Yesterday I kvetched about a Baptist preacher in Texas, Robert Jeffress,who was apparently violating the U.S. government’s stricture against religious figures campaigning in an illegal way for and against Presidential candidates.
To retain their unconscionable tax-free status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), U.S. churches and their pastors cannot engage in “official” political activity. The U.S. tax code for religious organizations says this:
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations, are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise tax.
. . . for their organizations to remain tax exempt under IRC section 501(c)(3), religious leaders cannot make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official church functions. To avoid potential attribution of their comments outside of church functions and publications, religious leaders who speak or write in their individual capacity are encouraged to clearly indicate that their comments are personal and not intended to represent the views of the organization.
Jeffress was, from the pulpit, urging his flock to vote against Obama and, later, for Mittens. I noted that this violated the tax laws, and wondered why his church wasn’t in trouble.
Written By: Jerry Coyne – WEITcontinue to source article at whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com