Christian Groups Take a Number in the Persecution Line

As the right tries to turn a genuine problem at the IRS into a terrible witch hunt that would have led to Christians being rounded up and thrown into concentration camps, Christian groups are lining up to take their place among the righteously persecuted. Jerome Corsi and the Worldnutdaily are putting a megaphone in front of them so they can state their claim, with no evidence whatsoever.

During the 2012 election year, the Internal Revenue Service delayed the application of a conservative Christian group in Ohio that was seeking 501(c)3 tax-exempt status to register Christians to vote and to oppose the ACLU in court in First Amendment cases.

“We have suspicion that the IRS delayed our application for nearly 13 months due to the selective targeting of Ohio conservative groups that Congress is now investigating in both the House and Senate,” stated Chris Long, president of the Ohio Christian Alliance, told WND.

Long said his group’s original application made it clear that the new organization would go into Christian congregations with a non-partisan effort to register voters in the battleground state of Ohio during the 2012 presidential election.

“The IRS knew we would be registering conservative church-goers and weighing in on the 2012 presidential election,” he said…

Long suspects the IRS was attempting to block the Ohio Christian Alliance, or OCA, from forming a 501(c)3 organization because it didn’t want the organization to counter the ACLU in court.

He noted that at the time of OCA’s application, the Obama administration was pushing forward the Obamacare mandate that would require even Christian organizations to pay for abortion and contraceptive services in employee health care plans.

“My suspicion is the IRS knew the Ohio Christian Alliance would appear in court to oppose the ACLU and the HHS mandate,” he said.

So this is based solely on their “suspicion.” Never mind that the average time for the IRS to evaluate and approve applications for non-profit status went up in the last three years because the number of applications more than doubled after Citizens United. And never mind that the imagined reason for the claims of bias are kind of absurd — why would the IRS want to prevent this one organization from doing things that any number of other organizations already do? There’s certainly no shortage of groups that register voters in churches or who challenge the ACLU in court (Liberty Counsel, ACLJ, ADF, Thomas More Law Center, Thomas More Society, Rutherford Institute, and about a dozen others). And there sure as hell isn’t any shortage of legal challenges to health care reform or the contraception mandate, with dozens of such cases already filed. Nope, it has to be persecution. So climb up on that cross and nail yourself to it.

13 comments on this post.
  1. trucreep:

    I wonder what they think of pastors/churches/congregations purposefully breaking their tax-exempt privileges and then actually REPORTING it to the IRS…and the IRS admitting they do nothing about it.

  2. jason the cripple:

    Just because you don’t have your tax exempt status, doesn’t mean you couldn’t do any of the things that you want to do. It’s not like the group has to sit on their hands and wait for the IRS to approve them before they can get to work.

  3. naturalcynic:

    Is that a non-partisan voter registration and a partisan voter registration turned in to the registrar?

  4. dantalion:

    I’m not even sure how genuine the problem at the IRS is. There are strict limitations on which organizations qualify for non-profit status. The tax law which forms the IRS’ mandate is very clear that political action committees are not charities. So, part of their job is to scrutinize organizations which file for 501(c)3 tax exemption. The entire scandal is that they did scrutinize political organizations (some of which were trying to commit tax fraud) who filed for 501(c)3.

    If they did target groups based on political affiliation, that is a problem.

    If they targeted groups based on suspicion that they did not meet the 501(c)3 requirements, that is exactly the IRS’ job.

  5. unbound:

    As dantalion pointed out above, involvement in the political process at all becomes a problem for a 501(c)(3) organization and will merit additional scrutiny no matter what group you belong to.

    If you actually read the statements from the IRS, they are stating that they performed additional scrutiny of 501(c)(4) applications based on a number of key words to help them flag potentially fraudulent applications. In that list of words/phrases you will find “Tea Party” along with probably several dozen other key words. There is no factual indication that I’ve seen that political affiliation has anything to do with it. This is a subtle, but critical distinction. And even FtB has been guilty of floating the meme that IRS targeted Tea Party groups.

