The Internal Revenue Service allegedly told two pro-life to reveal the content of their prayers and prayer meetings, according to the Thomas More Society.
An IRS office in California ordered Christian Voices for Life of Fort Bend County, Texas to explain the content of prayers “as if they were engaging in highly offensive or criminal behavior,” the Thomas More Society charged.
Agents also ordered Coalition for Life of Iowa to provide detailed information about the group’s prayer meetings.
Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) demanded that outgoing IRS commissioner Steven Miller answer questions about the incidents during Friday’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing. “Their question, specifically asked from the IRS to the Coalition for Life of Iowa: ‘Please detail the content of the members of your organization’s prayers.’”
Shock wanted to know if that was an appropriate question for the IRS to ask.
“It pains me to say I can’t speak to that one either,” Miller replied.
The agents also told one of the pro-life groups that they could not picket or protest abortion clinics.
“The IRS was concerned about advocacy,” said Sally Wagenmaker, special counsel to the Thomas More Society. “The (agent) said picketing and protesting is not allowed.”
She said the IRS’s role “should only be to determine whether organizations fit the section 501(c)(3) test for ‘charitable, religious, or educational’ qualification, not to inquire about the content of prayers, protests, and petitions.”
It’s high time that the IRS be called to account for its workers’ potential to trample on our constitutional rights, through such ostensibly innocuous means,” Wagenmaker said – hinting that this may only be the tip of the iceberg of IRS abuses.
An IRS spokesman said they would look into the cases.
Wagenmaker was representing Coalition for Life of Iowa and Christian Voices For Life of Fort Bend County, Texas. Both groups were seeking tax exempt status. Their requests were eventually granted but only after they sought legal help from the Thomas More Society.
In 2009 the Coalition for Life received correspondence from the IRS raising questions about their prayer activity – specifically outside Planned Parenthood clinics.
“You then asked … to have all Coalition Board members sign a statement that the coalition will not ‘picket’ or ‘protest’ outside of Planned Parenthood or similar organizations and will not ‘organize’ others to do so,” Wagenmaker wrote in a letter to an IRS representative known only as “Ms. Richards.”
Wagenmaker said the IRS’s demand was clearly a violation of the pro-life group’s constitutional rights.
“It really concerned me there would seem to be this protection of Planned Parenthood,” Wagenmaker told Fox News. “They had revenues of $55 million and the Coalition is just a group of volunteers.”
The attorney wrote in her letter to the IRS that their demands “come perilously close to violating the First Amendment constitutional rights of the Coalition’s supporters.”
“The IRS’s delay and questioning of the Coalition’s tax-exempt, legitimate activities constitutes unnecessary and prejudicial interference with the Coalition’s legal right to a tax-exempt determination,” she wrote.
Wagenmaker said the IRS’s dogged pursuit of the Coalition was “intimidating” and “heavy-handed.”
In the case of Christian Voices, the IRS implied that the group had to include pro-abortion balance to their programming.
They were directed to explain whether the group’s educational programs educate both sides of the issues.
“Your question implies some sort of legal duty to provide a balanced presentation of educational information,” the attorney wrote.
She said it was incredible to think that the government wanted to require a pro-life group to give equal access to pro-choice groups.
“You can’t push an organization around like that,” she said. “You can’t impose your own out-dated, improper, unconstitutional views.”
Shortly after Wagenmaker began pushing back – the groups got their exemptions approved.
“They just needed someone to stand up for their rights and push back,” she said.
Archive for May, 2013
It is absolutely stunning how quickly the moral foundation of our nation has been eroding away. Sometimes I have to wonder if the prophet Isaiah was being prophetic about our timeframe when he wrote, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
A week ago, two people in the sports world made news. One was a football player who was rejected because of his strong Christian confession and the other was a gay basketball player who was praised for simply declaring his sexual preference.
The football star was Tim Tebow, who has gotten under the skin of the liberal media and other atheist groups, making himself the “poster boy” for Christianity. Tebow accomplished this task by praying on the field after a win, putting Bible verses on his eye black during games, and starring in an anti-abortion ad during the Super Bowl.
I knew when Tebow moved from Colorado to the New York Jets it would end in disaster. The left-coast press did everything they could to attack him. I remember a bunch of Salem witches casting spells on Tim Tebow to ensure he would lose the big game.
The New York Jets couldn’t have hated Tim Tebow more. They dumped him on the first Monday after the NFL draft, knowing that other teams’ rosters would be filled. The chance Tebow will find another job in the league is bleak. Their action would make sense if Tebow had an arrest record or showed up late for meetings or cost the Jets the playoffs with a bad interception. The Jets barely using him in a waste of a season─he appeared in just 77 offensive plays.
What makes the hatred of Tebow all the more hard to understand is how good he has been for the business side of football. The public has had an overwhelmingly positive view of a God-fearing quarterback. In one poll, Tebow was voted the favorite active pro-athlete. He has generated huge ratings. When he played for the Broncos, one game had the highest-rated NFL wildcard game since 1988. Tebow’s famous eighty-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime resulted in a record 9,420 tweets per second. According to Twitter, it was the most frenzied response for any sporting event.
Tim Tebow is being passed around like a bad penny, because the open confession of his Christian faith makes the establishment uncomfortable. They don’t care if he could carry them all the way to the Super Bowl. They reject him because the light in him stings their darkened souls.
The same day Tebow was being sunned, Jason Collins became the first-ever openly gay man in a major American team sport. In a first-person article posted on the Sports Illustrated website, Collins said, “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.” Collins was predictably showered with praise:
The head of the NBA said he was proud of Collins.
Former president Bill Clinton congratulated him.
President Obama called to congratulate him.
First lady Michelle Obama tweeted her support for Collins. “So proud of you, Jason Collins! This is a huge step forward for our country. We’ve got your back!”
There were a few people who chose to rain on Collins’ coming out parade. Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large for Breitbart.com got flack for saying: “So Jason Collins is a hero because he’s gay? Our standard for heroism has dropped quite a bit since Normandy.”
ESPN’s Chris Broussard had pro-gay groups asking for his head when he said homosexuality constitutes “open rebellion to God.” During a Monday episode of “Outside the Lines” he said:
Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle, or an openly premarital sex between heterosexuals … if you’re openly living that kind of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that’s a sin and if you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, [but] adultery, fornication, premarital sex, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian, because I don’t think the Bible would characterize him as a Christian.
There is no doubt in my mind that we have reached the point where sin produces a type illogical insanity. Anyone who thinks someone who has sex with his same gender is preferred over someone who prays on the field needs to be fitted with one of those white jackets that buckles in the back.
If you are someone who realizes how wicked the world is getting, there is still hope for you. Society may be doomed to suffer God’s wrath, but you can escape by seeking the grace that can only come from the blood of Jesus.
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18-19).