April 7, 2006
The IRS is apparently home to some Republican church mice:
A group of religious leaders accused the Internal Revenue Service yesterday of playing politics by ignoring its complaint that two large churches in Ohio are engaging in what it says are political activities, in violation of the tax code.
In a letter to Commissioner Mark W. Everson, the clergy members cited reports of political events involving Fairfield Christian Church in Fairfield and World Harvest Church in Columbus and groups affiliated with them that have occurred or been disclosed since they raised the issue in January.
The group argues that the churches may be violating prohibitions on political activities by charities and other tax-exempt organizations and has asked the I.R.S. to audit their political activities.
The group often notes that the agency is investigating All Saints Church, a large liberal Episcopal church in Pasadena, Calif., over a sermon in 2004 that imagined a debate among Jesus, President Bush and Senator John Kerry, then the Democratic presidential candidate, and asks why the agency has not begun a similar audit of the two Ohio churches, which are conservative.
… The critics’ group says that the two churches’ activities continue to support the gubernatorial candidacy of Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell almost exclusively, violating requirements that nonprofit organizations treat all candidates in a race even-handedly.
In 2004, Mr. Blackwell flew to three events on the World Harvest Church plane with its pastor, the Rev. Rodney L. Parsley, to protest same-sex marriages. Mr. Blackwell paid $1,000 for the flights, The Associated Press said, and Mr. Hudson noted that Mr. Blackwell took the trips before he was officially a candidate.
Well, that’s OK then.
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