The fight to prevent free speech continues. The fact that it’s conducted by lefties makes me smile. I saw a video by the American News Project about the Mormon Church’s involvement in the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign. Their own website states:
“The American News Project is dedicated to defending and promoting the public interest through high-quality, investigative video journalism.”
We’ll revisit the “high-quality” standard later.
First, here’s the video.
It’s always nice to see an unbiased, balanced piece of journalism. Unfortunately, this is not one of those. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a piece of something…
Anyway, let’s talk about tax exempt status requirements of 501(c)3 organizations, shall we? I’ll quoting from this document at the IRS website.
As you can see there are 5 tests an organization must pass to gain tax-exempt status. Only two are at question here. They are:
- no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation
- the organization may not intervene in political campaigns
The video says the Church violated these two requirements. They even got an attorney and a non-profit beaurocrat to agree that the Church probably violated the first one.
Which only serves to highlight these people’s willingness to say anything to get on camera.
Time Magazine in 1997 estimated that the Church had assets worth about $30 billion. Even if they had donated all $50 million or so spent on Yes on 8, it would have amounted to .17% of it’s total assets, (or .0017). And tha’ts 1997 assets, not 2008. Hardly substantive by a financial measure.
Well, let’s look at the Church’s activities. The Church has over 13 million members in 70+ countries, I believe. It has more members outside the US than inside. Per the Humanitarian Services 2007 Fact Sheet, over 647,000 days of labor were donated to Church welfare facilities. Read the fact sheet for even more stats. Again, the campaign for Prop 8 was a drop in the bucket.
So, they pass the substantial part and the expenditures test (read the IRS document).
What about the intervening requirement?
The IRS says:
“[Churches] are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”
No problem there.
But what really galls me is Mr. Lynn’s quote at the end of the tape:
“But I do think it’s absolutely fair that they disclose with some clarity, how much they spend and on what they spend it.”
“We’ve gotta know the bottom line. Who gave the money, for what purpose, how was it spent? It’s only fair, it’s only reasonable. Churches do not, in my judgment, have any special right to act in the dark.”
Trust me when I say we’re already on the slippery slope and it’s only a matter of time before all political donations become public knowledge.
Lefties, I know that making sure everybody on Earth has seen at least one pornographic movie and making sure everybody who doesn’t feel like working gets a handout takes time. I understand that. But, couldn’t you take a couple of minutes out of each day to just read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Couldn’t you just try to understand the very principles our nation was founded on? Again, it’s inconvenient, but makes you look much smarter.
Maybe that’s why you misapply the term “separation of church and state”, but that’s a topic for another time.