“If you are a Christian, you cannot support Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.…Both Hillary and Barack favor the shedding of innocent blood (abortion) and the legalization of the abomination of homosexual marriage,” Booth, senior pastor of Warroad Community Church in Minnesota, said at the time.
The Internal Revenue Service has hit a rough patch lately.
The agency, never anyone’s favorite to begin with, has been slammed by congressional conservatives who have cut funding and made it difficult for the IRS to reach full staffing levels.
A few years ago, reports circulated that the IRS had unfairly targeted Tea Party groups for heightened scrutiny. As it turned out, there was less to the story than was reported, but the matter exploded and one top official, Lois Lerner, was forced to step down.
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump said recently that the Internal Revenue Service is targeting him because of his religious beliefs.
All high-profile presidential candidates are expected to release their tax returns at some point during the campaign, but Trump had not yet done so as of early March. He claimed he wasn’t able to because he is a frequent target of audits – although it’s unclear why that would prevent him making his returns public.
The state of Tennessee used to have a law that banned members of the clergy from running for public office. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1978 rightfully declared this provision unconstitutional.
In the United States, pretty much all adults, with very few exceptions, have the right to run for public office. I wouldn’t have it any other way. If democracy means anything, it means the right to choose our own leaders. Disqualifying people from the ballot because of their race, gender or religious beliefs is un-American.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”