income tax to organizations formed for the explicit purpose of influencing elections (whether federal, state or local) and nominations for federal office.

So, it looks like it's all or nothing when it comes to political speech and tax-exemptness.

Something smell here to you guys?


48 posted on 03/22/2005 9:27:00 AM PST by polymuser
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To: Always Right

"I disagree with the IRS investigating any Church. It is sad that Churches don't have first amendment protection."

All church organizations under 501-C-3 are in partnership with the government and the government can dictate what they preach. Read the code...


49 posted on 03/22/2005 9:27:50 AM PST by GGpaX4DumpedTea
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To: Always Right

"I disagree with the IRS investigating any Church. It is sad that Churches don't have first amendment protection."

All church organizations under 501-C-3 are in partnership with the government and the government can dictate what they preach. Read the code...


50 posted on 03/22/2005 9:28:12 AM PST by GGpaX4DumpedTea
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