Skip to comments.IRS Sued for Lax Response to Church Politicking
Posted on 11/17/2012 6:37:21 AM PST by daniel1212
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service over its lax response to church politicking.
The group argues that the tax agency is violating the Constitution by allowing tax-exempt churches and religious organizations to get involved in political campaigns.
The suit points to several examples, including a full page newspaper ad by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
The ad, which showed a photo of Rev. Billy Graham, urged Americans to vote along biblical principles.
The 94-year-old evangelist also met with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in October and promised to do all he could to help him win the election.
The lawsuit argues that the IRS is giving preferential treatment to religious groups over other tax- exempt organizations.
The guys bringing suit will get tossed due to lack of standing.
If the suit goes forward, can it be converted to a class action without the original suitor’s cooperation?
If so, go after the churches Dems work with, speak at, and have vocal preachers.
Isn’t the exemption based on actual church services with a pastor or priest actually speaking pro/con about political issues from the pulpit? Where does a newspaper article or op ed fit into that?
What about ‘Congress shall make no law’ is hard to understand. Government cannot express an opinion about an ecclesiastical issue, even if that issue pertains to a matter in the public square and before the body politic.
For example: One of the Ten Commandments forbids coveting. Another forbids theft. When a candidate proposes to “spread the wealth around” and even to coerce all citizens to live at the expense of every other citizen, that is a political issue that touches on an ecclesiastical one: sin.
Pastors have every obligation to point out that socialist political policies are based on violation of the Commandments that forbid coveting and theft. Sadly, not only do too few pastors care to do so, too many have allowed such candidates to speak to the congregations from behind the very pulpit was supposed to be dedicated to preaching the implications of those very Commandments.
The Democrats could always be counted on to keep it in place ~ but more recently with a black man in as President that old fire to prohibit political talk in church has rather died away.
Obama has some hard earned Trinity Church of Christ street cred to stick to in this one so IRS has simply ignored third-party complaints the last 3.8 years!
The first amendment says Congress can't pass laws that restrict religion, so presumably the law that allowed this is unconstitutional, or it's simply been misunderstood.
At POD and USPS the folks in Mail Classification found no problem sticking to the earlier pre-LBJ, pre-501(c)3 standards regarding religion ~ it's just IRS that had a problem, and a couple of well directed firings or flensings would have done the job just as well as putting a black guy in as President.
I’ll believe they are serious about this kind of thing when they start going after the black churches and their “souls to the polls” drives.
Never understood why houses of worship do not have same tax obligations as everyone else.
Well maybe, But look at the left, no moss under their feet! Just days after an election and they are already getting their ducks in a row for the next one.
They never stop.
The Left does not want to open that can of worms. Black churches are nothing but branch offices of the DNC.
If churches didn’t covet this tax except status they wouldn’t have to worry about what they say.
The status is a way for the federal government to control them.
Perhaps all you see are the mega-churches. Most churches operate on a shoestring budget. Regardless of your views on religion, churches are some of the last truly private charitable organizations attempting to hold communities together.
We see what happens to a religious group when they get involved with government in any way. State churches in Europe are basically dead. Roman Catholic churches here are feeling the heavy hand of government in their schools and hospitals.
If a church has received any form of government assistance then they have made a deal with the devil.
Additionally, the tradition of churches not paying taxes was implemented by Emperor Constantine when he hijacked Christianity and declared himself pope. The pagan temples didn’t pay taxes at that time so the same privilege was offered to the Christian churches.
I have no problem with churches paying taxes especially if they have taken my money. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s”
The devout militant evangelical atheists are at it again.
I see the restrictions as wrong, and passed before we had the watchman ministries of today.
1,500 ministers to preach on politics (http://www.wnd.com/2012/10/1500-ministers-to-preach-on-politics)
The number of pastors standing up for their right to preach from their pulpits on politics is surging.
They call a ban on such speech a cultural myth.
In 2008, 35 pastors defied the IRS, which holds the position that church organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.
