Rep. Chip Roy leads effort calling out IRS’s religious discrimination

June 25, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON—On Friday, Rep. Chip Roy (TX-21) led a letter, joined by several members of the House and Senate, to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig regarding the IRS’s recent flawed and discriminatory denial of the tax-exempt status of Christians Engaged, a Texas nonprofit.

 

“The recent determination on Christians Engaged’s tax-exempt status further exposed the corruption and liberal bias running rampant at the IRS. This discriminatory action against a Christian nonprofit is an overt attack on religious liberty by a tyrannical federal government. Moreover, this decision comes at a time when members of both parties are trying to increase the ability of the IRS to harass individual Americans, businesses, and organizations. Commissioner Rettig must review this decision and hold accountable the IRS staff involved, and rather than expand the IRS's power, as the new infrastructure deal proposes, we should abolish it,” said Congressman Chip Roy.

 

“Religious institutions should not be punished for their fundamental Judeo-Christian values. I am deeply concerned that the IRS is once again being weaponized against everyday Americans. Their latest attempt to remove tax-exempt status from Christians Engaged sends a chilling warning that Americans’ First Amendment rights are under siege. We cannot allow any political bias at the IRS,” said Congressman Doug Lamborn.

 

“Marriage and the sanctity of life are foundational religious doctrines for millions of Americans. Pilgrims crossed oceans so that pastors, preachers, and priests could teach and encourage their congregants to live in accordance with their beliefs.  The IRS should know better than to impugn preaching as politics," said Senator Mike Lee. 

 

Full text of the letter is available below and at the link here

 

Charles P. Rettig

Commissioner

Internal Revenue Service

1111 Constitution Ave. NW

Washington, DC 20224

 

Dear Commissioner Rettig,

 

We write today to express extreme concern regarding a recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determination on the tax-exempt status of Christians Engaged, a nonprofit organization located in Texas. We urge you to personally review this determination, and remove the individual, or individuals, responsible for the blatantly biased, discriminatory, and flawed reasoning that led to the determination.

 

Incorporated in Texas in 2019, Christians Engaged is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is “…to awaken, motivate, educate, and empower ordinary believers in Jesus Christ to: PRAY for our nation and elected officials regularly, VOTE in every election to impact our culture, and ENGAGE our hearts in some form of political education or activism for the furtherance of our nation.” The organization advances its mission through weekly prayer time, church engagement, voter registration drives, and various educational activities.

 

On May 18, 2021, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Stephen Martin sent a letter stating that Christians Engaged does not qualify for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status because it is “engaged in prohibited political campaign intervention.” Specifically, Mr. Martin alleges that Christians Engaged’s “...bible teachings are typically affiliated with the [Republican] party and candidates.” Among the issues that the IRS determined to be “associated with political party platforms” were “the sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, and biblical justice.” These issues have always been at the core of Christian belief and classifying them as inherently political is patently absurd. If the IRS applied this interpretation broadly, it would jeopardize the tax-exempt status of thousands of Christian churches across the country.

 

Mr. Martin also takes offense to Christians Engaged’s teachings regarding “freedom of speech, defense, … borders and immigration, [and] U.S. and Israel relations.” Millions of Americans draw deeply from their religious beliefs to inform how they vote and many religious organizations conduct get out the vote efforts. In fact, President Biden himself campaigned alongside church leaders during the 2020 presidential race.[1]

 

Additionally, Mr. Martin alleges that Christians Engaged “had references to candidates that aligned with the Christian/biblical value system and had created voter guides that reflected the candidates [sic] values,” a claim which the organization has denied in its appeal. We ask that the IRS substantiate this claim and its determination that any such documents are in violation of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The IRS must objectively analyze applications for tax-exempt status and cannot allow political biases to creep into its decisions. We urge you to immediately review Christians Engaged’s application for 501(c)(3) status personally, and terminate the IRS staff involved in the flawed and politically motivated reasoning behind the determination.

 

Sincerely,

 

Chip Roy

Member of Congress

 

Michael S. Lee

United States Senator

 

Ted Cruz

United States Senator

 

Marco Rubio

United States Senator

 

Jeff Duncan

Member of Congress

 

Doug Lambourn

Member of Congress

 

Louie Gohmert

Member of Congress

 

Dan Bishop

Member of Congress

 

Burgess Owens

Member of Congress

 

Yvette Herrell

Member of Congress

 

Daniel Webster

Member of Congress

 

Ted Budd

Member of Congress

 

Andy Biggs

Member of Congress

 

Bob Good

Member of Congress

 

Lauren Boebert

Member of Congress

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