01 December 2008

As you sow, so shall you reap

I ran across http://lds501c3.wordpress.com/ which is a site intended to mobilize a grassroots effort to ask the IRS to revoke the LDS Church's 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status for their substantial involvement in Prop 8, as a violation of the tax law that prohibits: 
"Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, [or] charitable...purposes...no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation..., any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."
The American Family Association (AFA) is also a 501(c)(3) organization, so they are likewise tax-exempt. While they claim a primary morality-in-media mission, in practice their primary focus is the religiously motivated opposition to gay-equality legislation and gay-allied politicians, and dismantlement of existing gay-equality legislation.  
The AFA produced a "Voter Guide" during the 2008 presidential primary that listed the positions of the 5 major candidates regarding 9 issues. Of the 9 issues discussed, 4 issues directly addressed gay rights. Not one issue addressed morality-in-the-media, the AFA's purported mission.
In fact, the AFA produced not a single voter guide, but has devoted pages to political action advancing candidates and legislation, and even has a "Capital Hill Alert" on its front page. It seems that violates not only the provision above, but also this one:
"A [501(c)(3)] organization must be operated to further one or more of the exempt purposes stated in its organizing document. Certain other activities are prohibited or restricted, including, but not limited to, the following activities. A 501(c)(3) organization must: (a.) Absolutely refrain from participating in the political campaigns of candidates for local, state, or federal office."  
Yes, many churches and religious organizations particularly overstepped their purposes to become legislative lobbying organizations with regards to support of Prop 8 and its ilk. However, due to the AFA's ongoing masquerade as a tax-exempt religious organization that contrary to law CONSTANTLY engages in politicking at a national and local level, I think their organization merits inclusion into any grassroots effort to revoke tax-exempt status to substantially political organizations.
I note with bitter amusement that certain religious people, who had no problem with the AFA's boycotts of gay-friendly businesses, suddenly find outrage that gay allies are organizing boycotts of businesses that engage in religiously motivate politicking. Likewise, those who have manipulated the political process to subordinate their neighbors are reacting with surprise that the sword has two edges.
Where did I read, "as you sow, so shall you reap"?

0 chimed in: