If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Some Guy)   IRS sued over lack of enforcement of prohibition on electioneering by religious non-profits   (thedailypage.com) divider line 384
    More: Hero, Freedom From Religion Foundation, IRS, establishment clause, sanctity of life, freedoms, tax code, Constitution of the United States, churches  
•       •       •

17391 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Nov 2012 at 3:38 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



384 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | » | Last | Show all
 
2012-11-15 04:01:24 PM

kronicfeld: I don't know that I want to see a precedent set whereby one can sue the government for its exercise of prosecutorial discretion.


Correct me if I'm wrong (which I very well may be), but I've always heard that the IRS is not the government - it's just a company that collects taxes for it. In any case, if they are blatantly ignoring people avoiding taxes illegally for political reasons, or simply not attempting to enforce the law as it is laid out, then it is an issue that must be corrected.

Why should those churches be free to break the law?
 
2012-11-15 04:01:59 PM
well, at least it won't cost the taxpayers much money to pay the federal attorney to write a motion to dismiss this case.

/ unless taxpayer standing was all of sudden exploded
// even the equal protection argument is a little goofy, unless there is an actual victim of some state action.
 
2012-11-15 04:02:35 PM
while I support religious organizations having tax exempt status to keep government from playing favorites, I also think those same religious organizations should lose that status if they decide to become political.

so, sue away.
 
2012-11-15 04:02:41 PM
They tell you to vote for Romney just before they take up Jesus' tax.
 
2012-11-15 04:02:45 PM

Doc Daneeka: ShawnDoc: A) Does this group even have standing to sue?

The FFRF is also a tax-exempt nonprofit organization that must abide by rules against electioneering.

I think that gives them standing. Since the federal government is essentially treating them unequally, saying that tax-exempt nonprofits can't be involved in political campaigns, except for churches, since we're not going to enforce our rules when it comes to churches.


they're not treated unequally until they suffer some state action. so far, they've suffered nothing from the state
 
2012-11-15 04:02:55 PM

jso2897: Delawheredad: While there are violations of this law all the time enforcing it opens a can of worms. If one rogue pastor in a local Episcopal church breaks this rule who is responsible for the fine? The pastor violated the edicts of his parent organization so it would be unfair to hold them responsible. You also can't fine the local church because the statement was the opinion of the pastor and not necessarily the church. What do you end up with a fifty dollar fine on the rogue pastor?

If their tax-free status is revoked, there is no fine or punishment - they just have to pay their taxes.


Jesus never paid taxes.
 
2012-11-15 04:03:25 PM

ItsJustJake: kronicfeld: I don't know that I want to see a precedent set whereby one can sue the government for its exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

Correct me if I'm wrong (which I very well may be), but I've always heard that the IRS is not the government - it's just a company that collects taxes for it. In any case, if they are blatantly ignoring people avoiding taxes illegally for political reasons, or simply not attempting to enforce the law as it is laid out, then it is an issue that must be corrected.

Why should those churches be free to break the law?


I assume it is since it has the URL www.irs.gov.
 
2012-11-15 04:03:32 PM

genner: Isn't the Freedom From Religion Foundation also a tax exempt organization?
What are they doing getting involved in political matter like this?


This isn't a political matter. It's a legal matter.

Moreover, it's a legal matter that impacts them (as a tax-exempt nonprofit) directly. So they have every right get involved.
 
2012-11-15 04:03:34 PM

Delawheredad: While there are violations of this law all the time enforcing it opens a can of worms. If one rogue pastor in a local Episcopal church breaks this rule who is responsible for the fine? The pastor violated the edicts of his parent organization so it would be unfair to hold them responsible. You also can't fine the local church because the statement was the opinion of the pastor and not necessarily the church. What do you end up with a fifty dollar fine on the rogue pastor?


Nope. The church loses 501c(3) status. No fines necessarily. Probably turn it into a 501c(7) -- they won't pay taxes, but donations aren't tax deductible anymore.
 
