If you run out and call yourself a “church” or a “ministry”, throw in a title like, oh…let’s say “Dr.”, then grab your most recent version of the NIV (New International Version) bible…and PRESTO! You can now funnel money from corporations, businesses, donors and congregational members without ANY oversight or reporting on where those monies go.
But that isn’t the scary part. Because as badly as I feel for these Sheeples being fleeced for every dime they have in their desperate efforts to buy eternal life…they have a right to impoverish themselves on the word of their snake oil salesmen, oh sorry…”men of god”.
We have politics not only being preached from the pulpit, but dictated from the clergy. How many of you heard that across the country - Sheeples were told that if they voted for Obama they would go to hell, or that you would be letting Satan in? This was not an isolated pulpit rant. It was viral.
No. THIS is what we REALLY need to be concerned about! That because the IRS wrote the standard for churches in a way that is completely 180 degrees from the way it SHOULD be…we have breeding grounds masquerading as places of worship. Part of this came about after the Scientologists strong-armed the IRS in 1993, through underhanded methods, into reversing previous decisions that gave them tax exempt status.
Though the dominionists have total disregard for Scientology, they owe them a big one! read this…
New York Times, 9 March 1997
On Oct. 8, 1993, 10,000 cheering Scientologists thronged the Los Angeles Sports Arena to celebrate the most important milestone in the church’s recent history: victory in its all-out war against the Internal Revenue Service.
For 25 years, I.R.S. agents had branded Scientology a commercial enterprise and refused to give it the tax exemption granted to churches. The refusals had been upheld in every court. But that night the crowd learned of an astonishing turnaround. The I.R.S. had granted tax exemptions to every Scientology entity in the United States.
”The war is over,” David Miscavige, the church’s leader, declared to tumultuous applause.
…”The decision to negotiate with the church came after Fred T. Goldberg Jr., the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service at the time, had an unusual meeting with Miscavige in 1991. Scientology’s own version of what occurred offers a remarkable account of how the church leader walked into IRS headquarters without an appointment and got in to see Goldberg, the nation’s top tax official. Miscavige offered to call a halt to Scientology’s suits against the IRS in exchange for tax exemptions.
It was a very surprising decision,” said Lawrence B. Gibbs, the IRS commissioner from 1986 to 1989 and Goldberg’s predecessor. “When you have as much litigation over as much time, with the general uniformity of results that the service had with Scientology, it is surprising to have the ultimate decision be favorable. It was even more surprising that the service made the decision without full disclosure, in light of the prior background.” -NYT
The entire story is an amazing read and should indicate that these same underhanded and illegal tactics can – and are – used today by other questionable non-profit organizations.
That is a much broader discussion for another post, but in the meantime, back to the coveted 501(c)3 non-profit and guidelines for churches…
501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from certain political activity. It is important to understand what political activities are strictly prohibited and what constitute permissible actions.
See the three references listed below for more information:
Examples of prohibited activities:
- Contribution to candidates or campaigns
- Direct endorsement of a candidate
- Indirect activities that would clearly favor one candidate
Examples of permissible activities:
- Voter guides/encourage voting
- “Equal opportunity” speeches
- Lobbying activities are not completely prohibited, but are limited. Test is whether a substantial part of the non-profit’s activities are to influence legislation. Most congregations do not exceed substantial part tests.
I could throw a dart at this list and eliminate tax exempt status for the majority of the evangelical Dominionist churches in America! Where is the IRS? Oh…that’s right, we saw how they adhered to regulation and law under the blackmail of the Scientology purse strings. Political Dominionists have pockets equally as deep, and no shortage of lawyers with integrity, I am certain…(cough, cough).
This all contributes to the ability for these groups to operate under a cloak of secrecy.