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No Persecution Here: IRS Commissioner Says Tax Agency Has No Plans To Punish Christian Colleges That Reject Marriage Equality

The far right makes no secret of its hatred for the Internal Revenue Service, but recent comments by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen should earn the agency a few brownie points with fundamentalists who fear that Christian colleges will be forced to extend benefits to married same-sex couples or risk their tax exemptions. Read more

As 2016 Presidential Campaign Gets Under Way, IRS Should Act To Enforce Non-Profit ‘No-Politicking’ Rule, Says Americans United

Church-State Watchdog Group Says Liberty University May Have Violated Federal Law By Hosting U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz

The Internal Revenue Service should make it clear that houses of worship and other tax-exempt, non-profit groups have no right to engage in partisan politicking, Americans United for Separation of Church and State told the tax agency today.

In a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn urged the agency to act now, since the 2016 presidential campaign is getting under way.
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Religious Right’s Prodding Of Churches To Violate Federal Law Pays Off Politically, Says Americans United

Church-State Watchdog Group Calls On IRS To Enforce ‘No-Politicking’ Rule

Religious Right activists are bragging about their success in the 2014 mid-term elections, but there’s one thing they’re not telling the American people: Increasingly, their strategy relies on convincing houses of worship to violate federal law.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today noted that groups like the Faith & Freedom Coalition, the Alliance Defending Freedom, the American Family Association and others urged houses of worship to distribute “voter guides” in houses of worship prior to the election.

IRS Document Indicates That Tax Agency May Be Ready To Enforce ‘No-Politicking’ Law

A document has come to light giving some indication that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may be preparing to enforce the “no-politicking” rule against houses of worship.

A letter from the IRS was made public by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which announced recently that it has withdrawn a lawsuit over the IRS’s failure to investigate churches accused of partisan politicking. The group made that decision after the tax agency convinced the organization that it has resolved a procedural issue that prevented church audits. Read more

Taxing Our Patience: Is The IRS Finally Ready To Stop Church Politicking?

Have you heard the latest? The Internal Revenue Service has entered into a secret deal with an atheist group to monitor pastors all over America and squelch their political speech!

That’s the latest paranoid fantasy from the Religious Right. The truth, as is often the case, is much more mundane.

Before we get to the meat of things, some background: A lot of us in the separation of church and state community have been frustrated over the blatant partisan political activity that some churches (on the right and the left) engage in. Read more

Atheist Group’s Challenge To Church Tax Exemption Is Tossed By Court

A federal court has denied a legal challenge by American Atheists (AA), in which the organization sought to end many of the privileges houses of worship receive under the tax code.

In an opinion issued for American Athe­ists Inc. v. Shulman May 19, U.S. Dis­trict Judge William O. Bertelsman seemed to agree with the thrust of Am­erican Atheists’ argument: that the generous tax exemptions church­es receive have no secular purpose and therefore “improperly endorse religion.” Read more

Pulpit PAC: Miss. Pastors Plan Big – And Possibly Illegal – Push For Embattled Senator

Voters in Mississippi are headed to the polls tomorrow for an important run-off election. U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is locked in a tight battle against a state senator, Chris McDaniel, in a Republican primary.

Cochran has served in the Senate since 1978, but he’s running scared against McDaniel, an aggressive Tea Party challenger. The incumbent senator hopes to pull out a win based on an unusual weapon: black churches. Read more

Taxing Situation: When Will The IRS Put A Stop To Blatant Partisan Politicking In Houses Of Worship?

It’s always hard to tell what’s going on at the Internal Revenue Service. The tax agency isn’t exactly a font of information, and what it does release tends to be shrouded in bureaucratese.

But sometimes you can cut through the fog and learn some interesting things. For example, it appears that the IRS is becoming a little more aggressive on the issue of partisan politicking by tax-exempt, 501 (c)(3) organizations. Read more

The Year That Was: Major Church-State Developments From 2012

The end of the year is a time for lists. You’re probably seeing a lot of them – “25 Best Books of 2012,” “10 Overlooked Movies,” “What’s Hot and What’s Not” or whatever.

Along those lines, here’s a list of the Top Ten Church-State Stories from 2012 (listed in no particular order): Read more

Bad Actor: Presumptuous Prelate Hopes His Partisan Ploy Plays In Peoria – And Elsewhere

For the past few days, my inbox has been overflowing with emails about Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky.

The Roman Catholic prelate last week wrote a letter that he ordered all priests in his Peoria, Ill., diocese to read during services over the weekend. The missive purports to offer guidance about tomorrow’s election. Read more