The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is facing backlash for its recent decision against a Christian nonprofit organization, denying it tax-exempt status because it considers the Bible to be too closely linked to the Republican Party, Breitbart reports.
The group in question, Christians Engaged, describes its primary purpose as being “to awaken, motivate, and empower ordinary believers in Jesus Christ.” The organization encourages its followers to “pray for our nation and our elected officials regularly, vote in every election to impact our culture, and engage our hearts in some forms of political education or activism for the furtherance of our nation.”
Christians Engaged first applied to become a 501(c)(3) in 2019, but was rejected last month. The rejection letter from the IRS was signed by Exempt Organizations Director Stephen Martin, who explained his reasoning as the following: “Specifically, you [Christians Engaged] educate Christians on what the Bible says in areas where they can be instrumental…The Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the Republican Party and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under IRC Section 501(c)(3).”
The nonprofit is being represented in their appeal to the IRS by the First Liberty Institute, which sent an appeal to the IRS on June 16th. The appeal declares that “from its religious perspective, Christians Engaged provides nonpartisan religious and civic education, focusing on encouraging and educating Christians to be civically engaged as a part of their religious practice.” First Liberty Institute also pointed out that the IRS had previously granted tax-exempt status to other, similar nonprofits that have left-wing leanings, including Michelle Obama’s nonprofit, Civic Nation. This, the appeal claims, is further proof of “the IRS’s impermissible viewpoint discrimination.”
The appeal is currently still limited to the IRS’s internal review process, which could take several more months. If that appeal is denied, then Christians Engaged and First Liberty Institute will most likely file a lawsuit that would take the case to the federal courts.