Skip to comments.Madison group sues IRS over political activity by churches
Posted on 11/15/2012 11:10:35 AM PST by Ellendra
MADISON, Wis. - The Madison-based Freedom from Religion Foundation argues in a federal lawsuit that the Internal Revenue Service is violating the U.S. Constitution by allowing tax-exempt churches and religious organizations to get involved in political campaigns.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Madison cites full-page ads run this fall in the New York Times and other newspapers by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and a letter that Illinois Bishop Daniel Jenky required to be read in churches the weekend before the presidential election.
The lawsuit argues that not enforcing the law prohibiting tax-exempt religious organizations from electioneering results in preferential treatment not provided to other tax-exempt organizations like the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
A spokesman for the IRS did not immediately return messages.
Issues are 100% acceptable. Promoting candidates is not.
Religious organisation have gathered up there lawyers and have pushed against the myth that the IRS has any authority to regulate speech from the pulpit. Recently the IRS has stated and agreed with the lawyers representing religious organizations that the IRS has no legal authority to silence political speech from the pulpit. This case has no leg and is going nowhere!
I never understood why churches accepted this whole “non-profit” status thing. They gave the government a hold on them by accepting that. They should have never had to register with government at all.
I think unregistered churches and house churches are the wave of the future.
Churches should have free speech too.
Churches that back 0bama and middle-eastern-death-cult indoctrination centers are exempt.
Isn't there a law that requires political action committees to identify themselves?
This is exactly what these churches want. They want to IRS to crack down on them, so they can take it to court and hand the Johnson amendment thrown out.
Churches have been tax-exempt since 1791 (the year the Constitution was ratified). That was 122 years before the income tax came into existence (1913).
Churches are NOT tax-exempt because they are non-profits.
Churches ARE tax-exempt because they are religious institutions. And, that is the end of the story.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It has always been understood that, since taxation has the power to destroy, that allowing the government to tax a church would inhibit the church’s ability to practice its religion.
The power to tax is the power to destroy. Most small churches would quickly disappear if they were taxed.
No candidate was mentioned, for or against. No political party was mentioned, for or against. That means: there was no electioneering.
Churches and clergy are ALWAYS permitted ("permitted"!) to talk about issues.
“Issues are 100% acceptable. Promoting candidates is not.”
That’s your position, but what if someone else feels differently? Should your personal opinion hold sway over someone else’s religious freedom?
We get upset at black churches promoting candidates from the pulpit, but the fact is throughout most of American history, that was the norm, not the exception.
Then again, if they had nothing taxable (unregistered churches) they’d have no worries.
“Churches and clergy are ALWAYS permitted (”permitted”!) to talk about issues.”
Permitted? By who?
Better idea - do away with the immoral income tax - which is the only reason for any deductions. Let governments be funded by sales taxes, tariffs and fees (No VAT tax!!!).
Give every person a rebate payment equal to $X (Average cost of living) x Y% (Sales tax rate).
Reduce the government revenue stream, get out of the distribution business - THEN let us fund the charities we please, or help the individuals we choose - WITHOUT ANY IMPACT ON OUR TAX LIABILITY.
Pretty simple, but impossible for government types to do.
The case will be dismissed on the basis on standing. Since FFR has not been denied its tax exempt status it has no controversy or claim at issue.