August 11, 2014
We have extensively covered the IRS targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups, giving them extra scrutiny above and beyond normal protocol for non-profit tax exempt statuses.
Not only did the IRS target these groups specifically, they have also embarked on a blatant coverup of the evidence detailing this targeting, taking the scandal to another level.
The targeting has resulted in numerous investigations and hearings, not to mention a slew of lawsuits against the IRS. House Republicans are even trying to cut the budget of the IRS, and set new rules on how they can spend their money, to prevent future targeting.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter right now:
But there is a new scandal brewing at the IRS, again involving specific politicized targeting, this time of churches. It is a direct assault on religious liberty and freedom of speech.
The IRS recently reached a secret agreement with an atheist group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which dropped a lawsuit they had against the IRS after reaching the secretive deal.
The FFRF was suing the IRS over allegations of “illegal campaign intervention” by some churches, and demanded that the IRS enforce their rules against electioneering by non-profit organizations. The “illegal campaign intervention” that had the atheist group so concerned was little more than sermons based on scriptural beliefs pertaining to abortion, same-sex marriage, and religious liberty.
The claim by the FFRF basically amounts to politicizing the Bible, and the core beliefs that Christians and churches have taught for centuries.
The IRS has remained silent about what exactly was entailed in their agreement with the FFRF, other than the announcement that 99 different churches have been recommended to the Department of Justice for “high priority examination”.
But all is not yet lost, as the IRS has now been hit with yet another lawsuit, this one from the Alliance Defending Freedom, who are demanding to know all of the specifics involved in the secret deal, and what standards will now be applied to churches and religious organizations.
“Secrecy breeds mistrust, and the IRS should know this in light of its recent scandals involving the investigation of conservative groups,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Christiana Holcomb.
“We are asking the IRS to disclose the new protocols and procedures it apparently adopted for determining whether to investigate churches. What it intends to do to churches must be brought into the light of day.”
The ADF is requesting all “correspondence, memoranda, statements, emails, text messages, letters, calendar or diary logs, facsimile logs, telephone records, call sheets, tape recordings, notes, and other documents and things that refer or relate to the foregoing matter in any way.”
The IRS claims that they have placed a moratorium on opening new investigations, in light of the numerous investigations into the broad targeting scandal. The FFRF has threatened to refile their lawsuit against the IRS if they don’t feel that enough is being done, in their view, to stop churches from engaging in so-called “political activity”, i.e. preaching the Word and teaching Biblical beliefs.
This whole matter is exceedingly scary, and yet another direct attack against Christianity and the First Amendment, specifically the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech, which still applies to the pulpit, regardless of tax-exempt status.
We will keep an eye on this story, and will certainly update it as more information becomes available. As it looks right now, this has the potential to become the next major scandal in the headlines in the near future.
Please share this on Facebook and Twitter if you find it abhorrent that the IRS would make a secret deal with atheists to target Christian churches.
BREAKING: IRS Announces That It’s Strongly Targeting 99 Top Churches in America
Mon, 11 Aug 2014 17:44:43 GMT