The number of pastors boldly opposing the IRS rule grew to 539 in 2011 and is expected to be more than 1,500 on Oct. 7, during what organizers are calling Pulpit Freedom Sunday.
The pastors find support and instructions on participating at pulpitfreedom.org, and they are backed by a legal team at the Alliance Defending Freedom.
While WND was told no church ever has lost its tax-exempt status over such issues, the circumstances of such cases vary widely. There was a case handled by the American Center for Law and Justice in 2000 where Branch Ministries of Binghamton, N.Y., had its tax-exempt status withdrawn after church officials bought full-page newspaper ads blasting Bill Clinton.
The decision was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The ACLJ said, The ACLJ believes that this campaigning ban impermissibly infringes on the First Amendment rights of churches, but added, It is nevertheless the current law. Consequently, churches desiring to keep their tax-exempt status must stringently adhere to it.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State says it has sent 60,000 letters to churches in an effort to tell pastors that the law requires them to stay out of politics.
The groups position is that churches are only tax-exempt because of the 501(c)3 provision in the tax code, which has been revoked at least once since 1954.
That was the year Democratic Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson inserted language into a tax bill designed to restrict outspoken political opponents from using their nonprofits to campaign against him. Known as the Johnson Amendment, it enabled the IRS to become a watchdog of Americas church pulpits.
Any activity designed to influence the outcome of a partisan election can be construed as intervention, the Americans United letter declares. If the IRS determines that your house of worship has engaged in unlawful intervention, it can revoke the institutions tax-exempt status or levy significant fines on the house of worship or its leaders.
The letter then recalls, In 1995, the IRS revoked the tax-exempt status of a Binghamton, N.Y., church for buying a full-page ad in USA Today opposing a 1992 presidential candidate.
The Alliance Defending Freedom contends the AU letter is misleading and disingenuous, explaining that the church in New York had its determination letter revoked, not its tax exempt status. The distinction is crucial, ADF told WND, because there was basically no effect on the church from this IRS action.
Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for Americans Defending Freedom, told WND that churches dont need a determination letter from the IRS to be considered tax-exempt.
IRS section 508(c)1 (a) automatically exempts churches, and no advance determination letter is necessary, he explained.
The amount that churches are giving overseas in goods and services to developing (Third World) countries amounts to $8.8 billion. This figures out to be nearly 40 percent of the foreign aid provided by the United States to the same region. U.S. foreign aid to those same countries is $23.5 billion. Carol Adelman of the Hudson Institute, from Notre Dame University study.
On average, weekly churchgoers donate 3.8% of their income to charity, compared to 0.8% for those who never go. Independent Sector (charitable clearing house): Atheists won’t save Europe by Don Feder; http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=27937
Much more stats: http://peacebyjesus.witnesstoday.org/RevealingStatistics.html#8
Indeed. As if the Founders were atheist and or against general affirmations of the basic Christian faith, and as if the 1st Amendment was applied to all the States from the beginning.
It began before that, as the Levites did not have tax nor tithe, nor the Egyptian priests in Josephs time i think. But accepting State support with its strings is a problem, and the church is supposed be supported by its own (and not be gambling):
“Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth. “ (3 John 7-8)
Freedom from Religion Foundation? How stupid is that? Who funds this stupidity? We are all spiritual creatures. Someone wants freedom from being a spiritual creature? I certainly hope FFRF is taxed at the highest possible rate.
Here in Grand Rapids, the ACLU is headquartered inside the Fountain Street ‘Church’. No lawsuits by the Freedom from Religion foundation are expected. Thanks daniel1212.
Where in the Constitution does it say that churches are tax exempt? What Bible verse explains this exemption? Churches devoting resources to watch government regulation?
If a church devotes this amount of time and resources towards the preservation of money then it’s heart is not in the right place. A Christian church is the assembly of it’s members with Jesus as it’s head. It’s not about buildings and wealth. Money is of the world yet “churches” covet it more than salvation.
Money is created by man and not surprisingly he wants it back. Give it to him. Why should you care?
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