Americans United for Separation of Church and State announced today that it has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate eight churches around the country for intervening in partisan politics by distributing Christian Coalition voter guides two days before last month's election.
The Supreme Court's decision not to review Wisconsin's school voucher program is disappointing but sets no nationwide precedent, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
"Sooner or later," said Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn, "the Supreme Court will have to deal with the issue of vouchers. The justices took a pass today, but they cannot dodge the issue forever.
"This action by the court means only that Milwaukee's program may proceed," Lynn continued. "It does not amount to a high court blessing of tax aid to religious schools."
American voters have soundly rejected the Religious Right's drive to dominate yesterday's elections, according to a survey of key races by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
"The Christian Coalition and other Religious Right groups poured millions of dollars into the election, but they have embarrassingly little to show for it from last night," said Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn. "Simply put, narrow moralizing by the Coalition doesn't resonate with moderate voters."
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the New Psalmist Baptist Church after the church hosted what appeared to be a Democratic Party rally during Sunday services.
Several news media reports, including stories in The Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun, explain that President Bill Clinton's speech at the Nov. 1 services represented a plea to boost Democratic voter turnout and an implicit endorsement of Maryland Governor Parris Glendening (D).
Churches that distribute the Christian Coalition's biased "voter guides" this Sunday will be reported to the Internal Revenue Service, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has announced.
"The vast majority of churches play by the rules," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "Those who refuse to do so should expect a visit from the IRS."
TV preacher Pat Robertson today unleashed a vicious attack against Americans United for Separation of Church and State for opposing church participation in the Christian Coalition's voter guide program.
Robertson, who founded the Coalition and serves as its chairman, aimed his fire at a letter Americans United Executive Director Barry Lynn sent to pastors nationwide about the legality of the voter guides. Lynn, an attorney and United Church of Christ minister, told clergy that distribution of the biased Coalition guides could result in revocation of a church's tax-exempt status.
Religious groups that intervene in partisan political campaigns are risking their tax-exempt status, according to a national church-state watchdog group.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the United Baptist Missionary Convention, a Baltimore church group that promised to aid the reelection effort of Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) in return for taxpayer funding of various church-sponsored projects.
A Delaware County, Pa., judge ruled yesterday that the Southeast Delco School Board cannot create its own voucher plan. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, one of the groups that sponsored the lawsuit against the voucher program, applauded the decision as a victory for church-state separation, individual freedom and common sense.
Churches can lose their federal tax exemption if they distribute partisan voter guides, according to an "urgent memorandum" prepared by two of the nation's leading nonprofit tax law authorities.
In the memo and a supporting legal analysis released this week, Washington, D.C., attorneys Milton Cerny and Albert G. Lauber Jr. explain that churches and other religious ministries face serious penalties if found to be engaging in partisan political activity by the Internal Revenue Service.
A federal district court decision barring voucher-style aid to religious schools protects taxpayers and constitutional principles, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.