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New persecution – IRS strikes deal with atheist group to monitor sermon content? July 31, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, paganism, persecution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, Spiritual Warfare.

This is one of those matters that is not entirely clear yet, but given the massive scandals at the IRS and their seeming gleeful willingness to persecute just about any group or person to the right of Vladimir Ulyanov, I would not say this is nothing to worry about because it hasn’t taken shape, yet.  The fact that an atheist group is suing the IRS to monitor the content of church sermons for “violations” of their tax-exempt status should give one pause:

The next time your pastor delivers a pro-life sermon or urges the congregation to stand up for pro-life values in the political or public arena, he could be taken to task by the IRS.

Alliance Defending Freedom asked the Internal Revenue Service Tuesday to release all documents related to its recent decision to settle a lawsuit with an atheist group that claims the IRS has adopted new protocols and procedures for the investigation of churches. [You can hear hard drives crashing all over IRS headquarters in DC]

ADF submitted the Freedom of Information Act request after learning of the IRS’s agreement with Freedom From Religion Foundation in a press releasethe group issued on July 17 concerning its lawsuit Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Koskinen, which accused the agency of failing to investigate churches the way the atheist group would like. [This “foundation” and its leader, Mikey Wienstein, are virulent anti-Christians.  You could say he is much, much less worried about other religions than he is about the terrible “violations” of the false doctrine of separation of Church and state by Christians than he is by any other religion.  Once again, the sexular paganist hatred (Wienstein is a secular Jew – or is he?) of Christianity manifests itself]

……..According to the Freedom From Religion Foundation press release, “The IRS has now resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations. The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations.” [If this diabolical foundation is pleased, you can be sure that is very, very bad news for the Church]

The release mentions the ADF annual “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” event as one that promotes activity by churches that violates the Johnson Amendment, a federal law that activist groups often cite in an attempt to silence churches by threatening their tax-exempt status. The Johnson Amendment authorizes the IRS to regulate sermons and requires churches to give up their constitutionally protected freedom of speech in order to retain their tax-exempt status.

Which raises the question again (I’ve discussed it many times) of just how much muzzling churches are willing to accept in order to maintain that cherished tax-exempt status.  Sure, that status on not paying taxes on their income is extremely handy, it effectively increases revenue substantially, but at what cost?  In years past, before this country ditched its remaining Christian ethos and (among the power and media elites, anyway) went full bore towards persecution, it made sense, but does it still?

More and more we see how the cozy relationship the Church has enjoyed with the federal government for decades is costing it dearly.  HHS Mandates (due to federal funding), tacit or overt control over the direction of many Catholic charities (Catholic Charities and CRS funded over 90% by federal dollars), demands to perform abortions in federally-subsidized “Catholic” hospitals, etc, are all ways the federal government, as its leaders and the culture go more and more into outright anti-Christian bias, tries to control the Church.  There has always been a tacit threat that if bishops say “You cannot vote for Obama, because his policies are evil,” they would have their exempt status revoked.

That is the usual claim when millions of scandalized souls ask why Canon 915 has never been enforced against Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, or any of a number of public figures who are brazen in their heresy.

There is no question foregoing tax-exempt status would hurt a great deal.  There is no question much good (if it is good – often it is not, or just Alinskyite organizing at a different level) now being done with all the ways the federal government subsidizes the Church would be greatly diminished should that cozy relationship cease. But at some point it may have to, as the influence of progressive hatred of Christianity in government spreads and government adopts more and more anti-Church policies.  Some, like me, have argued that point was reached long ago, and the Church in this country made a terrible mistake in ever becoming dependent on the government teat (which was one of the main reasons the USCCB and its predecessors ever came into being, to be a central agency to receive and direct federal funding).

This dependence on federal funding also points back to fundamental understandings of the primary purpose of the Church – is it to be a worldly do good society, or the transcendent and exclusive Body instituted by Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls?  Prior to Vatican II, the answer was clearly the latter, but since, the emphasis has been much more on the former.  Not that the Church cannot be both.  But overemphasis on worldly works has played a role in deranging the Faith from its true purpose.