2012-11-15 04:04:50 PM

Spanky_McFarksalot: while I support religious organizations having tax exempt status to keep government from playing favorites, I also think those same religious organizations should lose that status if they decide to become political.

so, sue away.


I can't imagine this tactic will work though, people do this all the time for border enforcement and I haven't heard of a victory there.

Sue the churches though, sue the churches until they're (further) back in the stone ages.
 
2012-11-15 04:05:07 PM
In another space and time, Frank Zappa nods and smiles.
 
2012-11-15 04:05:30 PM
Freedom of Speech.

Protected political speech, specifically.
 
2012-11-15 04:05:37 PM
Why do we give religious institutions tax exemption?
 
2012-11-15 04:06:19 PM

pute kisses like a man: Doc Daneeka: ShawnDoc: A) Does this group even have standing to sue?

The FFRF is also a tax-exempt nonprofit organization that must abide by rules against electioneering.

I think that gives them standing. Since the federal government is essentially treating them unequally, saying that tax-exempt nonprofits can't be involved in political campaigns, except for churches, since we're not going to enforce our rules when it comes to churches.

they're not treated unequally until they suffer some state action. so far, they've suffered nothing from the state


Maybe what the FFRF needs to do is get directly involved in political campaigns, endorsing candidates and so on, in order to provoke IRS action against them. Then they can argue that since churches do the same thing without penalty, the law is enforced unfairly.
 
2012-11-15 04:06:44 PM

coeyagi: Sue the churches though, sue the churches until they're (further) back in the stone ages.


well, I'm not anti-religious even though I don't have a particular faith, I just want government and religion to leave each other alone.
 
2012-11-15 04:06:52 PM

Doc Daneeka: genner: Isn't the Freedom From Religion Foundation also a tax exempt organization?
What are they doing getting involved in political matter like this?

This isn't a political matter. It's a legal matter.

Moreover, it's a legal matter that impacts them (as a tax-exempt nonprofit) directly. So they have every right get involved.


This. They are claiming that they are being discriminated against because they have to follow a law that other tax-exempt organizations blatantly ignore.
 
2012-11-15 04:07:50 PM

DamnYankees: Cythraul: Slaxl: What's the function of exempting religion from taxes?

Prevents your local priest from also being your tax collector?

The idea of a "tax collector" is hilariously old-fashioned.


Tell that to the IRS.
 
2012-11-15 04:07:55 PM
For those late to the party (like me), the basic thrust of it is that the IRS can't enforce this particular rule without it being seen as punishing political opponents, and nobody circles the wagons like churches do. A Nixon would be vicious enough to do this, but Obama's too intent on the politics of it to really mind the effect one way or another.

Besides, he won.
 
2012-11-15 04:08:07 PM

Dimensio: If Scalia retires, I expect Thomas to retire immediately afterward due to no longer knowing how to rule.


I think his knees can jerk pretty well on their own.

I couldn't find it online last time I looked - I wish I could, it was great - but once upon a time the NY Times had an interesting graphic showing how each appointment changed the court's balance. The replacement of Thurgood Marshall with Thomas was the biggest ideological swing of the SCOTUS from one appointment, ever.

I've predicted that he'll resign for health reasons after it's discovered he'd slipped into a diabetic coma while hearing cases, something which absolutely no one will notice while it's happening.
 
2012-11-15 04:08:27 PM

Loadmaster: Freedom of Speech.

Protected political speech, specifically.


Hey, if pastors and preacher and priests want to exercise the freedom of political speech, they should be absolutely free to do so, no one should stop them, and I would be the first in line to defend their freedom of speech.

They should not be tax-exempt in that situation, however.
 
2012-11-15 04:08:30 PM

Spanky_McFarksalot: coeyagi: Sue the churches though, sue the churches until they're (further) back in the stone ages.

well, I'm not anti-religious even though I don't have a particular faith, I just want government and religion to leave each other alone.


I'm not anti-religious (though one might call me anti-organized religion), I just think they should be made to suffer for violating that which they know to be part of American jurisprudence and yet ran the risk of getting caught for the past 3-4 decades.

