Wednesday, February 27, 2008

is the irs targetting obama's church?

Last June, Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama gave a speech about faith at the annual United Church of Christ gathering in Hartford. The UCC says Obama had been invited the previous year before announcing his presidential race, because of his involvement in the UCC. The UCC had done its homework, and there was no overt politicking - no Obama leaflets were handed out, or anything like that. There were some Obama volunteers present, but they stayed outside.

Sounds OK, I'd say. But now the Internal Revenue Service is investigating the UCC because of that speech. The IRS sent a letter that says "reasonable belief exists" that the event "violated restrictions on political activity for tax-exempt organizations."

Apparently, the IRS letter pointed to web sites (including the church's) that reported on the event, claiming that the Obama volunteers were "outside the (Hartford Civic) center to promote his campaign."

Smells like that Republican specialty, another selective investigation to me. Another church with a liberal bent was investigated by the IRS in 2005 for allegedly being too political.

Yet somehow, the IRS seems slow to investigate churches whose ministers tell their congregations that God would want them to vote Republican.

The message? Churches are free to get involved in politics - as long as they support the Right party, the Republicans. Otherwise, they are partisan and the IRS will harass them and their tax-exempt status.

Another mark of a deeply corrupt political party.

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