According to Liberty Counsel, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has officially reported that it is not auditing churches because it does not have the authority to take away churches’ tax-free status.
For years, leftist groups, such as Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU), have used deception and fear tactics to censor the church and muzzle pastors. A recent letter to religious leaders by Executive Director Barry Lynn inaccurately said, “If the IRS determines that your house of worship has engaged in unlawful intervention, it can revoke the institution’s tax-exempt status.”
An IRS spokesman said last week that the agency has been inundated with complaints, but they are not going to do any audits because they do not have the authority to do so. “Churches are tax-exempt inherently,” said Mat Staver. “They don’t need a letter from the IRS to be tax exempt, so their tax-exempt status cannot be taken away by the IRS.”
No church has ever lost its tax-exempt status for opposing or supporting a candidate for political office. Churches and pastors may speak on Biblical and moral issues. They can educate about the candidates’ viewpoints. They can encourage people to vote and can assist them in getting to the polls. This year Liberty Counsel has sent over 100,000 copies of its Take Back America: Silence is NOT an Option to pastors and church leaders around America, to encourage pastors and church leaders to speak truth to this generation.
More pastors have been involved this year than ever before, even pastors who have been silenced in the past. Rev. Billy Graham is running full-page advertisements in a number of newspapers across the country, urging voters to vote for candidates that support Biblical values of life, natural marriage, and religious liberty. “This is unprecedented for the world’s best-known evangelist,” said Staver. “Billy Graham has always steered clear of politics. In reality, Billy Graham has merely raised his prophetic voice like any preacher should when Biblical and moral values are placed in jeopardy by politicians,” said Staver.
John MacArthur, a well-known pastor and author, who was against Christian political activism, has had a dramatic change of heart. “I was amazed that one of the historic parties in the U.S. adopted the sins of Romans 1 as their platform,” said MacArthur in a recent Sunday morning sermon. “This is a new day in our country. Parties that used to differ on economics, now differ dramatically on issues that invade the realm of God’s law and morality.”
“I am beginning to see more and more pastors waking up and realizing that Biblical and moral issues are under attack and they have no choice but to speak,” Staver said. “This isn’t politics; it is Biblical and moral issues that have been politicized.”
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.