By: Richard Andrew
To be a tax-exempt, non-profit and stay that way by insisting that the non-profit stay within the confines of IRS law, can be easier for some than for others. There have been some problems in Paradise, recently, that may bother you if you have been paying your taxes like everyone else. It seems that churches a more tax-exempt than any other non-profit.
Brendan Kiley, a writer for the Alliance for Children and Families Magazine, cited “This Sunday, over a thousand American preachers are going to strike a craven blow against the separation of church and state and doll it up as if they’re doing liberty and the First Amendment a favor. About the same time the Washington Post published this: from Los Angeles. . . In a matter of days, some 1,400 American pastors are planning to break the law. And they’re likely to get away with it. As part of “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” on Oct. 7, religious leaders across the country will endorse political candidates — an act that flies in the face of Internal Revenue Service rules about what tax-exempt organizations, such as churches, can and cannot do. Churches have turned “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” into an annual event in direct defiance of the law.
There is nothing wrong with 1,400 preachers wanting to speak on a subject together. After all, there is the first Amendment on freedom of speech. So how and why were all of these God-fearing clergy going to break the law? Why is this rhetoric coming from a magazine that was established to defend non-profits? Aren’t churches non-profits?
The churches felt that they should “endorse political candidates from the pulpit, even though that violates IRS rules about tax-exempt organizations.” Sure, maybe there was some sort of divine intervention and they couldn’t “help” themselves. However it was still breaking the law. According to the IRS rules that “rules about tax-exempt organizations, which are “prohibited from participating in partisan campaigning for or against political candidates.” These preachers were breaking the law and they were in jeopardy of losing their tax-exempt status.
Apparently they “thought” the IRS wouldn’t go after such basteons of heavenly behavior. Our religious culture seems to define how the IRS should be treated when interpreting law. We have seen how the “Tea Party” tried to say that the IRS attacked just their non-profit status. The churches in this case felt they were special. They could protect the tax-deductible collects and still advocate for their Republican buddies. Are we closing in on the real issue here?
In an article by Eric W. Dolan, he wrote that the Internal Revenue Service was unable to “suppress a lawsuit over its failure to audit thousand of churches that allegedly violated federal tax law by engaging in partisan advocacy.”
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman of the Western District of Wisconsin on Monday denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation against the IRS.
“If it is true that the IRS has a policy of not enforcing the prohibition on campaigning against religious organizations, then the IRS is conferring a benefit on religious organizations (the ability to participate in political campaigns) that it denies to all other 501(c)(3) organizations, including the Foundation,” Adelman noted.
What is Judge Lynn Adelman saying? To paraphrase, the law says the all non-profits, including churches, should not be allowed to participate in political advocacy and still be allowed to act like a non-profit and keep their tax-exempt status.
The FFRF said that is was unfair to allow churches to do this and not other non-profits. “The time for a free ride for churches is over,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said. “The rest of us pay so much more in taxes because clergy pay so much less. If these churches — which are accountable to no one in government yet get so many favors — are allowed to engage in tax-exempt politicking, it would be the ruination of our democracy.”
In order to understand the full hypocrisy in this, all one has to do is attend a church service anywhere and listen to the preacher talk about how we should vote for Mr. Black because he is a “better candidate”. You know, Mr. White voted for “Obamacare”. What will it take to make the IRS do their job carry out the very laws they are sworn to enforce?