The IRS is changing its mind and granting tax-exempt status to a Christian group after initially rejecting the request and claiming that the bible’s teachings are typically “associated with the Republican Party or its candidates.” The IRS first denied the Texas-based nonprofit Christian Engaged request, but later First Liberty Institute stepped in to represent the group and file the successful appeal.
According to The Daily Wire:
Christians Engaged’s mission statement articulates three goals: “to awaken, motivate, and empower ordinary believers in Jesus Christ to: pray for our nation regularly, vote in every election to impact our culture, [and] engage our hearts in some form of political education or activism for the furtherance of our nation.” To accomplish the first, Christians Engaged provides a weekly Bible study, sends out weekly prayer alerts, and organizes statewide and area prayer gatherings. …
Second, Christians Engaged educates the public on the importance of voting in every election and provides tools to enable them to do so. … Christians Engaged invites individuals to pledge to pray regularly for the nation, vote in every election, and “commit to some form of political education or activism for the furtherance of our nation.” It also follows up with election reminders, but it does not produce voter guides or otherwise suggest that recipients should vote for or against any particular candidate or candidates.
On May 18, 2021, Exempt Organizations Director Stephen A. Martin denied the application, contending that Christians Engaged “engage[s] in prohibited political campaign intervention” and “operate[s] for a substantial non-exempt private purpose and for the private interests of the D [Republican] party.” This conclusion pointed specifically to Christians Engaged’s education of “believers on national issues that are central to their belief in the Bible as the inerrant M [Word of God]” : namely, “the sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, biblical justice, freedom of speech, defense, and [sic] borders and immigration, [and] U.S. and Israel relations.”
Because Director Martin believes that “bible [sic] teachings are typically affiliated with the D [Republican] party and candidates,” the Proposed Determination Letter found that “[t]his disqualifies [Christians Engaged] from exemption under IRC Section 501(c)(3).”
Multiple Republican lawmakers, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, slammed the IRS for its initial rejection and celebrated the reversal.