What the IRS should have done was to tell some atheists to “take a hike”. Unfortunately instead of having some intestinal fortitude, the same tax division that is under scrutiny for targeting religious and conservative groups is now taking aim at some churches the atheists say are breaking the law.
As a result of the Freedom From Religion Foundation filing a lawsuit against the IRS for its failure to enforce restrictions against political advocacy from the church pulpits, in an effort to placate the atheist group the IRS is going to do a “high priority examination” to about 99 churches being accused of “illegal electioneering”.
It is unknown who gave or how the information came about on those “99 churches” that will received closer inspection by the IRS, perhaps the Freedom From Religion Foundation backed up their complaint with evidence for their accusations. Whether the IRS already had these “99 churches” under closer scrutiny or not, or whether the FFRF had members infiltrate the churches, this represents a new low for both the FFRF and IRS.
Having self-appointed thought police from the FFRF is further proof that religious freedom is eroding. The IRS as a non-partisan agency of the United States government either made a secret deal with the FFRF so that the FFRF would drop its lawsuit, an action Religious Freedom experts as Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) suspects, or the IRS reached out to the FFRF with a promise to probe those “99 churches”.
Either possibility still opens a more chilling factor of the IRS using its influence to intimidate or threaten religious institutions.
One would expect that if the religious organizations did the same thing with some of its adversaries, there would be screaming from those under additional surveillance from the IRS that the government was showing favoritism to one religion by listening and acting, a clear violation of the First Amendment forbidding the government from favoring one religion.http://www.redstate.com/diary/matthewclark/2014/08/06/irs-agrees-target-monitor-churches-angry-atheists-demanded/
According to the United States Supreme Court, atheism is classified as a religion, so action by the IRS would clearly demonstrate favoritism towards the atheist theology. The FFRF having any influence with the IRS is the unconstitutional issue.
In an article by the National Review Online, writer Quin Hillyer revealed that the IRS sent a letter referencing the lawsuit of the FFRF declaring that it would put those “99 churches” with a “higher priority examination” and would “actively monitor” churches.
Hillyer warned in the article, “lovers of liberty should be concerned”.
This additional reach of the IRS’ authority to “actively monitor” churches is an indication that the culture of animosity against religious organizations within the IRS is corrupting the decision making process that should be blind to religious affiliations. The IRS response to the FFRF shows preference to the ideology of the atheists and worse the IRS is showing ill will towards those churches as a result.
The First Amendment clearly protects the aspect of “freedom of religion”, a concept being twisted by the FFRF whose very name is a bastardization of what the US Constitution actually protects. The atheists are free to believe as they wish as the FFRF, but when that deception is extended outward to an agency as the IRS and the IRS listens and reacts…..then the United States has a severe problem.
This unholy alliance of the FFRF and the IRS is a much bigger problem than what the FFRF is complaining about. Who reached out to whom is irrelevant, however if the IRS put the “actively monitor” churches on the table regardless of whose idea it was, then the IRS is guilty of several more ominous issues.
The IRS is complicit by motive of doing the dirty work of the atheists. So much for “freethought”.