In addition to singling out conservative political groups, the Internal Revenue Service may have been targeting religious groups as well. Liberty Institute is taking action to find out if we’re next.
Liberty Institute is making a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the IRS to find out if Liberty’s name is among the increasing number of conservative and religious organizations being unfairly targeted.
Earlier this week, Fox News published that Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritan’s Purse and The Biblical Recorder are claiming they were wrongly targeted by the IRS.
According to Fox News, Franklin Graham, president of his father’s foundation and Samaritan’s Purse, sent a letter to President Obama Tuesday questioning the motives behind the audit.
“I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the Administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us,” Graham wrote. “This is morally wrong and unethical – indeed some would call it ‘un-American.’”
Graham also told Fox that both of his organizations were notified of the audits on the same day, and it happened shortly after the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ran ads in local papers in support of the North Carolina marriage amendment.
The Biblical Recorder, the news journal for North Carolina Baptists, experienced a similar situation, being audited in March for the first time since its founding in 1833. That paper received attention after publishing an interview with Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy in which he spoke of his support for traditional marriage. The paper also published the North Carolina marriage amendment ads by Billy Graham’s association.
Biblical Recorder Editor Allan Blume told Fox News that, “putting it all together made me wonder.”
“There seems to be a very anti-Christian bias that has flowed into a lot of government agencies – oppression literally against Christian organizations and groups,” he told the news outlet. “It makes you wonder what’s going on.”
Under an administration that has proven to be more hostile toward religious freedom than any other in history – it is hard to believe the recent IRS developments are simply a coincidence.
Let’s take a look at some recent examples of the federal government’s complete disregard for your constitutional rights.
- Military: Multiple instances of religious hostility throughout the armed forces, including reports that DOD officials consulted with members of The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, including President Mikey Weinstein, to discuss regulations on proselytizing. Additionally, it was reported that an Army training presentation listed “Evangelical Christianity” and “Catholicism” as examples of religious extremism, and a U.S. Army officer sent an email to dozens of subordinates listing the American Family Association and Family Research Council as “domestic hate groups,” warning officers to “monitor soldiers who might be supporters of the groups.”
- The HHS Mandate: A massive intrusion into the personal healthcare decisions of U.S. citizens that blatantly infringes upon American’s religious freedom by forcing employers to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs against their faith.
- The VA Case: A pastor was informed he could not pray “in Jesus’ name” at a Memorial Day service at the Houston National Cemetery. Upon investigation, Liberty Institute uncovered multiple First Amendment violations by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, including prohibiting volunteers with the National Memorial Ladies from saying “God bless you” to families; prohibiting family members from having the burial ritual with references to God they desired; and closing the cemetery chapel and using it as a storage facility.
- Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial: In July 2012, Liberty Institute and Congressmen Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) discovered that the ACLU was seeking to engage in secret settlement discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice over the fate of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross without the participation of our client – a key player in the case – the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association. While their plan backfired, and a judge granted intervention to our client, this case still continues.
- Hosanna-Tabor Case: During this case regarding a teacher that was fired from a private Christian school, the U.S. Justice Department openly argued in court that the “ministerial exception” – which legally protects the rights of ministries to select religious leaders without government interference – does not exist and that the government may regulate churches’ and ministries’ selection of their leaders.
Liberty Institute will not back down. Our mission is to defend and restore religious liberty in America pursuant to the Founding Father’s intent. The Obama Administration must honor our First Amendment rights and Liberty Institute is here to ensure they do.
For more than 15 years Liberty has met the challenge from radical groups like the ACLU, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and Americans United for Separation of Church and State – and we haven’t lost yet. But, while we work tirelessly to keep that record, our enemies are becoming emboldened and more aggressive and, now, even federal government is now targeting religious groups with political harassment.
Your faithful prayers and financial support are vital to our success. Please continue to pray for our cases and for our attorneys as they fight to protect our First Freedom. Also, continue to give generously so that we may have the resources to meet every one of these attacks head on.
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About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.