1400 Pastors Defy IRS Threat of Tax-Exempt Revocation


More than 1400 pastors stood up in their pulpits on Sunday and told the IRS, “We’re Mad as Hell and We’re not Going to take it Any More.” For nearly 60 years, the IRS and its liberal surrogates at the ACLU have threatened ministers with the lie that if they speak out on politics their church will lose its tax exempt status.

There are no constitutional prohibitions against churches speaking out on political issues or even endorsing candidates. We got into this mess when in 1954 a law was rammed through Congress by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson to restrict non-profit organizations (that IRS regulations would later include churches) from speaking freely on topics like politics and moral issues like abortion and homosexuality. The following is from the IRS:

“The ban on political campaign activity by charities and churches was created by Congress more than a half century ago. The Internal Revenue Service administers the tax laws written by Congress and has enforcement authority over tax-exempt organizations. Here is some background information on the political campaign activity ban and the latest IRS enforcement statistics regarding its administration of this congressional ban.

“In 1954, Congress approved an amendment by Sen. Lyndon Johnson to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity. To the extent Congress has revisited the ban over the years, it has in fact strengthened the ban. The most recent change came in 1987 when Congress amended the language to clarify that the prohibition also applies to statements opposing candidates.”

This so-called ban is a direct violation of the First Amendment, and it’s vague enough to mean what anybody needs it to mean. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law . . . prohibiting the free exercise” of religion. This makes any prohibition null and void. The First Amendment also protects speech, press, and assembly, three things that churches do on a regular basis.

To threaten pastors, AU has mailed letters to churches claiming that 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 letter goes on to claim that the federal courts upheld the revocation. These are lies.

Read More . By Gary DeMar.

Photo Credit: John H. Wright (Creative Commons)


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