Tag: IRS

August 2, 2016 / Entanglement
Official image of President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1950s as a US Senator
President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1950s as a US Senator

Every election cycle, Secular Americans have to endure slimy pandering to the religious right by candidates looking to get elected to office. Some on the right of the political spectrum want to see the Johnson Amendment repealed so that churches are free to be involved in politics as much as they want. As it stands now, promises for repealing the law is pandering because it is hardly enforced and it can’t get a repeal vote now in a Congress with a Republican majority.

The Johnson Amendment refers to a change in the US Tax code passed in 1954. It was introduced by then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and some have said he did it to silence some opponents to his reelection to the Senate.

January 30, 2015 / Entanglement
clipart of preaching from the pulpit

Earlier this month, as soon as the Republican party took full control of both houses of Congress, Rep. Walter Jones [R-NC-3] introduced a bill that would remove the electioneering prohibition for churches and other 501(c)3 tax-exempt groups. This is a good and bad bill so I’m torn over it. While it would open a Pandora’s box of electioneering for churches, the current language of the bill would remove the restriction for all tax-exempt groups.

The American Humanist Association is sounding the alarm:

October 4, 2014 / Courts
logo for Pulpit Freedom Sunday event

This Sunday, October 5th, Alliance Defending Freedom’s Pulpit Freedom Sunday will take place. They claim it’s about religious freedom when in fact it’s about creating a lawsuit they can use to try and get tax regulations against electioneering by churches tossed out as unconstitutional. Finally, this year they might get their lawsuit.

August 7, 2014 / Courts
clipart of a minister preaching from a pulpit

Last month I posted about a settlement between the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over policing electioneering by churches. The IRS had for years dragged its feet in investigating complaints about churches violating the terms of the tax exemption rules by getting too political. Of course conservatives now claim, with the settlement, that a church’s first amendment rights will be violated. Such a claim is utter hogwash.

July 19, 2014 / Courts
November 26, 2013 / Courts
logo of the Internal Revenue Service

On Friday, November 22nd, a Federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that the ‘parsonage exemption’ which allowed churches to provide housing allowances to ministers tax free was a violation of the 1st amendment of the US Constitution. In the ruling the judge said since the tax exemption had no secular purpose and excluded the non-religious, it was unconstitutional. If the ruling holds up on appeal it would bring some fairness to the tax code for nonprofits and might make some of the televangelists, who own many homes, more accountable for their lavish spending.