An organization that advocates for Christians to vote, yet does not endorse candidates nor recommend who or what to vote for, has been denied tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which says that the “Bible teachings” the group promotes are nonetheless associated with the Republican Party.
CBN News reports that Christians Engaged, a group that promotes prayer for elected officials and informed civic engagement, received a letter from IRS Exempt Organizations Director Stephen A. Martin explaining that because the faith-based values they promote are more commonly associated with right-wing politicians and thus, cannot be considered non-partisan.
Just months into President Joe Biden’s tenure in the White House, this brings back memories of when the Obama-Biden administration’s IRS singled out Tea Party groups, something which resulted in a number of investigations and lawsuits for apparent political targeting.
Christians Engaged is now being represented by First Liberty Institute.
“Specifically, you educate Christians on what the Bible says in areas where they can be instrumental including the areas of the sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, biblical justice, freedom of speech, defense, and borders and immigration, U.S. and Israel relations,” Martin wrote to the group.
“The Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the Republican party and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under IRC Section 501(c)(3).”
The organization, which was formed in 2019 and describes itself as educational, Christian, and non-partisan, is now being represented by First Liberty Institute, who issued a letter to the IRS refuting the claims made by Martin.
“By finding that Christians Engaged does not meet the operational test, Director Martin errs in three ways: 1) he invents a nonexistent requirement that exempt organizations be neutral on public policy issues; 2) he incorrectly concludes that Christians Engaged primarily serves private, nonexempt purposes rather than public, exempt purposes because he thinks its beliefs overlap with the Republican Party’s policy positions; and 3) he violates the First Amendment’s Free Speech, and Free Exercise, and Establishment clauses by engaging in both viewpoint discrimination and religious discrimination,” the administrative letter read.
“The IRS states in an official letter that Biblical values are exclusively Republican. That might be news to President Biden, who is often described as basing his political ideology on his religious beliefs,” said First Liberty Institute counsel Lea Patterson said.
“Only a politicized IRS could see Americans who pray for their nation, vote in every election and work to engage others in the political process as a threat. The IRS violated its own regulations in denying tax-exempt status because Christians Engaged teaches biblical values.”
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