IRS denies religious groups tax-exempt status; says “the Bible

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — First Liberty Institute today appealed an IRS decision denying tax-exempt status to Christians Engaged, a nonprofit organization that exists to educate and empower Christians to pray for our nation and elected officials, vote, and engage civically. In a letter released in May, the IRS argued that Christians Engaged did not qualify for 501(c)(3) status in part because “[B]Biblical teachings are generally affiliated with [Republican] party and candidates.

You can read the denial letter from the IRS here.

Today’s appeal letter is available here.

“The IRS declares in an official letter that the biblical values ​​are exclusively republican. This could be news for President Biden, who is often portrayed as basing his political ideology on his religious beliefs,” said First Liberty Institute attorney Lea Patterson. “Only a politicized taxman could view Americans who pray for their nation, vote in every election, and strive to involve others in the political process as a threat. The IRS violated its own regulations by denying tax-exempt status because Christians Engaged teaches biblical values.

Christians Engaged chairman Bunni Pounds said: “We just want to encourage more people to vote and participate in the political process. How can anyone be against that?

Christians Engaged incorporated in July 2019 as a Texas nonprofit corporation “formed exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, or scientific purposes.” From its religious perspective, Christians Engaged provides non-partisan religious and civic education, focusing on encouraging and educating Christians to be civically engaged as part of their religious practice. Christians Engaged applied for tax-exempt status in late 2019. On May 18, 2021, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Stephen A. Martin denied the application, saying Christians Engaged “commits.”[s] in a prohibited political campaign intervention” and “operate[s] for a substantial non-exempt private purpose and for the private interests of [Republican] to party.”

In its administrative appeal letter, First Liberty states: “In concluding that Christians Engaged fails the operational test, Director Martin errs in three ways: 1) he invents a non-existent requirement that exempt organizations must be neutral on public policy issues; 2) he erroneously concludes that Christians Engaged serves primarily non-exempt private purposes rather than exempt public purposes because he believes his beliefs overlap with the political positions of the Republican Party; and 3) it violates the free speech, free exercise, and establishment clauses of the First Amendment by engaging in both viewpoint discrimination and religious discrimination.

About First Liberty Institute
First Liberty Institute is the nation’s largest legal organization dedicated exclusively to advocating for religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at [email protected] or by calling 972-941-4453.

Contact: Lacey McNiel, [email protected]
Direct line: 972-941-4453