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    the restoration of haitian democracy..., 2005-11-15 05:35:47 | Main | concerning bush's defense of his use of intelligence using the words of john kerry..., 2005-11-15 16:34:06

    non-profit tax exemptions and public policy:

    dennis makes an interesting allegation regarding places of worship and their political activities. He states, after noting how much he knows about the matter, that churches "are prohibited, by law, from engaging in any activity that is designed to influence legislation". I suppose merely filing a complaint with the IRS [all those complaints and no investigations?] might have resulted in an investigation into all those Catholic Bishops? Surely that was a more blatant intervention in politics than an anti-war sermon before an election contest between two pro-war candidates.

    I suppose, to paraphrase, that beyond withholding religious services from political candidates that fail a paricular litmus test that:

    attacking women's freedom to obtain an abortion; advocating that special priviledges be reserved for heterosexuals or certain rights not extended to homosexuals; to advocate that the U.S. Army round up and execute area Wiccans with napalm; to promote the spanking children; to promote the death penalty; to oppose physician assisted suicide; to contribute small amounts of money and resources to the fight for changes in legislation.

    Are also worthy examples of violations of "substantial part of the activities...[being the] carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation".

    No?:

    The "substantial part" test was enacted by Congress in 1934. The IRS has stated that an organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if the organization (1) contacts or urges the public to contact members of the legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation; or (2) advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation.

    Tax-exempt groups including churches devoted to issuing propaganda regarding public policy, if not engaged in (much) lobbying for legislation, are not considered to be in violation of the "substantial part" bit. Without mentioning the 501(h) section of the tax law the public ends up massively subsidizing its own indoctrination by babbling preachers and brainless think tank pundits.

    If they really wanted to help educate the adult population they'd be offering evening courses in literacy and statistics so people could comprehend the newspaper. I of course have a fair minded solution to offer: All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena ought to have its tax exempt status revoked, as should all other tax exempt entities that - in whole or in part - endorse positions concerning public policy and politics.

    Either make it pay to play for them like it is for us, or allow non-voters to claim tax exempt status like them.


:: posted by buermann @ 2005-11-15 14:33:10 CST | link





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