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   The IRS has basically quit even trying to enforce that whole "tax-exempt churches can't preach politics" thing. Because, you know, it's hard and stuff

05 Nov 2012 12:57 PM   |   8773 clicks   |   WTOP
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scottydoesntknow    [TotalFark]  
Was the 'Obvious' tag busy instructing its congregation that voting for Obama will usher in the apocalypse?

05 Nov 2012 12:36 PM
PreMortem    [TotalFark]  
"A 2009 federal court ruling required the IRS to clarify which high-ranking official could authorize audits over the tax code's political rules. The IRS has yet to do so."


So basically, high ranking IRS officials are claiming the ol' "It's not MY job" line.

Enforce it or change the law.

05 Nov 2012 12:59 PM
doczoidberg     
Huh huh huh....
You said "hard."

05 Nov 2012 01:00 PM
Tax Boy     
I used to litigate these back in the day on behalf of the government. They're usually brought to the IRS's attention by whistleblowers with an axe to grind ("I'm mad at my preacher!") or Americans United.

The IRS hates to litigate them because of the negative publicity -- the IRS going after your church? Ugh.

05 Nov 2012 01:00 PM
TheOriginalEd     

05 Nov 2012 01:01 PM
IAmRight    [TotalFark]  

PreMortem: Enforce it or change the law.


Why do that when you can leave it on the books and then attack whoever you want for purely political reasons later on, when whoever is in power can deem it necessary? That seems like a good way to run things.

05 Nov 2012 01:01 PM
fustanella     
Gosh, wouldn't want them to have to do anything useful.

05 Nov 2012 01:01 PM
GORDON     
They'll be all over making sure to collect the Obamaxare Tax, though.

05 Nov 2012 01:01 PM
Englebert Slaptyback    [TotalFark]  
A while ago Bill Maher opined that churches are indeed abusing the tax exemption, and if the church catches on fire the church people should not be allowed to call the fire department.

05 Nov 2012 01:01 PM
AverageAmericanGuy    [TotalFark]  
During an election year, it's hard to stay away from the topic of politics. If you truly believe in the words of Jesus Christ, then you can't be silent about the evil that is the Republican party.

05 Nov 2012 01:02 PM
Prank Call of Cthulhu     
I agree. It is hard. At this point, it's much easier just to get rid of that law and let the government have its taste of tithes and collection plates. It should be retroactive for at least a decade, and let's just go ahead and slap some interest and late fees on it too. The Pope can do with a few less gold hats or ugly-ass shoes this year.

05 Nov 2012 01:02 PM
Slaves2Darkness     
Meh, not so hard as just completely farking unpopular and would take up all their time.

05 Nov 2012 01:03 PM
MurphyMurphy     
Just get rid of their tax exempt status.

God understands, otherwise he wouldn't have told you to give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.

Problem solved.

05 Nov 2012 01:03 PM
Agent Smiths Laugh     

TheOriginalEd: Sometimes.. I really dont like living here..


Okay, I give up. You humans are all doomed.

05 Nov 2012 01:03 PM
Arkanaut    [TotalFark]  
They'll enforce it when Obama makes the DEA take your guns. I warned you!

05 Nov 2012 01:03 PM
Nightsweat     
Let them say whatever they want. Also, let them pay taxes.

If you want tax exemption, you'd better abstain from politics.

05 Nov 2012 01:04 PM
ChipNASA    [TotalFark]  
To HELL with OBAMA and the NAACP...President Obama is a "Judas" and he has sold out African Americans.

media1.policymic.comView Full Size

/just saying is all.....

05 Nov 2012 01:04 PM
factoryconnection    [TotalFark]  

MurphyMurphy: Just get rid of their tax exempt status.

God understands, otherwise he wouldn't have told you to give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.

Problem solved.


Don't even have to go that far; just eliminate their "closed book" privilege. Non-church non-profits have to justify their status, but churches can just claim it with impunity. They also don't pay property taxes, which is ultra special.

Just make them follow the regular rules about disclosure and let 'em at it.

05 Nov 2012 01:07 PM
devildog123    [TotalFark]  

scottydoesntknow: Was the 'Obvious' tag busy instructing its congregation that voting for Obama will usher in the apocalypse?


You've obviously never been to an AME church before election day. They had Obama posters up behind the pulpit this year.