Time to pay the piper, asshats.
 
2012-11-15 04:08:36 PM

Slaxl: What's the function of exempting religion from taxes?


So that the the State cannot be deemed to be establishing a (any) religion. Religious exercise does not fund (via taxes) the State. (At least that's the story I was told in school many years ago.)
 
2012-11-15 04:09:26 PM

Thats_Not_My_Baby: Why do we give religious institutions tax exemption?


so the government doesn't use it power of taxation to favor any particular religious organization.

Imagine what would happen in say Alabama if the state could tax religion...I'm sure some enterprising politician would find a way to tax muslins and judes and leave southern baptists alone.
 
2012-11-15 04:09:54 PM

Thats_Not_My_Baby: Why do we give religious institutions tax exemption?


THIS x 9001! Revoke all tax exempt status on ALL religious organizations. Treat them like everyone else

images.wikia.com
 
2012-11-15 04:10:51 PM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: kronicfeld: I don't know that I want to see a precedent set whereby one can sue the government for its exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

I believe that would be a "Writ of Mandamus".


Funny that someone with a name that includes the word Bureaucrat and is on Fark in the late afternoon would know about a bit of legaleze that translates to "DO YOUR DAMNED JOB"

At a glance it looks like there's also a civil rights issue. One 501(c)3 plays by the rules and gets stepped on by ones not playing by the rules.
 
2012-11-15 04:10:52 PM

WhoopAssWayne: stand up and call out the liberal freeloaders at every opportunity


sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net
 
2012-11-15 04:11:12 PM

Delawheredad: While there are violations of this law all the time enforcing it opens a can of worms. If one rogue pastor in a local Episcopal church breaks this rule who is responsible for the fine? The pastor violated the edicts of his parent organization so it would be unfair to hold them responsible. You also can't fine the local church because the statement was the opinion of the pastor and not necessarily the church. What do you end up with a fifty dollar fine on the rogue pastor?


Companies get sued for what their employees do all the time. That's why they have liability insurance.
 
2012-11-15 04:11:14 PM

coeyagi: I just think they should be made to suffer for violating that which they know to be part of American jurisprudence and yet ran the risk of getting caught for the past 3-4 decades


ahhh, I misunderstood you. Yeah, I agree, the ones who violated the law should be sued and taxed in the future.
 
2012-11-15 04:11:25 PM
To be fair, this is more a matter of discretion than one of favoritism. The IRS tends to focus on cases where a large quantity of government revenue lies in the difference between what an organization should be paying and what it is paying. If we're talking megachurch pastors, sure, that's worth an auditor's time and revoking the exemption, but most of the offending churches are two-bit operations that don't make a profit anyhow, really.

I mean, by making them deal with real business paperwork and shiat you're punishing them for being douchebags and petty criminals, but it won't actually get the government any more money, really, and in a budget shortfall I kind of expect them to prioritize money.
 
2012-11-15 04:11:28 PM

Lunchlady: A church is going to need to publicly endorse a candidate by name for anything to happen.


Isn't the point of this suit that the churches DID EXACTLY THAT that during this cycle? And proudly flaunted their nose-thumbing by publishing ads, op-eds and making public statements to the effect of "The IRS can't touch GAWD's will!"?

It's one thing for the IRS to claim prosecutorial discretion when not prosecuting suspected illegal electioneering by nonprofits. It's quite another when you have a bishop ON RECORD saying that his priests must read his electioneering screed on Sunday and him (and others) daring the IRS to come after them.

The cynic in all of us knows that the USG/IRS isn't going to neuter churches like that. Laws be damned, no one is going to take on religious establishments - they'll always win the ground game.

// reclassify the churches as SuperPACs if they want to do electioneering
 
2012-11-15 04:11:37 PM

ItsJustJake: Correct me if I'm wrong (which I very well may be), but I've always heard that the IRS is not the government - it's just a company that collects taxes for it.


