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IRS and Churches

Queens NY church
Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Earlier this month I talked about a ruling from the IRS that denied tax-exempt status to the group Christians Engaged. The IRS argument was that the Bible teachings of the group aligned with views of Republicans. The IRS has reversed its decision, but the controversy surfaced some issues that need to be considered.

When some members of Congress heard of the IRS decision to deny the request for tax-exempt status, they fired off a letter to the IRS commissioner. They called for him to “personally review this determination, and remove the individual, or individuals, responsible for the blatantly biased, discriminatory, and flawed reasoning that led to that determination.”

At this point, it would be tempting to move on since the original ruling was changed. But the members of Congress in their letter pointed to a troubling issue. The reason the IRS ruled against the Christian organization was because it affirmed “the sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, and biblical justice.” Those are views they argued as also held by “thousands of Christian churches across the country.” If those beliefs were enough to disqualify a Christian organization, those same beliefs could be used to remove the tax-exempt status of those churches.

Perhaps you are thinking that is an overreaction to one IRS ruling. Perhaps, but consider that one member of Congress recently suggested that the Catholic Church should be punitively stripped of its tax-exempt status because the US Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to draft a document that would rebuke pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

It’s possible that such comments are only meant to scare churches and church leaders into silence. Or perhaps they truly believe the government should strip any tax benefits from religious groups that hold views contrary to the administration. In either case, Christians need to pay attention.viewpoints new web version

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