IRS DENIES TAX-EXEMPTION BECAUSE OF BIBLICAL BELIEFS
IRS DENIES TAX-EXEMPTION BECAUSE OF BIBLICAL BELIEFS
An IRS official denied tax-exempt status to a Texas group that encourages church members to pray for state and national leaders, regardless of their party affiliation, because it benefits “the private interests of the [Republican] Party.”
“You do not qualify as an organization described in IRS Section 501(c)(3). You engage in prohibited political campaign intervention,” wrote Stephen A. Martin, director of the IRS Office of Exempt Organizations Rulings and Agreements in a May 18 letter (pdf) to Christians Engaged, the Garland, Texas-based prayer group recognized by Texas officials as tax-exempt.
“You are also not operated exclusively for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of Section 501 (c)(3), because you operate for a substantial non-exempt private purpose and for the private interests of the D party.”
The “D party” is a reference to the Republican Party, according to a novel “legend” Martin provided at the top of his letter to the Texas group. . . .
Martin also noted that the group’s activities “educate believers on national issues that are central to their belief in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God.”
“Specifically, you educate Christians on what the Bible says in areas where they can be instrumental, including the areas of sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, biblical justice, freedom of speech, defense, and borders and immigration, U.S. and Israel relations,” he wrote.
“The Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the D party and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under IRS Section 501(c)(3).”
Christians Engaged President Bunni Pounds said in a statement issued by the First Liberty Institute: “We just want to encourage more people to vote and participate in the political process. How can anyone be against that?”
First Liberty Institute is appealing Martin’s decision on behalf of Christians Engaged.
“The IRS states in an official letter that Biblical values are exclusively Republican. That might be news to President Joe Biden, who is often described as basing his political ideology on his religious beliefs,” said First Liberty Institute counsel Lea Patterson in the statement.
“Only a politicized IRS could see Americans who pray for their nation, vote in every election, and work to engage others in the political process as a threat. The IRS violated its own regulations in denying tax exempt status because Christians Engaged teaches biblical values.”
In the appeal letter, First Liberty said, “By finding that Christians Engaged does not meet the operational test, Director Martin errs in three ways 1) he invents a nonexistent requirement that exempt organizations be neutral on public policy issues; 2) he incorrectly concludes that Christians Engaged primarily serves private, nonexempt purposes rather than public, exempt purposes because he thinks its beliefs overlap with the Republican Party’s policy positions; and 3) he violates the First Amendment’s Free Speech, and Free Exercise, and Establishment clauses by engaging in both viewpoint discrimination and religious discrimination.”
Martin’s letter and decision are certain to ignite a new firestorm of protests among congressional Republicans, conservative and religious freedom advocacy groups, and civil liberties defenders, as happened during President Barack Obama’s Oval Office tenure.
The IRS under Obama singled out hundreds of conservative, Tea Party, and evangelical tax-exemption applicants for special treatment that included long delays and multiple requests for detailed information about the beliefs and activities of officials associated with the groups.
Multiple lawsuits were filed against the IRS by such groups, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed in two separate settlements to compensate them for undisclosed amounts.
The DOJ also acknowledged that the IRS had targeted the groups on the basis of their political and religious activities and beliefs for “heightened scrutiny and inordinate delays.”
“The act of praying for our country and our leaders is about the most nonpartisan and patriotic thing that Americans can do. Millions of citizens do it every day,” Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) told The Epoch Times on June 16.
“The IRS was wrong to deny tax exempt status based on the false belief that the Bible somehow only belongs to one political party. The IRS still has a long way to go to ensure religious liberty for all.”
How are you praying for religious freedom to be protected in this country? Let us know your prayers and thoughts in the comments below!
(Excerpt from The Epoch Times. Article written by Mark Tapscott. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
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Martin and the IRS are completely biased and purposely targeting. That’s exactly what is happening. Just like the lawyer who entrapped Jack Phillips, the Christian baker.
There are many very vocal, very left leaning “church” leaders who never hesitate to push and promote their ideology and are front and center of all kinds of public protests and events for the leftist ideology. You never ever see them being targeted by the government.
May this person and all within the government who are working overtime, fueled by the Jezebel spirit, find themselves completely in discord, turning upon themselves like the unrestrained, evil creatures they are.
I am praying for another great awakening. I am also praying for redemption for, followed by judgment against, the MSM, school officials, and politicians. So far my prayers seem to have been rather ineffective, though that is not uncommon for me. But, I feel compelled to continue.
We pray for wise counselors and tax experts, who will guide this group in their next steps in response to this letter ruling. We also pray for favor with the IRS, and, if necessary, the US Tax Court and US Court of Appeals.
Good morning dear friends of IFA. As soon as I read this piece, the Spirit of the Lord reminded me of scripture I read yesterday in 2 Corinthians. Chapter 2 verse 14 “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.” Please read on through chapter 6 verse 2. This is good news to hear about the group, Christians Engaged. Let’s pray that this group will continue to believe in the Bible and speak God’s word into our world, and that the grace of Jesus would reach more and more people causing thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. (4:13-15) Let us pray for Bunni Pounds and Lea Patterson to continue boldly in the hope of Christ’s glorious ministry of righteousness. (3:9-12) Let us pray that God shine his light into the heart of Stephen Martin of the IRS displaying the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Christ. (4:6) Let us pray for all believers everywhere that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who died for us and was raised to life again. (5:15) Let us rejoice as we see more and more push back from the enemy because he knows and we know that “now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (6:2)
It’s decisions like this that put fear( and I’m not referring to the fear of God) into the hearts of our Pastors and church leadership. This IS why the Gospel has been watered down. It isn’t just the itching ears of men that church leadership fears losing income from, it’s Big Brother taking away tax exemptions if they speak into ANYTHING going on in our world today. This decision, if left to stand and go unchecked is an opening to punish every church and every religious organization for speaking the Truth of God in this broken and perverse generation. Father, give us, Your children, boldness to stand and when we’ve done all, to STAND. Thank you Lord for taking the hidden things and bringing them to light. All around us, every day You are revealing hidden agendas and exposing the truth that has been going on. We thank you for righteous and knowledgeable lawyers and leaders that You have raised in this day, Your very fire tipped arrows You have set aside for Yourself. They will not miss their mark because they are shot with precision because You are the Archer. Thank you for the Prayer Warriors that heed the call and for the children You are waking up to see the power we have in prayer ( I am praying for myself❤️). This is the greatest weapon You have given us, it’s not a weapon for the world, but for Your children, it’s mighty to pull down the strongholds over this nation, our govt., our school system and it WILL PUT OUT AND DISPELL the fiery darts of our enemy🙌🙌. Father Your Word says that we overcome (satan) by the of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. So I speak Right Standing over this IRS decision what the enemy would use to try to destroy the church and this country, that You continue to turn it around for our good and the advancement of Your kingdom on earth. In Jesus name🙏🙏