Church Speech by Obama Gets IRS Scrutiny

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Internal Revenue Service is investigating the tax-exempt status of the United Church of Christ for allowing presidential candidate Barack Obama to speak at a denomination conference last June. Obama is a member of the UCC through his Chicago church.

Church officials say the speech was not political and they took steps to avoid any appearance of political activity inside the event.

But in its letter to the denomination, the IRS expressed concerns about articles posted on the church's website and contended that Obama volunteers were promoting his campaign outside the event. Federal law prohibits tax-exempt organizations from engaging in political campaigns.

In recent years, the IRS has conducted several investigations into the political activities of religious groups.

Listen to it all from NPR.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsUS Presidential Election 2008

Posted February 28, 2008 at 7:54 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. robroy wrote:

I think that am with Susan Russell on this one. The IRS deciding what is religion and what is politics is scary.

February 28, 9:19 pm | [comment link]
2. Br. Michael wrote:

Susan is an opportunist.  However, Churches should be tax immune!  Period!  By their nature Churches impact politics.  LBJ’s attempts to silence Churches through the tax code should be repealed or otherwise nullified.

February 28, 9:39 pm | [comment link]
3. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

It’s about time that the Liberals get the same scrutiny that they gave Conservatives for years.  There was all this bru-ha about Conservative candidates being supported by Churches yet at the exact same time, nothing was being said about all the Liberals appearing in Churches.  I did a photomontage last election cycle on another blog just to shut up the Liberal whining.  It showed all the Liberal candidates, sometimes individually and sometimes in groups, as they stumped from various pulpits around the nation.  In the Liberal worldview, only Conservative Churches were crossing the line.

Again, HUZZAH for equal treatment!

February 28, 9:42 pm | [comment link]
4. libraryjim wrote:

Agreed, S&T;!  Everytime a conservative/Republican candidate even goes to church they are ‘investigated’.  But Democrats routinely speak from the pulpit of African-American churches and get a pass.  Not to mention, liberal full ‘reverends’ like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are free to speak out on and endorse ‘their’ candidates without harm, but let a conservative priest or minister do the same, and it’s investigation time!

Let’s see how they like it now. grin

February 28, 10:21 pm | [comment link]
5. MarkP wrote:

S&ToN;said, “There was all this bru-ha about Conservative candidates being supported by Churches .... “

No doubt you’re right—huzzah for equal treatment. So remind me, which conservative churches were formally investigated by the IRS?

February 28, 10:26 pm | [comment link]
7. physician without health wrote:

I am an Obama supporter.  Having said that, I do not think that it is a good idea for churches to have active candidates appear at their worship services, synods, etc as speakers.

February 28, 11:13 pm | [comment link]
8. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

BTW, I want to apologize for characterizing liberals monolithically.  I know that isn’t accurate.

February 28, 11:26 pm | [comment link]
9. Br. Michael wrote:

7, It may not be a good idea, but I submit that it is none of the governments business.

February 29, 8:53 am | [comment link]
10. Drew wrote:

It was very clearly a political event.  See for the photos.

February 29, 9:55 am | [comment link]
11. Marty the Baptist wrote:

Ever read the bulletin from Obama’s church?

It’s chock full of democrat politics.

February 29, 11:15 am | [comment link]
12. Irenaeus wrote:

The orcs are out in force.

February 29, 1:35 pm | [comment link]
13. Wilfred wrote:

What I would like to know is, if they scrutinized his speech, did they find anything of substance in it?

February 29, 2:37 pm | [comment link]
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