Under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, in order to qualify for tax exemption with donations that are tax deductible, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for tax exempt purposes. It may not attempt to influence legislation, and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against any political candidate.
How often is this prohibition observed? Apparently not very often.
According to a Nov. 13 Associated Press story, a South Carolina Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they cannot receive Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama.
Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, said: “The idea that religion and politics don’t mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country.”
“There is no such thing as separation of state and church in the Constitution. It’s a lie of the left,” according to Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition.
More recently, we have the Maine Marriage Alliance, which is promoting a constitutional amendment prohibiting same sex marriage. According to the Dec. 4 BDN, Rev. Bob Emrich, pastor of a Baptist church in Plymouth, urged other pastors and their congregations to contact their legislators in support of such a constitutional amendment. According to the Maine Marriage Alliance Web page, readers are asked to “send your tax deductible contribution.”
The issue isn’t about Barack Obama or same sex marriage at all. It is about using some people’s religious beliefs to solicit allegedly tax deductible contributions for blatantly political purposes, which is against the law.
Brent R. Slater