They're part of the US Department of the Treasury, headed by an executive appointee with Senate confirmation.
 
2012-11-15 04:11:39 PM
The lawsuit cites "open and notorious violations" of these electioneering restrictions by churches since 2008, including "blatantly partisan full-page ads" from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that ran in papers throughout the country leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

In the ad, Graham urges people to vote "for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman."

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, says, "Everybody knows what he was talking about: Obama endorsing same-sex marriage."


QUESTION:

I don't want to defend Billy Graham... But federal employees (who have several restrictions during elections that are defined in the Hatch Act) can legally wear or display shirts or buttons that support any specific policy position even if that position is intinsicanly linked to a political candidate or party. They just can't wear or display anything that specifically endorses a candidate for an office for which there is a partisan election. So before I get bent all out of shape about these churches seemingly breaking the law... is that same exception granted to them? If the ads didn't specifically cite Mitt or any other candidate, then it is possible that they are still acting withing the confines of the law. So... are they?
 
2012-11-15 04:12:01 PM
A local pastor told his (predominantly black) congregation that "white people are going to hell" and that Romney supporters are the White Devil come to play. These statements were made at a pro-Obama rally at his church.

My mother works at a (predominantly white) southern baptist church. Their church got a letter (not sure from whom) earlier in the summer reminding them that they were tax exempt and in order to keep this status they couldn't preach politics in the pulpit.

Which leads me to wonder, which churches got said letters, and which did not? Also, when we have media reports of churches doing things like this, why are they not immediately punished and removed from tax exempt status?
 
2012-11-15 04:12:12 PM
Something else that needs to be looked into is the practice of churches (at least some of the "Hate-the-Earth" ones around here) forcing their charity cases to work as menial labor for contractors for as little as $3.00/hour.
 
2012-11-15 04:13:07 PM

Loadmaster: Slaxl: What's the function of exempting religion from taxes?

So that the the State cannot be deemed to be establishing a (any) religion. Religious exercise does not fund (via taxes) the State. (At least that's the story I was told in school many years ago.)


The real reason is because Christians aren't so hot on the 1st amendment when it comes to stopping them from forcing THEIR religion on others. And any time a bill that might benefit Christians in this country comes along, it's basically political suicide to go against it because they will call you a communist muslim loving devil-worshiper if you do.
 
2012-11-15 04:13:09 PM
Over 450 thousand churches in the U.S. While you may get a big fish like Graham, the backlash will be immense.
 
2012-11-15 04:13:24 PM
i.telegraph.co.uk

I will stop
I will stop at nothing
Say the right things
When electioneering
I trust I can rely on your vote

When I go forwards you go backwards and somewhere we will meet

Riot shields
Voodoo economics
It's just business
Cattle prods and the IMF
I trust I can rely on your vote

When I go forwards you go backwards and somewhere we will meet
 
2012-11-15 04:14:08 PM
How about we get some common sense and stop allowing anything religious tax-exempt status? It's not constitutional, and it was an implicit deal that LBJ came up with to get churches out of politics. They didn't honor their end of the deal, and it's high time they actually did something contributory.
 
2012-11-15 04:14:10 PM
The other problem wit this law is the question of favoritism. Are you going to go after politically active inner city churches like Obama's church or are you only going after redneck southern churches? What about Louis Farrakhan calling on the U.S. to stop supporting Israel and to stop voting for candidates that support Israel? He does and has done that.

Do you take the tax exemption away from the Society of Fiends for telling its congregants to vote for anti-war candidates or pacifist issues? What if the help soldiers defect to Canada?

To enforce this law fairly you practically have to have someone attending and monitoring every church, mosque, and synagogue and NO ONE want's that.
 
2012-11-15 04:14:38 PM

Dr Dreidel: Lunchlady: A church is going to need to publicly endorse a candidate by name for anything to happen.

Isn't the point of this suit that the churches DID EXACTLY THAT that during this cycle? And proudly flaunted their nose-thumbing by publishing ads, op-eds and making public statements to the effect of "The IRS can't touch GAWD's will!"?

