August 25, 2017
This brief article is an informed Christian reply to an articles, IRS Again Pressured To Hammer U.S. Churches, and Trump Relaxes 501(c)(3) Political Activity Rules. Churches who violate the rules that come with Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) status should – subject to challenge presented to their chosen authority, the government court – have their tax exemption revoked. They agreed to the rules when they voluntarily and contrary to First Amendment and Bible principles sought and obtained 501(c) status. President Trump has no power to cancel the rules that come with 501(c)(3). Only the legislature can do so, subject to Presidential agreement and signing of legislation. The issue is one of authority. Christ wants to be the only Head of His churches (See, e.g., Ephesians and Colossians).
This article is written and being disseminated to both sides for the glory of God. I have contacted Freedom From Religion Foundation and encouraged them to go to this article for Biblical, historical, and legal arguments which support their position. It is time that Christians face the consequences for their hypocritical betrayal of our Lord by seeking and gaining legal entity status of any kind (incorporation, 501c3 or 508 status, unincorporated association status, etc.). This is being done in accordance with Bible principles.
I have covered the reasons – Biblical, historical, and legal – for this position in my writings which are available online. The following articles deal with the issue and link to materials which give more in depth analysis of Bible principles, history, and law:
- First Amendment Protection of New Testament Churches/Federal Laws Protecting State Churches (Religious Organizations)(February 2010)
- Will Churches in America Have a Choice about Sodomite Marriage: A short critique of the article “Christian schools will have no choice about gay marriage: Column” as it relates to churches (May 23, 2015)
- 1,000 Pastors who pledge to defy IRS and preach politics from pulpit ahead of election misunderstand the law and the hierarchy of law (October 3, 2102)
A complete listing of articles is on the Articles tab of Separation of Church and State Law website.
For a short book on this, see Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities, or, for more complete analysis, see God Betrayed/The Biblical Principles and the American Application. Both are available online free in both online form (which has the all additions and minor revisions), and PDF, or may be ordered. The second edition of Separation of Church and State is available in PDF only.
Here are some specific writings that explain church 501c3 status:
- The church incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme (Section VI, Chapter 5 of God Betrayed; Chapter 5 of Separation of Church and State)
- Federal government control of churches through 501(c)(3) tax exemption (Section VI, Chapter 4 of God Betrayed; Chapter 4 of Separation of Church and State)
A good law review article on the tax exemption for churches is:
“Prohibition in Search of a Rationale: What the Tax Code Prohibits; Why; to What End?” (Deirdre Dessingue, Prohibition in Search of a Rationale: What the Tax Code Prohibits; Why; To What End?, 42 B.C.L. Rev. 903 (2001), http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol42/iss4/6)(PDF at http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2186&context=bclr)(Abstract: Each Presidential election renews the thorny debate over the appropriate role of churches and other religious organizations in American political life. Although churches are subject to other restraints on political activity, the prohibition on church political activity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code is the harshest in terms of penalties. Faced with the extraordinary scope of the prohibition as interpreted by the IRS, and perceived non-enforcement of egregious violations, churches tend toward one or two extremes: they either ignore the prohibition and endorse candidates or they avoid legitimate involvement with important policy issues.)”