In an ongoing investigation of 2004 partisan politicking by churches and other tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, the Internal Revenue Service said that it found violations in 59 of 82 cases as of last month.
The pastor of a North Carolina Baptist church has resigned after controversy over allegations that he told members to “repent or resign” if they intended to vote for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in the last election.
A watchdog group that advocates church-state separation has asked the IRS to investigate a Miami church that hosted a Democratic rally in late August. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the rally seemed to violate federal tax law concerning participation in political campaigns by tax-exempt houses of worship.
Jerry Falwell is misleading churches into thinking they can endorse political candidates, two Washington-based watchdog groups warned in complaints to federal agencies. One critic noted that a Falwell associate declared that the IRS lacks the bite to prosecute churches that step over the line.
A laundry list of duties sent to conservative Christian volunteers by the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign is causing alarm among evangelical leaders who are concerned that the use of congregations as political organizing bases will endanger churches’ tax-exempt status.