Secular Groups Push IRS to Tax Partisan Political Churches

December 4, 2012

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) and American Humanist Association (AHA) on Tuesday sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service voicing shared concerns and disappointment regarding the agency’s lack of action against churches which are blatantly violating laws that prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations from endorsing political candidates and parties.

Our letter outlines several glaring instances of churches engaging in illegal partisan political activities—including reference to several petitions filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation—and posits that, by consequence of their behavior, churches have gained an unfair advantage in public policy debates over law-abiding 501(c)(3) groups such as CFI and AHA. We argue that there is no reason why churches should not be held accountable for their actions, and urge the IRS to immediately take steps to monitor partisan political activities by 501(c)(3) organizations, and faithfully apply the laws restricting such activities. 

“The IRS is effectively giving privilege to organized religion, and forcing taxpayers to subsidize partisan political advocacy by churches,” said Michael De Dora, director of CFI’s Office of Public Policy. “It’s absurd, and must stop.”

To download our letter, click here (PDF).