There's some funny business (and not the 'haha' kind) going on between the IRS and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an organization of “freethinkers (atheists, agnostics)” who are “committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church.”
According to the FFRF the “federal lawsuit was related to illegal campaign intervention by churches and sought enforcement of restrictions applicable to churches that prevent nonprofits from supporting or opposing political candidates.”
And it's not just the national level that the FFRF is fighting — it is also doing things like calling out a small parish for including these same value statements on homosexuality, abortion and religious freedom rights in an election season letter.
But on July 29, the FFRF withdrew their case stating:
“It is satisfied that the IRS does not have a policy at this time of non-enforcement specific to churches and religious institutions.”
The IRS presented a letter to the Justice Department on July 27 that stated 99 churches “merit high priority for examination” and was included with the move to dismiss the case by the FFRF.
Although disputed by the FFRF, the National Review claims the IRS also held private talks with the FFRF to assure them that the monitoring of churches will definitely happen.
Justice Department attorney, J. Christian Adams, explains on Fox News:
“They want them to convert theology to political. They want them to convert them to politics and say, ”hey that's not theology that's political and you shouldn't be talking like that.“ And they want to use the IRS as a weapon against christianity, against faith.”
Does the FFRF have a point - Are churches too involved in politics? Or is the IRS simply looking for another way to target organizations it doesn't agree with?
Editor's Note: This post was edited to reflect a clearer representation of the facts concerning the FFRF's part in the IRS's decision to more closely monitor church organizations.