Sunday, July 18, 2021
Following up on my previous posts (links below): Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor: Bunni Pounds (President, Christians Engaged), The IRS Reads the Bible and Reveals Its Bias: A Bureaucrat Examined Our Religion and Declared it Republican:
William McGurn (“Defund Joe Biden’s IRS,” Main Street, July 6) and Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. (“The IRS is ProPublica’s Accessory,” Business World, July 7) articulate theoretical dangers from the IRS that my organization experienced in reality.
Christians Engaged was founded to help civically minded Christians think through their responsibility in voting. All the pieces were in place—staff, a board, resources—but we had to apply for recognition by the IRS as a 501(c)(3). It took more than 18 months to get a response. When the IRS’s response letter came in May, it seemed to examine in great detail the faith that informs the organization. It felt strange to have a bureaucrat examine our religion, belief in the Bible and how we believe our faith impacts the world.
Then came this sentence: “The bible teachings are typically affiliated with the [Republican] party and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under the IRC Section 501(c)(3).”
Because we believed in and taught the Bible, the IRS disqualified us from charitable recognition. The IRS determined that biblical values and Republican politics were so intertwined as to make us partisan.
Thankfully, we appealed and this month secured a quick reversal of the IRS decision. Still, the danger remains as long as the IRS views religious institutions with such political cynicism.
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
(Hat Tip: Steven Sholk)