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Billy Graham’s Romney Endorsement Moves Freedom From Religion Foundation To Sue IRS

by David Badash on November 16, 2012

in News,Politics,Religion

Post image for Billy Graham’s Romney Endorsement Moves Freedom From Religion Foundation To Sue IRS


Citing the “blatantly political” full-page ads Billy Graham ran endorsing Mitt Romney for president last month, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for not enforcing rules barring churches and other religious organizations and non-profits from endorsing candidates. The Johnson Amendment, established in 1954 by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson, prohibits 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates.

“The Freedom From Religion Foundation is taking the Internal Revenue Service to court over its failure to enforce electioneering restrictions against churches and religious organizations, calling it a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and of FFRF’s equal protection rights,” the Foundation states via a press release on its website:

FFRF filed the lawsuit today in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. (View the lawsuit here.)

A widely circulated Bloomberg news article quoted Russell Renwicks, with the IRS’ Tax-Exempt and Government Entities division, saying the IRS has suspended tax audits of churches. Other sources claim the IRS hasn’t been auditing churches since 2009. (See AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll’s story, “IRS Not Enforcing Rules on Churches and Politics.”) Although an IRS spokesman claimed Renwicks “misspoke,” there appears to be no evidence of IRS inquiries or action in the past three years.

As many as 1,500 clergy reportedly violated the electioneering restrictions on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, notes FFRF’s legal complaint. The complaint also references “blatantly political” full-page ads running in the three Sundays leading up to the presidential elections by the Billy Graham Evangelical Association.

FFRF, a state/church watchdog based in Madison, Wis., is asking the the federal court to enjoin IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman from continuing “a policy of non-enforcement of the electioneering restrictions against churches and religious organizations.”

READ: America Spends $71 Billion Annually Subsidizing Tax-Exempt Religion

As The New Civil Rights Movement reported in June, the University of Tampa found that tax-exempt religious organizations are subsidized by the U.S. government — meaning, you and me — to the tune of $71 billion each year. As a rule, religious organizations and many of their their employees — such as ministers, priests, rabbis, etc. — can be exempt from paying local, state, and federal taxes, income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, investment taxes, etc.

“Under the Internal Revenue Code, all IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious 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,” the IRS notes. “Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made by or 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.”

 

Related:

Graham: Americans Need To ‘Resurrect Moral Majority’ After Electing Obama

 

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{ 3 comments }

leliorisen November 16, 2012 at 7:17 pm

It is about time that these tax-free institutions were held accountable for their blatantly partisan activities.

The right way to force the issue is to do exactly what the Freedom From Religion Foundation did. They should have our full support.

I hope that you continue to report on this story as it snakes through the courts. This is one story that deserves to be re-tweeted!

121exclaim November 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Mitt Romney, being true to his Mormon faith, habitually lied to the decent unsuspecting American public.
He also, and unashamedly, went to see Billy Graham just a few weeks before the election to get his endorsement for the Mormon Church.
Do you think he told Billy Graham about the secret Mormon Temple Ceremonies that involves secret temple oaths, laws of sacrifice and consecration including Mormon theocratic government, strict obedience and sworn secrecy of all the Temple rituals? And all this while dressed in white robes, white hats, green aprons and chanting with raised hands at temple altars.
Romney, the compulsive liar and deceiver told him nothing about this.
Do you think Billy Graham would have endorsed Romney and his fanatical Mormon church if he was aware of these clandestine Temple rituals?

Look for yourself. For the very first time in about 170 years, the Mormon Temple Ceremonies have been filmed by secret undercover video, in the Salt Lake Temple Temple in Utah, this year. They are now freely available on the internet for all the world to see.

http://www. youtube. com/watch?v=6udew9axmdM&feature=plcp

121exclaim November 19, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Mitt Romney still cannot believe he has lost to Obama. He and Ann were utterly convinced that the White House was theirs. Why? Well, to understand Romney's disturbing delusions of grandeur and superiority you have to view the source of this massive Mormon fraud.

Have a look at some of the Mormon Temple Ceremony filmed in secret by undercover video in the infamous Salt Lake Temple in Utah, earlier this year.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6udew9axmdM&fe

Romney and his wife have attended this very ceremony in this particular temple on countless occasions. Study all aspects of the Ceremony and you will understand where their constant lies, feelings of superiority and their exalted arrogance come from.

Mormonism causes great psychological harm to many of its members, including young Mormon children. Mitt and Ann are among those sadly afflicted by this disturbing Mormon illness.

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