An IRS official denied tax-exempt status to a Texas group that encourages church members to pray for state and national leaders, regardless of their party affiliation, because it benefits “the private interests of the [Republican] Party.”
“You do not qualify as an organization described in IRS Section 501(c)(3). You engage in prohibited political campaign intervention,” wrote Stephen A. Martin, director of the IRS Office of Exempt Organizations Rulings and Agreements, in a May 18 letter (pdf) to Christians Engaged, the Garland, Texas-based prayer group recognized by Texas officials as tax-exempt.
“You are also not operated exclusively for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of Section 501 (c)(3), because you operate for a substantial non-exempt private purpose and for the private interests of the D party.”
The “D party” is a reference to the Republican Party, according to a novel “legend” that Martin provided at the top of his letter to the Texas group.
Martin’s letter was made public on June 16 by the First Liberty Institute, a Plano, Texas-based public interest law firm that specializes in religious freedom litigation.
Martin also noted that the group’s activities “educate believers on national issues that are central to their belief in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God.
“Specifically, you educate Christians on what the Bible says in areas where they can be instrumental, including the areas of sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, biblical justice, freedom of speech, defense, and borders and immigration, U.S. and Israel relations,” he wrote. Read more…