05 Nov 2012 01:08 PM
MurphyMurphy     

GORDON: They'll be all over making sure to collect the Obamaxare Tax, though.


yeah they already said they aren't shouldering that one

but you know, continue spouting raw sewage out of your computer

which thread you gonna hit next with boldface lies?

05 Nov 2012 01:08 PM
phartman     
In other news, taxation of expatriates continues unabated.

Taxation without representation is tyranny"

05 Nov 2012 01:09 PM
Boojum2k     

devildog123: scottydoesntknow: Was the 'Obvious' tag busy instructing its congregation that voting for Obama will usher in the apocalypse?

You've obviously never been to an AME church before election day. They had Obama posters up behind the pulpit this year.


But that's different.

05 Nov 2012 01:09 PM
Pro Zack     
In a survey last week by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 40 percent of black Protestants who attend worship services regularly said their clergy have discussed a specific candidate in church -- and the candidate in every instance was President Barack Obama.

Correlation does not equal causation... Correlation does not equal causation... Correlation does not equal causation...

05 Nov 2012 01:09 PM
SkunkWerks     
Wasn't aware the IRS was doing this at all.

On paper, I love this idea. In practice, not so much.

I'd settle for getting that whole "keeping religion out of politics" thing though. That seems a weighty enough task.

05 Nov 2012 01:10 PM
Lord Huggington     

TheOriginalEd: Sometimes.. I really dont like living here..


ugh.

05 Nov 2012 01:11 PM
enry    [TotalFark]  
Yeah, I stood up in church during the announcement part of our service. I happened to be on the Altar at the time, as I was a LEM (Lay Eucharistic Minister) and had my garb on.

I stood up and said "Get out and vote. I don't care who you vote for, but there's more than just the presidential election on the ballot and there's plenty of things that will affect you or someone you know. If you can't make it to your polling place, tell me and I'll drive you there myself."

And then I sat down and that was that.

Why can't other churches do it that way?

05 Nov 2012 01:11 PM
super_grass     

Englebert Slaptyback: A while ago Bill Maher opined that churches are indeed abusing the tax exemption, and if the church catches on fire the church people should not be allowed to call the fire department.


Liberal compassion at work.

05 Nov 2012 01:11 PM
Dow Jones and the Temple of Doom     
Rev. Wright is happy.

05 Nov 2012 01:12 PM
Boeheimian Rhapsody     
not so csb:

My wife and I were on our honeymoon in Hawaii a couple weeks ago when we attended an open-aired sunday morning Episcopal church service. Things were going rather swimmingly until the sermon.

The preacher ended his sermon with:

...I recently had a meeting with numerous other religious leaders. many different races, colors, religions, all present for a lunch-time discussion. We wanted to come together to brainstorm more ways we can help those who need it most. We talked about many things, but the overarching message, was to help figure out what more we can do to help influence public policy.

He ended his sermon with a smile and a nod, and my wife and I looked at each other with mirrored expressions, "WTF? DID HE REALLY JUST SAY THAT?"

And that's when we looked around everyone else was nodding their heads.

It gave me a sad for this country.

05 Nov 2012 01:14 PM
Lord Dimwit     

Tax Boy: I used to litigate these back in the day on behalf of the government. They're usually brought to the IRS's attention by whistleblowers with an axe to grind ("I'm mad at my preacher!") or Americans United.

The IRS hates to litigate them because of the negative publicity -- the IRS going after your church? Ugh.


Yeah, but it's not like the IRS has ever had positive publicity anyway.

05 Nov 2012 01:16 PM
jaybeezey     

scottydoesntknow: Was the 'Obvious' tag busy instructing its congregation that voting for Obama will usher in the apocalypse?


I don't think that's what Rev. Wright preaches...

05 Nov 2012 01:17 PM
JackieRabbit     
P - O - L - I - T - I - C - S

Barack Obama doesn't want to take fire from the right for declaring war on Christians, something that would assuredly happen if the IRS were to, you, know, actually enforce the law.

05 Nov 2012 01:17 PM
Harry Freakstorm     
Saw this bumper sticker on a nice minivan out in the swellburbs:

"Your Vote counts for today and for all Eternity"

And a simply Google search turns up a couple of iterations of the same type message.
http://tarafurman.blogspot.com/2012/1 1/will-your-vote-stand-test-of-f i re.html

And you can't tell me she didn't take it up Satan's Chute whilst trying to land a stockbroker/husband in college.

