Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Killing in the Name of ... Part X

IRS tells churches to stay out of abortion politics


The Internal Revenue Service is warning religious leaders in South Dakota that their churches' tax-exempt status could be jeopardized if they campaign against a challenge to a law that bans nearly all abortions in the state, a proposal that could be on the November ballot.

The agency is promising stricter enforcement of rules against religious groups endorsing or intervening in election campaigns.

But just what qualifies as illegal politicking under IRS rules is unclear, and some church officials maintain the restrictions apply to campaigning for individual candidates and not issues. Some say they probably will encourage their congregations to vote to uphold the abortion ban.

"I don't think there's any mystery about what the church's position is on abortion, so I'm certain we will be involved," said Jerry Klein, chancellor of the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese.

Klein said the diocese probably will provide materials that could be distributed in the churches, and priests probably will discuss the issue from the pulpit. He doesn't think that involvement will threaten the tax-exempt status of the church.

This is garbage. I'm no accountant, to be sure, but I wonder about this whole tax exempt status for churches. It sure seems to give the State a club to use over God's church. What would be so bad about telling them to take their tax exempt status and cram it? The church should be supporting itself anyway.