Much has been said about Pulpit Freedom Sunday already, but there's still a thing or two to add.
First, let's talk about the political and legal aspects of the story. Reuters says it's "not entirely clear" why the IRS hasn't gone after churches making endorsements in recent years. I’d say the reason is actually pretty clear: the U.S. House of Representatives.
The United Church of Christ has retained a former U.S. solicitor general to represent the church during an Internal Revenue Service investigation of its political activities. Seth P. Waxman, who represented the U.S. government before the Supreme Court from 1997 to 2001, will lead a team of attorneys working on behalf of the 1.2-million-member denomination, according to the UCC.
The large and liberal All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California—after squirming on the hook for two years as the Internal Revenue Service examined the content of a preelection sermon—has been tossed back into the religious stream because its “political intervention” favoring one candidate “appears to be a one-time occurrence.” The church will not lose its tax-exemption over the October 3
The Internal Revenue Service has cleared Focus on the Family chair James Dobson after an investigation into charges that he had violated IRS rules by endorsing President Bush and other Republicans in the 2004 elections.
Dobson hailed the IRS conclusion in a broadcast on his syndicated radio program September 10 and read from documents he received from the agency.
The next time you toss bills into the church collection plate, you might want to ask the usher for a receipt.
New federal rules for the 2007 tax year—which took effect January 1—forbid tax deductions for charitable donations unless the taxpayer can substantiate the donation through receipts or official financial records.
After consultation with the congregation, clergy and legal counsel, the governing board of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, on September 21 voted unanimously (26-0) “to challenge legally, and in a court of law,” the right of the Internal Revenue Service to proceed with either of two summonses served on the church by the IRS on September 15.
A large, liberal Episcopal church in southern California is close to deciding that it will resist an inquiry by the Internal Revenue Service regarding political activity, possibly forcing a court test on First Amendment rights. The IRS has asked All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena to provide extensive answers to questions about an antiwar, preelection sermon in 2004,