05 Nov 2012 01:19 PM
Son of Thunder     

Boeheimian Rhapsody: not so csb:

My wife and I were on our honeymoon in Hawaii a couple weeks ago when we attended an open-aired sunday morning Episcopal church service. Things were going rather swimmingly until the sermon.

The preacher ended his sermon with:

...I recently had a meeting with numerous other religious leaders. many different races, colors, religions, all present for a lunch-time discussion. We wanted to come together to brainstorm more ways we can help those who need it most. We talked about many things, but the overarching message, was to help figure out what more we can do to help influence public policy.

He ended his sermon with a smile and a nod, and my wife and I looked at each other with mirrored expressions, "WTF? DID HE REALLY JUST SAY THAT?"

And that's when we looked around everyone else was nodding their heads.

It gave me a sad for this country.


Well, we wouldn't want religious people infecting public policy with their religious ideas. Right, William Wilberforce? Right, MLK Jr?

05 Nov 2012 01:20 PM
BHShaman     
Why is there an exemption in a nation that preaches (snort) separation of Church and State?

05 Nov 2012 01:21 PM
PreMortem    [TotalFark]  

IAmRight: PreMortem: Enforce it or change the law.

Why do that when you can leave it on the books and then attack whoever you want for purely political reasons later on, when whoever is in power can deem it necessary? That seems like a good way to run things.


Ironically, this has been the case since 2009, after Obama took office. Could you imagine the situation if Obama directed the IRS to enforce this?

Another example of Obama v. Religion that doesn't exist.

05 Nov 2012 01:22 PM
Hack Patooey    [TotalFark]  

Lord Dimwit: Tax Boy: I used to litigate these back in the day on behalf of the government. They're usually brought to the IRS's attention by whistleblowers with an axe to grind ("I'm mad at my preacher!") or Americans United.

The IRS hates to litigate them because of the negative publicity -- the IRS going after your church? Ugh.

Yeah, but it's not like the IRS has ever had positive publicity anyway.


No kidding. When has the IRS ever worried about their image?

05 Nov 2012 01:22 PM
meanmutton     

scottydoesntknow: Was the 'Obvious' tag busy instructing its congregation that voting for Obama will usher in the apocalypse?


Nah, it was over with the Asinine tag telling its congregation that voting for Romney will send them back to the fields.

05 Nov 2012 01:22 PM
BarleyGnome     
I truly despise organized religion.

05 Nov 2012 01:23 PM
SkunkWerks     

JackieRabbit: declaring war on Christians


The Christian cry of "persecution" comes as easily in this country as the F-word does to Gordon Ramsey, to be fair. You'd think it would be dismissed just as easily, and you'd of course be wrong.

Not that more than an Nth of them have the faintest idea what the word means. Anything much over three syllables tends to confound. But it is one hell of a lightning rod, I suppose.


All that said, it really doesn't sound very practical in terms of enforcement. Short of being exceedingly invasive of religious organizations, i don't see how enforcement could be accomplished.

05 Nov 2012 01:23 PM
meanmutton     

Prank Call of Cthulhu: I agree. It is hard. At this point, it's much easier just to get rid of that law and let the government have its taste of tithes and collection plates. It should be retroactive for at least a decade, and let's just go ahead and slap some interest and late fees on it too. The Pope can do with a few less gold hats or ugly-ass shoes this year.


Very little of American Catholic donations actually go to the Vatican. The vast majority of it ends up recycled in the US -- American Catholics are really willing to donate money to pay for food banks, schools, housing for the homeless, for support for single mothers, and for upkeep on their local churches. Paying for the Vatican? They leave that up to the Europeans.

05 Nov 2012 01:24 PM
groppet     
The most blatent abuse of this I ever saw was at a wedding for a family member of mine. Right inside the front doors of the church was a pamphlet holder full of pamphlets about the churches stand of certain political standings. I was a little confused about that since I was in school at the time and we had studied that exact thing.

05 Nov 2012 01:24 PM
Lawnchair     

Nightsweat: Let them say whatever they want. Also, let them pay taxes.

If you want tax exemption, you'd better abstain from politics.


It doesn't even have to be that cut-and-dried.

I think that even a politically-active organization should be able to do charitable works and have really-charitable contributions counted as deductible.