    The same goes for any group whose 501(c)(3) application states anything like “…Christian congregations with a non-partisan effort to register voters in the battleground state of Ohio during the 2012 presidential election…”. If the application said anything like that or if their Articles of Incorporation (or equivalent document) hints at anything like being involved in politics, it’s going to get additional scrutiny. In fact, if they didn’t get additional scrutiny, I’d be ticked off at the IRS for not doing their job. Neither 501(c)(3) or (4) organizations are to have any significant political involvements.

    I’ve actually obtained 501(c)(3) status for a group in my local community and helped another group obtain their status. IRS is actually a good group (Virginia SCC were asses) that helped me get everything straight, but you do have to follow the rules.

  6. raven:

    I’ve been watching this IRS boondoggle with half an eye.

    When these things blow up, the first casulty is the truth. I figure, I’ll read the condensed version when it is done.

    This is partly because it appears cosmically stupid. On the order of Nixon’s enemy list. Targeting one political party, religion, or group over all the others just isn’t going to fly.

    That being said:

    1. Was any group injured i.e. is there a tort here. No injury, no case.

    2. Was any group that qualified for 501(C) status denied it? If so, that is a problem. If not, well, it is the IRS’s job to look at groups applying for 501(C) status.

    3. Is the IRS enforcing the law on tax exempt organizations? That is after all, their job. It is not to make laws or selectively enforce them. If they can’t or won’t, they have to notify their bosses. It is up to the executive branch to decide what to do about widespread disregard for the law. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing in all cases. If they really enforced all the marijuana laws, we would have to turn several states into prison camps.

    4. Did they selectively enforce it against one political group and not another? That is a huge problem.

  7. Saul Timothy:

    how we won the James Randi $1,000,000 paranormal challenge

    http://forum.skeptic.za.org/general-skepticism/how-we-won-the-james-randi-$1-000-000-paranormal-challenge/

    ..,..,…,…,..

  8. magistramarla:

    Like unbound, I was a member of a group that recently was granted 501 (c)3 status.
    I was on the board of directors of that military spouses’ group for three years, and it took the entire three years to complete the paperwork and get the final decision.
    We raise funds to give scholarships to military kids and to local charities that support the military community. Because we are a military-related group, we had to make extra-sure that there was no possibility that we could be seen as doing anything political.
    The president of the board once commented that the IRS probably believed that we were all conservatives, since we were military spouses. I told her that if there was ever any question about that to send them to me, since I’m about as liberal as they come. From then on, she laughingly referred to me as “the token liberal”.
    It’s a long process, but we persevered and we cheerfully answered all inquiries. It really wasn’t that big of a deal.

  9. dingojack:

    If they were doing voter registration of a particular group for a particular (political) aim then wouldn’t 527* be more appropriate? Oh but then they’d have to disclose their donor’s details and they sure as hell don’t want to do that!
    My simplistic solution: all are treated equally. If you want to to have influence with the organisation, then donate and register your details with the group to which you’re donating (knowing, of course, such donation details are, potentially, in the public domain), if you don’t register your details, then your donation is from ‘anonymous’ as far as the organisation (and the public) knows (therefore zero influence).
    Just a thought.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * I think that’s the right section

  10. grumpyoldfart:

    #7
    Saul Timothy my arse. You’re Mabus.

  11. dingojack:

    Ignore the troll.
    Dingo

  12. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!:

    So climb up on that cross and nail yourself to it.

    Well that’s a bit hard.

    I mean I guess you could nail your own feet to the cross and then with difficulty do one hand but how are you supposed to nail *both* hands in all by yourself!

  13. Barefoot Bree:

    Oh, don’t worry, StevoR; they’ll all have plenty of help from each other. It’s the last one up that has the problem. That’s why they always scuffle in line like this.

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