After national backlash, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has reversed its decision to deny a Texas faith-based organization, Christian Engaged, federal tax-exempt status.
In May, IRS Exempt Organizations Director Stephen A. Martin rejected Christian Engaged’s application to become tax-exempt, saying the group’s “Bible teachings” on abortion, marriage and other issues were primarily affiliated with the Republican Party, and therefore disqualified the organization from receiving nonprofit status.
Prominent Christian leaders, like Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, spoke out about the decision, calling it “unconstitutional.”
Religious freedom law firm First Liberty Institute represented Christians Engaged in its appeal, and on July 7, announced that the IRS had done an about-face and had granted the organization tax-exempt status.
“This is truly great news for our client, as well as religious organizations and churches across America,” said Lea Patterson, counsel for First Liberty Institute. “We are grateful the IRS changed course to bring its decision into line with the Constitution and its own regulations.”
Christians Engaged President Bunni Pounds said, “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.”
HD Editor’s Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?
As the above article states, this ministry “Christian Engaged,” was initially denied their tax-exempt status because of their Biblical stance on morality issues relevant within politics today and shared by the republican party.
What happens when politics is no longer politics but instead becomes a spiritual battle, good vs. evil, Biblical vs. godless? The results of our elections have the power to move our countries further from the true and living God and promote an agenda of progressing rebellion against Him. As followers of Jesus Christ, it is critically important that we vote and vote Biblically. Keeping in mind what Scripture says on key points such as:
- Abortion (Ex. 20:13, Ps. 139:13-16, 106:38-39, 2 Tim. 3:3, Jer. 1:5)
- Same sex marriage (Gen. 2:24, Lev. 18:22, Rom. 1:22-32, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, Jude 1:7)
- Parental rights and protection of innocence (Mat. 18:6, Prov. 22:6)
- Critical Race Theory (Mat. 24:7, Gen. 1:27, Acts 17:26, Rom 10:12)
- Israel (Gen. 12:3, Zech. 12:3, Num. 24:9)
- Climate change (Rom. 1:20-25, Isaiah 46:10, Gen. 9:11-17)
- Religious Freedom, etc.
Though all of these points are Biblical issues, in our present-day, they have unfortunately become politically dividing as well. It does not negate the responsibility for Christians, ministries, and pastors to provide others with a Biblical understanding of these issues.
Although the IRS reversed course, and hopefully the backlash has somewhat dissuaded them from similar discrimination in the future, many Christians have long believed that their tax-exempt status, in our increasingly hostile culture, will soon be a thing of the past.
Back in 2014, Politico wrote an article condemning the IRS for not denying more US Christian ministries their 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. They claimed that ministries such as that of Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, have become too political to qualify.
In response, Pastor Hibbs told Politico, “I know my days are numbered. As long as I’m Biblical, I’m cool with that.”
We are living in perilous times in which the body of Christ worldwide is going to be relentlessly persecuted, including by governments (2 Timothy 3:1, 8-13) that despise the truth and Biblical morality.
Should the response from the body of Christ not collectively be the same as that of Pastor Jack, placing Biblical truth ahead of all else?
In a recent interview with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Franklin Graham explained that “we’re all going to get attacked no matter what we do if we stand for God’s Word. If we stand for truth, we will be attacked. We’ve got to have thick skin.”
“You talk about pray, vote, and stand, and this is the time for the church to stand… It’s time for the pastors to preach it from the pulpits,” Graham said. “The worst thing that could happen is for the Lord Jesus Christ to come back and find us sitting on our hands and keeping our mouths shut. When He comes back, I hope he finds us fighting and standing for truth.”