Protecting Churches from IRS Bullying

There is a growing assault on the Judeo Christian values which serve as the foundation of our Western civilization and the basis of all our laws. These core principles have been a vital part of making America the greatest nation on Earth. Equally essential to our success has been the genius of our Constitution, and its protection for ministers, rabbis and other religious leaders to lead their congregations in every kind of public debate, including political, without fear of retribution from the government.

To help preserve the freedom of America’s religious leaders, I have passed legislation in the House Appropriations Committee that protects churches, synagogues and other established places of worship from intimidation by the federal government – specifically the IRS.

In the past, lower-level IRS employees could take it upon themselves to threaten the tax exempt status of churches without any oversight or scrutiny. My amendment will protect the First Amendment rights of churches and religious leaders by ensuring only the IRS Commissioner can revoke their organization’s tax exempt status.

My amendment will make the IRS think very carefully before going after a church or religious organization because the Commissioner will have to notify Congress, the committees of jurisdiction and the public before he or she can take action. And they cannot delegate the authority to anyone else. Only the Commissioner can revoke the tax exempt status of a religious organization. Sunshine is always a very healthy disinfectant!

I will continue to do everything I can to protect the core values that make America great and that live at the heart of Western civilization. One of the best places to start is by protecting the freedom of speech, thought, and association of our religious leaders and their congregations.

My favorite Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, often said the 'law has no jurisdiction over the mind of man.' The First Amendment protects all of us from government censorship, and it is especially important that we protect the First Amendment rights of churches from intimidation by the IRS, the City of Houston, or any other level of government.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve you and Texas in the United States Congress in defense of the core principles that made America great.

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