IRS rules against separation of church & state. Can they even do that?
August 1, 2015
A Wisconsin-based organization named “Freedom From Religion Foundation” (FFRF) filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which claimed that the IRS was ignoring complaints about churches violating their tax-exempt (or 501(c)(3)) status by using their First Amendment rights to talk about political candidates from the pulpit.
The lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice by US District Court due to a joint request filed by the FFRF and IRS. This motion stated that the FFRF was “satisfied that the IRS does not have a policy at this time of non-enforcement specific to churches or religious groups.” In other words, when removing the double negative from this quote you’re left with: “the IRS does have a policy at this time of enforcement specific to churches”. That was cleverly worded to cover up the fact that the IRS is IN FACT enforcing that policy against churches.
According to Investors.com:
“The FFRF cites as its authority the 1954 Johnson Amendment, which states that tax-exempt groups cannot endorse candidates. A 2009 court ruling determined that the IRS must staff someone to monitor church politicking.
The FFRF claims that the IRS has not adhered to the ruling and that the settlement amounts to enforcing both the Johnson Amendment and the court ruling.
But is the Catholic Church “politicking” when it proclaims its “Fortnight for Freedom” dedicated to opposing ObamaCare’s contraceptive mandate and the government’s forcing schools and charities it considers an extension of its faith to include it in insurance coverage or face crippling fines?
Are Protestant and evangelical churches “politicking” when they participate in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” this year on Oct. 5 to encourage congregations to “vote their faith,” which they consider to be an exercise of free speech and freedom of religion?
The FFRF says that such events at “rogue churches” have “become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity.” But doesn’t the Constitution say that Congress can make no such laws?
Rather than “rogue churches,” it’s the rogue IRS that needs to be stopped.”