In an unprecedented move against religious organizations’ ability to file for tax exemption in the United States, the IRS has decided to block Christians’ right to this benefit.
From a report by the CBN (Christian Broadcast News), Christians Engaged, a Texas based non profit organization created in July of 2019, has been unjustifiably blocked by the IRS from having the same tax exemption that similar organizations have shared throughout recent history. Regardless of belief, religious institutions from Christianity to Judaism and even Scientology have had the right to be exempt from tax collection from the United States government. In a surprising turn of events, the IRS has denied this benefit to Christians Engaged.
The organization itself is said to be dedicated to “educate and empower Christians to pray for the nation and elected officials, vote and be civically engaged”, according to the CBN, “formed exclusively for charitable, religious, educational or scientific purposes”. On its own website, it says it is a group that aims to be educational, Christian and non partisan. Regardless of this, the IRS has taken a firm stance against the organization.
It goes even further to give the absurd reason for the denial.
They argue that it is not eligible for 501(c)(3) status because, “Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the Republican party and candidates”. This itself is a dangerous position for the IRS to take for the future of religious freedom within this country. Does the IRS really believe that there are no Democratic or Independent Christians in this country? And even if so, what should it matter about the political affiliation of any religious organization? Especially one that specifically states that it is non partisan?
Even if Christians were mostly Republican within the organization, that doesn’t change the fact that it is a religious organization.
It should have the right to the tax benefit. This seems to be a direct attack on religious freedom and the freedom of political choice. Not only that, but what comes after this decision? Is the idea to further remove the tax-exempt status of any religious organization that happens to support the Republican party? As stated above, this is a serious abuse of the power of the IRS within the United States of America. As a tax-paying business owner myself, I am deeply concerned with this action against religious and political freedom.
IRS Exempt Organizations Director Stephen A. Martin penned the letter with the reason why the denial occurred. It is my personal opinion that no human with such a stance against American freedom should be leading governmental institutions. Not sure if there is anything to do here, but thankfully some are taking action against the denial. First Liberty Institute, a religious rights law firm, has taken a stand to appeal the IRS decision. It is currently representing Christians Engaged.
This story is just breaking. But for the freedom of all religious institutions to their individual rights, let us hope and pray that we can do something here and correct the wrong action. We cannot have the leaders of our governmental institutions beginning to destroy religious freedom and the benefits that come with it within the borders of the United States of America. Members of every religion, belief and political stance should be concerned about this story. I’ve only seen coverage coming from the CBN on this story, but let us hope also that this story becomes more apparent in the news of today and awareness on the issue continues to spread. For liberty and justice for all.