Several members of Congress recently took a stand for religious liberty – and won. After significant backlash, the Internal Revenue Service overturned a previous ruling that denied tax-exempt status to a Christian nonprofit organization.

U.S. Reps. Doug Lamborn and Lauren Boebert, R-CO, joined Rep. Chip Roy, R-TX, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, and other lawmakers in sending a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig regarding the actions taken against Christians Engaged.

Politicizing Biblical Values

According to Lamborn’s office, “the IRS denied a request for tax-exempt status from the Texas-based group Christians Engaged, stating that the ‘Bible’s teachings are typically affiliated with the Republican Party and candidates.’”

CBN News reported:

Christians Engaged incorporated in July 2019 as a Texas nonprofit corporation “exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, or scientific purposes.” From its religious perspective, the organization provides nonpartisan religious and civic education, focusing on encouraging and educating Christians to be engaged citizens as a part of their religious practice. Christians Engaged applied for tax-exempt status in late 2019.

The organization received a denial letter earlier this year from IRS Exempt Organizations Director Stephen A. Martin, stating, “Specifically, you educate Christians on what the Bible says in areas where they can be instrumental including the areas of the sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, biblical justice, freedom of speech, defense, and borders and immigration, U.S. and Israel relations. The Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the [Republican] party and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under IRC Section 501(c)(3).”

Response from Members of Congress

The legislators “questioned the flawed and discriminatory reasoning used by the IRS and warned that the decision could set a dangerous precedent for taxing churches.”

From the congressional letter:

Among the issues that the IRS determined to be “associated with political party platforms” were “the sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, and biblical justice.” These issues have always been at the core of Christian belief and classifying them as inherently political is patently absurd. If the IRS applied this interpretation broadly, it would jeopardize the tax-exempt status of thousands of Christian churches across the country.

First Liberty Institute, a religious rights law firm, sent an appeal letter to the IRS on behalf of Christians Engaged. Martin later granted the application for 501(c)(3) status.

“This is truly great news for our client, as well as religious organizations and churches across America,” said Lea Patterson, First Liberty counsel. “We are grateful the IRS changed course to bring its decision into line with the Constitution and its own regulations.”

Learn More

Join U.S. Reps. Doug Lamborn and Lauren Boebert at the Truth & Liberty Coalition Conference, Sept. 10-11, in Woodland Park, CO. Register today!

Visit our Research Center for great practical resources, including links to resources and legal manuals for Christian organizations. Also, learn how you can become a Truth & Liberty Coalition member and join us in standing for truth in the public square.