IRS caught on tape: Keep faith to yourself
Non-profit group waited for tax-exempt approval for almost 2-1/2 years
WASHINGTON — Alliance Defending Freedom made public Monday audio of a phone conversation that the Internal Revenue Service placed to a non-profit organization that provides support to women in abusive pregnancy situations. In the recorded phone conversation, an IRS agent lectures the president of the organization about forcing its religion and beliefs on others and inaccurately explains that the group must remain neutral on issues such as abortion.
Alliance Defending Freedom represents the group, which did not receive its tax-exempt status until last week, nearly two and a half years after applying for it.
“The IRS is a tax collector; it shouldn’t be allowed to be the speech and belief police,” said Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “The current scandal isn’t new but has merely exposed the abuse of power that characterizes this agency and threatens our fundamental freedoms.” The IRS grants tax exemptions to religious, educational, and/or charitable organizations. In January 2011, Pro-Life Revolution, which operates from Texas under all three purposes, filed an application for tax-exempt status with the IRS.
Four months later, the IRS sent a letter requesting “more information” and an explanation of how the organization’s activities are educational or charitable even though IRS rules specify that an organization need only operate for “one or more” of the three exempt purposes. President of Pro-Life Revolution Ania Joseph nonetheless replied and answered the IRS’s questions.
In March 2012, Joseph received a call from IRS Exempt Organization Specialist Sherry Wan, who told her that, in order to obtain a tax exemption, “You cannot force your religion or force your beliefs on somebody else…. You have to know your boundaries. You have to know your limits. You have to respect other people’s beliefs.” The IRS has approved applications for tax exemption for pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood and Life and Liberty for Women.
Read more: http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/8247
Here is the transcript of recording of phone call placed by IRS agent Sherry Wan to Pro-Life Revolution President Ania Joseph March 8, 2012 if your unable to view video:
(:00-:05) – [Unintelligible]
Agent Sherry Wan (:06-:41) – “…so you have your right. You have your freedom. You have your religious rights. You have a right to believe what you believe. You have the right to think about what you should do, what is right for you to do. OK. And, but, however, this freedom also [unintelligible] to other people. Other people also have the freedom. You know, for the personal view, maybe I go with you. However, I have to [unintelligible] the Internal Revenue Service. I have to stick with the law. Because, you know, we have to keep it neutral.
Client Ania Joseph (:41-:44) – I understand that you have to stick with the law.
Agent (:44-1:17) – Yeah, you have the religious freedom; the freedom of speech. And other people also have the civil rights; human rights. You cannot, you know, use your religious belief to tell other people you don’t have a belief, so I don’t believe you need the right to do this, start confrontation, protesting, uh, prot, uh, protest. [unintelligible] You don’t apply for tax exemption.
Agent (1:18-1:38) – Nobody will go after you as long as you don’t violate the law. But when you come to apply for tax exemption, you have to keep your action to, you know, exactly what is educational or religious, you know you [unintelligible].
Agent (1:41-1:56) – And like I said, you can’t, you have, your right to believe. You have your right of belief to do what you’re supposed to do. But you have no right to, against, other people’s beliefs.
Client (1:56-1:57) – I understand your concerns, but…
Most churches in America are organized as 501c3 tax-exempt religious organizations. This trend that has been going on for at least 59 years. In 1954 Churches were added to section 501c3 of the tax code.
This tax code literally silences the Church and eliminates the significant influence the Church is suppose to have on shaping public policy. Under the 501c3 churches are prohibited from addressing, in any tangible way, the vital issues of the day. (abortion, LGBT, Gov’t etc).
A tax-exempt church or organization
In Bob Jones University v. United States (461 U.S. 574), the U.S. Supreme Court noted the following about the government’s intended purpose for the 501c3:
The Court asserts that an exempt organization (one that has become a 501c3) must “demonstrably serve and be in harmony with the public interest,” must have a purpose that comports with “the common community conscience,” and must not act in a manner “affirmatively at odds with the declared position of the whole Government.” Taken together, these passages suggest that the primary function of a tax-exempt organization is to act on behalf of the Government in carrying out governmentally approved policies.
When a church accepts the 501c3 status, that church:
· Waives its freedom of speech
· Waives its freedom of religion
· Waives its right to influence legislators and the legislation they craft.
· Waives its constitutionally guaranteed rights.
· Is no longer free to speak to the vital issues of the day.
· It’s controlled with fear, if it doesn’t following IRS guidelines it will lose its tax-exempt status.
· Becomes a State-Church.