Irs Should Investigate Texas Church That Gave Donations To Gop, Says Americans United

Church-State Watchdog Group Files IRS Complaint Against Calvary Temple Church In Kerrville

A nondenominational church in Texas that has donated $1,500 to the local Republican Party should be investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

In a July 19 letter to IRS officials, Americans United asked the federal tax agency to examine the activities of Calvary Temple Church in Kerrville. Records held by the Texas Ethics Commission show that the congregation donated $1,000 to the Kerr County Republican Party on May 12, 2005, and $250 in 2003 and 2004.

Federal tax law bars houses of worship and other 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations from intervening in partisan politics.

“This appears to be a blatant violation of federal law,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “I urge the IRS to act.

“When church-goers place their hard-earned money in the collection plate, they do not expect it to wind up in the hands of politicians,” Lynn added. “That’s an abuse of the people’s trust and a flouting of the law.”

Lynn noted that the Internal Revenue Code is plain. Houses of worship are free to speak out on public issues, but they may not use church funds or other resources to support partisan work. He pointed out that IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson has recently promised that the agency will crack down on non-profits that violate the no-electioneering rule.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.