Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

IRS Sued for Lax Response to Church Politicking
CBNNews.com ^ | Friday, November 16, 2012 | CBNNews.com

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.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: antitheism; atheist; atheistsupremacists; churchstate; firstammendment; freedomfromreligion; irs; thenogodgod
Pertinent: HISTORICAL QUOTES IN CONTRAST
1 posted on 11/17/2012 6:37:25 AM PST by daniel1212
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

The guys bringing suit will get tossed due to lack of standing.


2 posted on 11/17/2012 6:44:21 AM PST by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah

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.


3 posted on 11/17/2012 6:49:44 AM PST by 5thGenTexan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah

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?


4 posted on 11/17/2012 6:54:09 AM PST by Thank You Rush
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

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.


5 posted on 11/17/2012 6:56:15 AM PST by theBuckwheat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Thank You Rush
Churches always had an exemption but at some point IRS set up the 501(c)3 classification and included groups that didn't have an exemption~further rules were written to simply ignore the common law exemption.

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.

6 posted on 11/17/2012 7:04:38 AM PST by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

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.


7 posted on 11/17/2012 7:05:01 AM PST by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama lied .. the economy died.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

Never understood why houses of worship do not have same tax obligations as everyone else.


8 posted on 11/17/2012 7:06:00 AM PST by sakic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah

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.


9 posted on 11/17/2012 7:08:53 AM PST by reefdiver
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

The Left does not want to open that can of worms. Black churches are nothing but branch offices of the DNC.


10 posted on 11/17/2012 7:15:41 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the psychopath.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

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.


11 posted on 11/17/2012 7:17:55 AM PST by svcw (Why is one cell on another planet considered life, and in the womb it is not.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sakic

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.


12 posted on 11/17/2012 7:20:18 AM PST by Pining_4_TX ( The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else. ~)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

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”


13 posted on 11/17/2012 7:26:47 AM PST by PJammers (I can't help it... It's my idiom!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

The devout militant evangelical atheists are at it again.


14 posted on 11/17/2012 7:31:08 AM PST by henkster ("The people who count the votes decide everything." -Joseph Stalin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: theBuckwheat; TexasFreeper2009; Thank You Rush; muawiyah; E. Pluribus Unum; Pining_4_TX; ...

I see the restrictions as wrong, and passed before we had the watchman ministries of today.

Related:

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 group’s 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 America’s 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 institution’s 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 don’t 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.


Also,

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


15 posted on 11/17/2012 7:41:15 AM PST by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: henkster

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.


16 posted on 11/17/2012 7:45:24 AM PST by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: PJammers

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)


17 posted on 11/17/2012 8:01:07 AM PST by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah

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.


18 posted on 11/17/2012 8:04:40 AM PST by abclily
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek; Perdogg; AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; ...

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.


19 posted on 11/17/2012 8:26:51 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: 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?


20 posted on 11/17/2012 8:27:18 AM PST by PJammers (I can't help it... It's my idiom!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

The ACLU says voting in Michigan is too hard.

ACLU: Long lines at Grand Rapids polls mean people must choose between voting or their paychecks

http://www.mlive.com/opinion/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2012/11/aclu_long_lines_at_polls_mean.html


21 posted on 11/17/2012 8:29:48 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

BTW, I’m not trying to be combative brother. I re-read my posts and my passion on this subject shows through.


22 posted on 11/17/2012 8:33:03 AM PST by PJammers (I can't help it... It's my idiom!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

ping


23 posted on 11/17/2012 8:33:50 AM PST by celmak
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

I know for sure that there were churches in Ohio that talked about voting for Obama and had voting pamphlets in their hallway telling people how to vote.

They aren’t going to do this. There are hundreds more black/liberal churches pushing a “candidate.” Evangelicals are afraid of getting in trouble.


24 posted on 11/17/2012 8:44:28 AM PST by madison10
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Thank You Rush

Billy Graham urging voters to vote along the lines of their biblical principles is speech. And, it clearly is not an endorsement.

And, if really doesn’t matter. The only thing the IRS can do is tell people their giving to Church of the XYZ isn’t a legitimate deduction from their taxes. So, for those whose deductions make it better for them to itemize, this deduction will then make about a 10-15% difference of the amount donated in their taxable income. So, basically, a guy who gave is at 72300 income and gave 2000 to his church might have his taxable income reduced by 300 bucks down to 72000 before the tax is assessed.