Consider the example set by every Rotary/Lions/Kiwanis/Masonic/IOOF/etc chapter in the country. In every case (I've been the treasurer of a tiny Lions club), there's a "club account" and a "charitable account". Charitable fundraising goes in the charitable account. Charitable donations are tax-deductible. Club dues go in the club account. These are not tax-deductible. Club expenses are paid out of the club dues account.

If every little civic service club in the country can keep two sets of books straight, the 'Jesus clubs' can and should do the same damned thing.

05 Nov 2012 01:26 PM
Tax Boy     

Hack Patooey: Lord Dimwit: Tax Boy: I used to litigate these back in the day on behalf of the government. They're usually brought to the IRS's attention by whistleblowers with an axe to grind ("I'm mad at my preacher!") or Americans United.

The IRS hates to litigate them because of the negative publicity -- the IRS going after your church? Ugh.

Yeah, but it's not like the IRS has ever had positive publicity anyway.

No kidding. When has the IRS ever worried about their image?


when the IRS gets characterized as jackbooted thugs you start getting legislation like the 1998 Reform Act that reins in the IRS even more

05 Nov 2012 01:26 PM
dragonchild     

Tax Boy: The IRS hates to litigate them because of the negative publicity -- the IRS going after your church? Ugh.


As if churchgoers start out with any love for the IRS.

05 Nov 2012 01:28 PM
Zasteva     
Good. It's a waste of time and resources. Plus, as a society we should be training people to exercise their free speech, not giving them more and more areas where they feel like they must watch what they say.

Just end tax exempt status for churches already and be done with it.

05 Nov 2012 01:28 PM
Great Porn Dragon     

factoryconnection: MurphyMurphy: Just get rid of their tax exempt status.

God understands, otherwise he wouldn't have told you to give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.

Problem solved.

Don't even have to go that far; just eliminate their "closed book" privilege. Non-church non-profits have to justify their status, but churches can just claim it with impunity. They also don't pay property taxes, which is ultra special.

Just make them follow the regular rules about disclosure and let 'em at it.


THIS THISITY THIS--I'm not even "Tax the Churches" so much as "Close The Church Loopholes".

Make them do what EVERY OTHER SINGLE ORGANISATION FILING FOR 501(C)3 STATUS MUST DO:

1) File some sort of documentation (religious incorporation papers, etc.) with the IRS in the same way that 501(c)3s must prove they are an actual not-for-profit.

2) (The Biggie) File a yearly form 990 or 990-EZ like every other not-for-profit org in the country has to do including documentation of very large donations and very large amounts of money given to third parties.

Incidentially, it's those bits that dominionist churches have fought tooth-and-nail (putting them in a strange Culty-McCulterson similarity with the Scientologists, who are actually the reason that the laws re church incorporation and registration amount to "Claim you're a church to the IRS and never pay a penny of taxes ever again and never keep any records open to your parishoners much less third parties"). It's been very strongly suspected that some of the worst actors (the SBC and the Assemblies of God, as well as a mess of televangelists and other "Independent" neopentecostal megachurches) have been outright funding political groups in a very illegal manner, but it's next to impossible to prove this because nobody can get to the books. (And yes, people have tried. Congress has even tried, in the case of televangelists linked to an embezzlement scandal at ORU. It's next to impossible to do so in practice even with a Congressional subpoena.)

05 Nov 2012 01:31 PM
factoryconnection    [TotalFark]  

Son of Thunder: Boeheimian Rhapsody: It gave me a sad for this country.

Well, we wouldn't want religious people infecting public policy with their religious ideas. Right, William Wilberforce? Right, MLK Jr?


Churches have been advocates for social and political ideas for a long time. The Catholic Church has been preaching and fighting for an end to capital punishment for instance. They've lobbied Congress to promote anti-human-trafficking measures. Is every socio-political idea off the table?

05 Nov 2012 01:31 PM
Ehcks     
wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.comView Full Size

05 Nov 2012 01:31 PM
meanmutton     

BarleyGnome: I truly despise organized religion.


I'm an atheist and I'm quite happy to have organized religion. Even if you set aside the amazing music and art from the Renaissance that came out of Christianity and just focus on the modern, you have -- the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Relief Services, tons of hospitals and schools, food banks, homeless shelters, and tons of other service related charities.

05 Nov 2012 01:32 PM
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