Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The tax question - The Smoky Mountain News

“There is an understanding in the church in America that because you are granted a tax-exempt status by the government, then you therefore don’t display a partisan perspective,” said George Freeman, general secretary of the World Methodist Council at Lake Junaluska. “That is something I assume would be understood by all persons of religious authority. If you take a partisan standpoint you are jeopardizing that non-profit status.”

The IRS guidelines make that point all-too-clear. The IRS guidelines state: “religious organizations, must abide by certain rules ... they must not devote a substantial part of their activities to attempting to influence legislation.... they must not participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office ...”

If Chandler made statements supporting President George Bush from the pulpit in October, before the general election — and he did not make it clear he was speaking for himself — it could cause financial problems for the church.


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