Big Whoop!

Go ahead and speak for that paltry bit of cash.


25 posted on 11/17/2012 8:58:54 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! True supporters of our troops pray for their victory!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: sakic
Because while every person - citizen - is under the authority of the civil government, the Church body itself is under the authority of Jesus Christ. The Church is his.

Corporations and other organization types are chartered by (thus allowed to be created by and sanctioned by) civil government. For example, the Secretary of State of Delaware signs the approval to create a Delaware corporation. Ergo, the corporation is bound by applicable Delaware and U.S. law and subject to the authorities of those civil governments.

The Church is thought of in terms of the "visible" and "invisible" Church, the former being specific denominations and congregations, the latter being those people who are true believers destined for eternity with God; the two sets of people overlap, but it is not knowable precisly to what extent.

This invisible Church is theologically that which is Christ's Church, but technically every denomination can only be assumed by civil government to be "the Church", since the only information the civil government has is that a Church states that it is a Christian Church.

The Church was founded by Jesus Christ, ergo it is under his authority. Most every (but not all) civil governments in Western Civilization since then have, at least theoretically, recognized the Biblical teaching that Church authority is separate and distinct from civil government authority, and that they have different yet complimentary roles, and their own authorities and responsibilities. Most have also, in some fundamental way, recognized that the Bible is the underlying source of morality and legality and thereby civil governments have traditionally accepted the limitations of their authority as defined by the Bible (for example, they have no Biblical authority to legislate that theft or pre-meditated murder is legal), though over the past couple hundred years, of course, society has turned it's back on God. Notice this is not to say that individual people obeyed all laws, but it's an underlying recognition of the basis of the legitimacy of laws and authority. Notice also that under tyrannical or corrupt regimes, such as Stalin, Hitler, etc., laws and government became bereft of morality - but those governments also had abandoned all Biblical teaching and consequently trampled all over the Church and it's authority in it's areas of responsibility. Those are some of the worst cases, but of course the visible Church and civil government erred to various degrees since the Church's inception.

God's law word, the Bible, commands individual members to tithe to the Church; in the old days this sometimes was collected as we would think of a tax, though for many years this has been properly interpreted usually as a free will offering. And the civil government authorities would collect their tax as well from citizens.

Most people today, however, have never been taught that the entities of civil government and Church do not have the authority to tax each other. The Bible does not command tithes to the Church from civil government, only from individuals, and the civil government did not charter or authorize the creation of the Church so it has no legitimate authority over it. Today in America people see a congregation and a Church building and think of it as a club that has formed with just those members; but they are omitting, in their analysis, the fact that as a Bible-believing Christian Church that congregation is stating that they are members of Christ's church, founded over 1,900 years ago.

This is also why the civil government has no legitimacy in forcing a Church to alter it's doctrine - it has no more authority to do that than the Church does to force the passage of laws on the civil government. Each can call on the other to change their rules, leaders, policies, etc., but they can't legitimately force such changes.

Years ago, childhood education included the Bible, so people were generally more aware that government considered outside the context of the Bible, i.e., where legal principles are designed by men according to their whim in the "moral relativity" of secular humanism, would have as many suggested forms as there are men. And if they did not align with Scripture, none would have more claim to legitimacy than the other.
26 posted on 11/17/2012 9:00:49 AM PST by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

none of that means the Commissioner of Revenue shouldn’t be flensed, but he probably ought to go to Congress and ask for permanent exclusion of IRS from church affairs, even if they are UBIT related.


27 posted on 11/17/2012 9:33:12 AM PST by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

The Levites didn’t pay tithe because they maintained the temple. They were not allowed to own or farm land or raise livestock as the other tribes could. They lived off of the remains of the sacrifice or they had to purchase supplies.


28 posted on 11/17/2012 9:36:46 AM PST by PJammers (I can't help it... It's my idiom!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: PJammers

Where in the constitution does it say ANYONE is taxed.


29 posted on 11/17/2012 10:12:13 AM PST by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

The Godless atheist supremacists in Obama’s corner are mad. Their guy won and they are still angry.

