by Hank Berrien, edited by Bobby Price
Bobby: [Jhn 3:19-20 ESV] 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
This news is one more piece of evidence that the world is trying to discourage our faith. While this may not seem like a big deal, it is one step further toward a widespread persecution. This Christian organization was rejected tax-exempt status because they claimed the bible’s teachings are affiliated with the Republican Party. This is a clear misunderstanding of the Christian faith and the bible’s teachings. The worst-case scenario enters my head: is this a test to see if they can get away with it so they can do more in the future? Either way, we can all conclude that our culture is changing and the latter form of it is antagonistic to Christians.
In shades of the IRS targeting conservative groups during the tenure of former President Obama, inhibiting their attempts to gain non-profit status, the IRS recently denied a Christian non-profit organization tax-exempt status, stating that the “Bible’s teachings are typically affiliated with the Republican Party and candidates.”
Last week, First Liberty, representing the non-profit group Christians Engaged, filed an appeal. They wrote:
Christians Engaged’s mission statement articulates three goals: “to awaken, motivate, and empower ordinary believers in Jesus Christ to: pray for our nation regularly, vote in every election to impact our culture, [and] engage our hearts in some form of political education or activism for the furtherance of our nation.” To accomplish the first, Christians Engaged provides a weekly Bible study, sends out weekly prayer alerts, and organizes statewide and area prayer gatherings. …
Second, Christians Engaged educates the public on the importance of voting in every election and provides tools to enable them to do so. … Christians Engaged invites individuals to pledge to pray regularly for the nation, vote in every election, and “commit to some form of political education or activism for the furtherance of our nation.” It also follows up with election reminders, but it does not produce voter guides or otherwise suggest that recipients should vote for or against any particular candidate or candidates.
Finally, Christians Engaged empowers ordinary Christians who are generally unfamiliar with civic and public policy processes and issues to become actively involved by 1) “educat[ing] believers on the national issues that are central to our belief in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God,” and 2) providing training, resources, and mentorships that help them navigate the political process in order to “promote [their] values or get involved with [their] passion.”
On May 18, 2021, Exempt Organizations Director Stephen A. Martin denied the application, contending that Christians Engaged “engage[s] in prohibited political campaign intervention” and “operate[s] for a substantial non-exempt private purpose and for the private interests of the D [Republican] party.” This conclusion pointed specifically to Christians Engaged’s education of “believers on national issues that are central to their belief in the Bible as the inerrant M [Word of God]” : namely, “the sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, biblical justice, freedom of speech, defense, and [sic] borders and immigration, [and] U.S. and Israel relations.”
Because Director Martin believes that “bible [sic] teachings are typically affiliated with the D [Republican] party and candidates,” the Proposed Determination Letter found that “[t]his disqualifies [Christians Engaged] from exemption under IRC Section 501(c)(3)” (underline added -Bobby).
“Under federal law, to receive tax-exempt status as a religious organization, an organization must operate exclusively for charitable or educational purposes and must ‘not attempt to influence legislation’ or ‘participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates,’” The Blaze noted.
First Liberty Institute Counsel Lea Patterson said the claims “that Biblical values are exclusively Republican … might be news to President Biden, who is often described as basing his political ideology on his religious beliefs.” Patterson added: “Only a politicized IRS could see Americans who pray for their nation, vote in every election, and work to engage others in the political process as a threat. The IRS violated its own regulations in denying tax exempt status because Christians Engaged teaches biblical values.”
UPDATE: The IRS has reversed course as of July 9, 2021 and Christians Engaged will receive the tax-exempt status.
Bobby Price was born and raised by Christian parents in Perrin, Texas. Bobby decided early in life to become a preacher of God's word. He attended the Sunset International Bible Institute in Lubbock, Texas where he graduated in 2015 with his Bachelors of Biblical Studies with a focus in Congregational Ministry. Afterwards, he interned for a year at the valley view Church of Christ in Jonesboro, AR. He is currently working on his Masters of Biblical Studies, through the Sunset International Bible Institute Graduate School.