Thus, by returning to roots and stopping this slide into NGO irrelevance, the Church, through renewed emphasis on Her unique nature and role, would inspire more fervor in souls, which could well result in a net positive gain, monetarily, over the status quo.

But surely that’s just too radical to consider.


1. RC - July 31, 2014

The day I hear a NO priest at a NO parish deliver a pro life sermon is the day I’ll be willing to buy oceanfront property in Arizona

Tantumblogo - July 31, 2014

Apparently Monsignor Bierschenk at St. Monica in Dallas gave one a year or so ago that was at least kind of pro-life. People had been waiting years, apparently, for that to happen.

And Fr. Smith at St. Mark would give a fairly strong pro-life sermon. So it does happen.

RC - July 31, 2014

Good to know they are out there. I’ve just never heard one other than at UNT.

2. Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner - July 31, 2014

There might be a few bright sides to this 1) atheists reading homilies MIGHT one day convert them, and yes 2) if churches gave up their tax exempt status they would have more freedom to say what needs saying. With so many parishes closing, ‘yoking’ and ‘clustering’ together the money is more focused than in decades past.
Perhaps its time to give up the tax exempt status and REALLY give homilies people need to hear.

Tantumblogo - July 31, 2014

Thank you for stopping by. You reminded me to add you to my blogroll! I like your site.

Dominus vobiscum!

Dismas - July 31, 2014

First it will be the loss of “tax-exempt”status, to which we should say, “good riddance.” That is followed by arrests for hate speech.

One of the more troubling things for me is that none of this shocks me.

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner - August 1, 2014

Oh thank you! 🙂

3. Mark Kumicich - July 31, 2014

Timothy was stoned to death
Peter was arrested and responded “who should I obey God or man”
Every apostle was eventually murdered for preaching the word

Imagine the unifying outcry that would come today if they arrested a priest in the US for what he said from the pulpit. The bribery that their forbearers complicity agreed to would be overturned or a congressman would be out of a job. In a country founded on free speech and freedom of religion only the religious must pay a price for “free” speech. Every other institution is allowed to say whatever they want.

All major church groups should agree to a day called “freedom at the pulpit day”, perhaps the 4th of July or Thanksgiving, where every single one of them breaks this unconstitutional law. They should invite the IRS and the media. And during this day encourage their flock to stand for GOD. Then ask them to make a vow that if there is any fascists attacks from the federal govt over this, that each member of the congregation agree to NOT file a federal tax claim the following Spring or unbtil that priest is pardoned.

If the gaits of hell can not stand against the body of Christ, i assure you these politcal bullies will run like cowards once confronted.

4. Kurt - July 31, 2014

Well, I feel very sorry for our Protestant friends who will be investigated by the IRS if they violate the Johnson Amendment.

As for us Catholics, our cowardly bishops have already told priests they are not to endorse candidates from the pulpit even if it were allowed by law. And priests that dared defy these edicts have been disciplined by their bishops.

So unless we suddenly find Rome appointing bishops with backbones (well, he won’t be Pope forever), this is a non-issue for Catholics.

5. c matt - July 31, 2014

Well, there is a major problem with the understanding of tax-exempt status. Most people think of it as a break given to religious organizations, and the Code and Regs encourage that thinking. But when it comes to Church functions, it is not so much a concession the Government makes for Churches because the Government is so nice, it is in fact REQUIRED by the First Amendment. Without tax exemption, the tax code would be the epitome of Church/State entanglement that these lunatic groups so decry. The power to tax, is in the end, the power to destroy (or at least severely control). The gates of hell may not prevail, but the gates of the IRS?

Tantumblogo - July 31, 2014

Good analysis. There is also the factor, which I did not mention, that to lose tax-exempt status would also mean donations could not be claimed as tax exemptions. So that further complicates things.

6. Baseballmom - July 31, 2014

The 501(c)(3) benefits the donor at tax time. It is time to drop it from the tax code. It will soon be dis-allowed anyway, as soon as priests refuse to perform same sex “marriages” in their churches…. Let us pray that they WILL REFUSE!!!!! But then, if they do not, we will know they are no longer Catholic Churches.

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