Bet there number was among the ranks of Democrats who kept saying “NO (HELL) NO!” at the 2012 DNC convention when the party bosses tried to hastily put in support for God and Israel in the party platform.


30 posted on 11/17/2012 10:19:04 AM PST by a fool in paradise (America 2013 - STUCK ON STUPID)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PJammers

These issues require a deeper consideration that you express by your protests.

The Constitution does not say that churches and non profits are tax exempt, nor that they must be taxed, but allows the gov. freedom to do either (and even give money to them), and the contention is not that churches must be tax exempt, but that they must waive the normal 1st Amendment freedom if they choose to be approved as tax exempt.

As for what what Bible verse explains this exemption, that has been answered. Those who dedicate themselves to the Lord’s service without pay were absolved from paying support for the service they were already laboring in. (Dt. 26:11,12)

And even in pagan Egypt, the priests were not required to pay the tax levied on the rest (Genesis 47:26)

Yet while supported in principle, it is not mandated in Scripture, and the Lord paid taxes even though it was unjust. (Mt. 17:24-27)

But like as seen in Scripture, the gov. can choose to recognize non profits as paying their “taxes” to society by voluntary service, and absolved them from taxes so that they may increase their mission. And as such, or at least churches, usually more efficient than the government, and whose work they alleviate, then taxpayers should favor this, and churches can indirectly work to provide a more stable society by bringing souls to be controlled from within, so they need nor be controlled from without.

Moreover, churches are made up of tax payers.

In addition, while a church is essentially “not about buildings and wealth,” the fact is that practically such things, from food to clothes to buildings and the money that buys them, are used in its work and expression of love.

Thus, as we seek to be good stewards of the manifold grace of God, so we should be intent on seeing our funds be to put to the best use, and if freedom from taxes is offered, so it can be accepted.

And while many non profits (not just churches) abuse their status, that does not negate the authenticity of the rest, but can show a need for reform such as to what a non profit is .

Whether non profits can be prohibited from political involvement is the real issue, as is the sometimes one sided application of that rule.


31 posted on 11/17/2012 11:13:31 AM PST by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

Either way, we all KNOW black and “hispanic” churches won’t be targeted in this lawsuit.


32 posted on 11/17/2012 3:32:30 PM PST by Amberdawn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Donnafrflorida

If you read the 16th amendment it authorizes the income tax. The federal government is not allowed to tax direct asset like property. Only States are allowed property taxes.


33 posted on 11/17/2012 4:18:28 PM PST by PJammers (I can't help it... It's my idiom!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Donnafrflorida

If you read the 16th amendment it authorizes the income tax. The federal government is not allowed to tax direct asset like property. Only States are allowed property taxes.


34 posted on 11/17/2012 4:18:39 PM PST by PJammers (I can't help it... It's my idiom!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Donnafrflorida

If you read the 16th amendment it authorizes the income tax. The federal government is not allowed to tax direct asset like property. Only States are allowed property taxes.


35 posted on 11/17/2012 4:18:52 PM PST by PJammers (I can't help it... It's my idiom!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: PJammers

Thanx did not know that


36 posted on 11/17/2012 4:33:11 PM PST by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

Sorry for the triple post. Not taxing churches has more to do with tradition than law. Man makes the law, makes the money, and collects taxes. These are the ways of the world and shouldn’t concern us. If Washington’s face is on the dollar then we should give it to Washington.

I am a member of the American Legion. A non-profit organization that doesn’t have a paid member in the entire organization, yet we are taxed on property along with any income we receive for the rental of the hall. All of our members pay taxes. We operate on a shoestring budget yet we are able to serve our community.

I see 100 million dollar churches being built in my area not blocks from 100 million dollar churches. Pastors driving new Cadillacs.

The church is its members, not how much money they make or spend.

Sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree.


37 posted on 11/17/2012 4:55:32 PM PST by PJammers (I can't help it... It's my idiom!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Donnafrflorida

No problem. Actually congress can get around the direct tax by labeling your property as income.


38 posted on 11/17/2012 5:08:58 PM PST by PJammers (I can't help it... It's my idiom!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: daniel1212

The time for listening to these shlubs is over. It’s time to tell them to just go find a hole and climb into it.


39 posted on 11/17/2012 5:14:58 PM PST by maxwellsmart_agent
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson