Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and his congressional colleagues hail the recent reversal of IRS policy as a victory for religious freedom.
WASHINGTON, DC – After a sharp rebuke from Utah Senator Mike Lee and his fellow congressmen, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) overturned a controversial decision that threatened religious freedom.
This criticism took the form of a June 25 letter to IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig, who accused his agency of letting political bias influence its decision-making. This letter was signed by Lee and 14 other members of Congress.
âI am happy to see that after receiving our letter, the IRS backtracked on what would have been a dangerous and discriminatory decision,â Lee said after being briefed on the IRS grant. âReligious groups must be free to teach their beliefs without fear of retaliation from the government. “
At the center of the controversy was a nonprofit organization called Christians Engaged which was incorporated in Texas in 2019. The group claims to “awaken, motivate, educate and empower ordinary believers in Jesus Christ … enrollment campaigns and various educational activities.
While Christians Engaged declared himself non-partisan, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Stephen Martin ruled in May that the organization does not qualify for tax-exempt status because its “… “
Martin also alleged that members of Christians Engaged were participating in a “prohibited political campaign intervention” because their views on “the sanctity of life, the definition of marriage and biblical justice” were often “associated with the platforms. political parties â.
Members of Congress responded by criticizing Martin’s decision that core Christian beliefs were inherently political as “patently absurd.”
“If the IRS were to apply this interpretation widely,” they replied, “it would jeopardize the tax-exempt status of thousands of Christian churches across the country.”
Their June 25 letter also pointed out that President Joe Biden had relied heavily on the support of many church leaders, mainly in the South, during the 2020 presidential campaign.
The June 25 letter to Rittig called on the IRS director to personally reconsider the tax-exempt status of hired Christians and to discipline IRS staff members involved in the previous “flawed and politically motivated” decision.
“Religious prejudices should never be tolerated, especially on the part of our federal institutions,” according to Utah Representative Burgess Owens (R-4e District), who was among the signatories of the June 25 letter. “I am happy to see that this biased determination has been reviewed and corrected.”
In addition to Lee and Owens, members of Congress who signed the June 25 letter to Rittig included Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) as well as Representatives Chip Roy (R-TX) , Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Louis Gohmert (R-TX), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Dan Bishop (R-NC), Yvette Herrell (R-NM), Ted Budd (R -NC), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and Bob Good (R-VA).