Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Taxing Christocrats

The IRS has had no difficulty intimidating so-called "liberal" churches based on reports that a pastor's sneeze during a sermon sounded like "impeach," yet they can't seem to rouse themselves to investigate blatant tax law violations at churches that shill for the GOP. The Ohio churches at issue and their pastors have abandoned their erstwhile Lord to become well-paid servants of the Republican party. They have disgraced the cause of Christ with their dishonesty and duplicity and should be exposed as the greedy, power-hungry con-men they really are.

They'll cry "persecution!" and (as the article indicates) fall back on the First Amendment right to free speech, all the while denying the equally important clause prohibiting establishment of religion. This isn't about free speech, however; it's about misusing the tax subsidy graciously provided by American citizens to finance partisan political activity in clear violation of the tax code. Scoffers are invited to visit the IRS web site and see for themselves; in the meanwhile, the following excerpt [emphasis mine] should be sufficient:

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations
are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in,
or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in
opposition to) any candidate for elective public office
. Contributions
to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or
written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in
opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the
prohibition against political campaign activity. Violation of this
prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and
the imposition of certain excise tax.
Hosting rallies for Ken Blackwell and advertising his candidacy on church radio programs unquestionably violates the "absolute prohibition" against campaign intevention and participation. If the parties involved had even a shred of character, they'd hang their heads, say, "you caught me," and promise never to do it again. Instead, like petulant, spoiled children, they insist they've done nothing wrong and blame others for their sins. "See?" they'll say to their sheep-like congregants, "they want to drive God from the public square!" And the sheeple will write letters, march, and--most importantly--fork over huge sums of cash to these hucksters, all in the name of protecting Christianity from the "secular left". What they really need is protection from these false shepherds who care nothing for their sheep.

Ohio Churches' Political Activities Challenged
In a challenge to the ethics of conservative Ohio religious leaders and the fairness of the Internal Revenue Service, a group of 56 clergy members contends that two churches have gone too far in supporting a Republican candidate for governor.

Two complaints filed with the tax agency say that the large Columbus area churches, active in President Bush's narrow Ohio win in 2004, violated their tax-exempt status by pushing the candidacy of J. Kenneth Blackwell, who is the secretary of state and the favored candidate of Ohio's religious right.
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