It's one thing for the IRS to claim prosecutorial discretion when not prosecuting suspected illegal electioneering by nonprofits. It's quite another when you have a bishop ON RECORD saying that his priests must read his electioneering screed on Sunday and him (and others) daring the IRS to come after them.

The cynic in all of us knows that the USG/IRS isn't going to neuter churches like that. Laws be damned, no one is going to take on religious establishments - they'll always win the ground game.

// reclassify the churches as SuperPACs if they want to do electioneering


It was "reported" that pastors told Romney they would help anyway they can, and then the same churches/preachers released ads. Way too much plausible deniability.
 
2012-11-15 04:16:38 PM

AustinFakir: WhoopAssWayne: stand up and call out the liberal freeloaders at every opportunity

[sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net image 534x400]


Hmmm.... Preview failed me. Well, the gist is that it's odd to call people freeloaders when they are standing up asking to be taxed so they can help narrow the budget deficit, and it's doubly odd when the name-callers are desperately trying to take as little responsibility for the country's debt as possible.
 
2012-11-15 04:17:36 PM
As long as they include the black churches that marched there congregations to the booths. I don't have a problem with it.
 
2012-11-15 04:17:54 PM

Pockafrusta: Over 450 thousand churches in the U.S. While you may get a big fish like Graham, the backlash will be immense.


How many are electioneering from the pulpit though? Surely not that many or even close.

/but i've been wrong before
 
2012-11-15 04:18:17 PM

kronicfeld: I don't know that I want to see a precedent set whereby one can sue the government for its exercise of prosecutorial discretion.


I'm pretty sure the federal oath of office, which the Director of the IRS would have taken, includes some form of promise to "enforce the laws of the United States."
 
2012-11-15 04:18:25 PM
Wouldn't someone have to go into these churches and and make sure they were not advocating a political position or endorsement? Some sort of political enforcer, if you will, to police the church... THE CHURCH POLICE!

www.oocities.org

When I am elected Nebuchadnezzar, I'm pulling the TSA out of the airports, and getting right on top of this.
 
2012-11-15 04:18:35 PM
the IRS is a hero?
wait till they come for you.
 
2012-11-15 04:18:46 PM
All i know is for the weeks leading up to the election my church (which is very conservative) didn't mention politics once. But this past week had a sermon on how the country is going to hell because we here in Wisconsin elected a dirty smelly lesbian to serve in the Senate and how this is the downfall of America. We were then told that gay people are just really straight people that are confused and our pastor has helped dozens of people in our congregation lead healthy straight lives when they told them they had gay thoughts. It was the same song and dance about how God doesn't hate gay people but they are going to hell unless they suppress the gay. It makes me want to send a link to the sermon to the IRS since our church puts all the sermons online for shut-ins to watch.
 
2012-11-15 04:19:15 PM
encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com

Approves.
 
2012-11-15 04:19:32 PM

TrollingForColumbine: As long as they include the black churches that marched there congregations to the booths. I don't have a problem with it.


Encouraging voting =/= persuading or threatening someone to vote for a political candidate.

A simpler explanation could only be made with crayons.
 
2012-11-15 04:20:00 PM

vudukungfu: Good
Take the IRS's toys away, and lock them up.
And tax the churches until we all get a check from those skywizard worshipping dickwads.
You want to believe in invisible people and vote? PAY ME, assholes.
We dont' let retards vote. We don't let crazies vote.
What part about you must be of sound mind to vote do you not understand?
Tax the fark out of them and go retrofarkingactive.
Pave our highways with the gold of the stupid and nutless.


You do realize that only profits are taxed, right? Anything that is an expense is written off just like any other business. Most churches are small and have no extra money at the end of the year anyway. The clergy that are paid by the church pay their income taxes as everyone else does, either as an employee or self-employed consultant depending on how the church is set up. The only people who will see a dime would be tax preparers and accountants.
 
Displayed 50 of 384 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report