After the group applied for tax-exempt status in 2019, the IRS denied their request and issued a bizarre letter asserting that “Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the [Republican] party and candidates.”
Following intense backlash, the IRS has reversed course in short order and granted Christians Engaged the tax-exempt status it had been seeking for two years.
“This is truly great news for our client, as well as religious organizations and churches across America,” Lea Patterson, Counsel for First Liberty Institute, said in a statement following the news. “We are grateful the IRS changed course to bring its decision into line with the Constitution and its own regulations.”
The IRS’ initial denial prompted 15 members of the House and Senate to write a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, including Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Senators Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas along with a dozen others.
Their letter noted that the IRS’ denial letter cited Christians Engaged’s promotion of “the sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, and biblical justice” as problematic.
“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,” the representatives noted.
Following the IRS’ reversal, Rep. Roy said that while he was “encouraged” by the new decision, those responsible still need to be held to account.
“I proudly led a letter, co-signed by 14 members of the House and Senate, calling out the blatantly biased, discriminatory, and flawed reasoning used in the IRS’s initial denial of Christians Engaged’s nonprofit application,” Rep. Roy said. “While I welcome this reversal, the IRS staff responsible for the initial determination still must be held to account and should be terminated.”
Christians Engaged President Bunni Pounds said regarding the reversal, “I am incredibly thankful to the IRS for doing the right thing, and we look forward to continuing our mission of educating more followers of Jesus to pray for our nation and to be civically engaged. When we stand up, our republic works for all Americans.”
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