(OPINION) ETH – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) denied tax-exempt status to a Texas Christian non-profit last month, arguing it was not eligible for 501(c)(3) status in part because “Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the Republican party and candidates.”
Christians Engaged, an organization dedicated to educate and empower Christians to pray for the nation and elected officials, vote, and be civically engaged, was denied the tax exemption in a letter from IRS Exempt Organizations Director Stephen A. Martin. First Liberty Institute, a religious rights law firm, is representing Christians Engaged and has appealed the IRS’s decision.
Christians Engaged incorporated in July 2019 as a Texas nonprofit corporation “formed exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, or scientific purposes.” From its religious perspective, the organization provides nonpartisan religious and civic education, focusing on encouraging and educating Christians to be engaged citizens as a part of their religious practice.
Christians Engaged applied for tax-exempt status in late 2019. On its website, the organization states it is educational, Christian, and non-partisan. “Specifically, you educate Christians on what the Bible says in areas where they can be instrumental including the areas of the sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, biblical justice, freedom of speech, defense, and borders and immigration, U.S. and Israel relations,” Martin wrote. “The Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the Republican party and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under IRC Section 501(c)(3).” READ MORE