UPDATED 5:22 PM PT – Sunday, June 27, 2021
A Texas legal group has said the IRS violated the First Amendment in its decision to deny tax-exempt status to a Christian organization. In a recent appeal to the IRS, the legal group First Liberty Institute argued Christian advocacy group Christians Engaged had been mischaracterized as a political organization.
The non-partisan group seeks to teach Christians how to civically engage using their religious values. Yet, the IRS argued Christian values typically align with the Republican Party, making Christians Engaged a partisan organization.
In an interview, president and CEO of First Liberty, Kelly Shackelford, said if this continues he fears the IRS could use the same tactics to shut down other religious non-profits.
Today, Rep. Roy, along with several members of the House and Senate, sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig regarding the IRS’s recent flawed and discriminatory denial of the tax-exempt status of Christians Engaged.
More here: https://t.co/hYF5gXtKeI pic.twitter.com/S8Zn2P5Nzq
— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) June 25, 2021
GOP lawmakers have also started taking aim at the IRS. In a letter to the agency on Friday, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and 14 other lawmakers called for the removal of the official who decided against granting tax exemptions to the group.
The IRS clapped back, saying the group lacks neutrality in it’s educational actives about the Bible and engaged in activity prohibited for non-profits. However, GOP lawmakers have called the decision “blatantly biased, discriminatory and flawed” and are asking the IRS director to personally review the case.
They additionally fear if this standard is broadly applied, churches across the country may lose tax exemptions.