The U.S. First Amendment protects every American citizen’s right to express his opinions, teach his religious beliefs, and worship God without interference by the federal government. Under the First Amendment, freedom of religion is a constitutional guarantee.
But Joe Biden’s Internal Revenue Service is having a hard time getting that message.
Recently, in a glaring display of partisan prejudice, IRS Exempt Organizations Director Stephen Martin denied tax-exempt status to the Texas-based nonprofit Christians Engaged. According to the IRS, this nonprofit, which strives to educate Christians in prayer and civic engagement, was participating in “prohibited political campaign intervention” by promoting Biblical values.
After some top-notch legal work by First Liberty and some aggressive advocacy by conservatives in Congress such as Rep. Chip Roy, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Sen. Mike Lee, the IRS has since reversed its decision.
But some bells can’t be unrung, and the partisan politics at play behind closed doors at the IRS can’t be unseen. Christians Engaged knew whom to contact to bring the fight to the IRS. What about the hundreds of smaller Christian nonprofits that might be victims of the same partisanship?
We know this isn’t the first time the IRS has been weaponized by leftists and Democrats to politicize our freedom of speech. Who can forget how Obama’s IRS under Lois Lerner systematically targeted conservative organizations for unfair additional scrutiny?
Of course, Lerner eventually apologized for her agency’s systematic discrimination against conservatives. But words are just words. Years later, it’s clear that Democrats haven’t learned their lesson. We aren’t even a full year into Biden’s administration and the IRS is already returning to the same anti-conservative and discriminatory practices from the Obama era.
The problem is that leftists and Democrats don’t share or even understand the values of the majority of Americans. Religion matters in America, and faith is a part of our culture and a force that shapes and guides the political beliefs of millions of Americans. Faith is not a partisan political weapon; it’s a core part of the American way of life.
This is what leftists don’t get. To far too many on the left, faith is just something Republicans talk about on the campaign trail. In his original letter denying tax-exempt status to Christians Engaged, Martin went so far as to say that “[B]ible teachings are typically affiliated with the [Republican] party and candidates.”
That would certainly be news to the ancient Israelites and apostles who wrote the Bible. But the IRS director’s words don’t only express simple ignorance; they showcase leftists’ willingness to relegate the core religious beliefs of millions of Americans to a partisan niche.
But here’s the thing: the Bible wasn’t written by Republicans or Democrats, and it wasn’t given to us by God to tell us for whom to vote. The Bible is the foundation of the Christian faith, which is for anyone and everyone. The Bible should not be turned into a political punching bag for the left.
Never before in the history of America has professing the Christian faith been understood as a form of partisan political campaigning. It’s obviously excellent news that the IRS has reversed its original determination. But the battle for religious freedom in America is far from over.
Our Constitution was designed to protect us from government tyranny, and the IRS has no right to target and discriminate against Christian nonprofits like this. Our fundamental religious freedom should never be weaponized by partisan politics.