December 10, 1998
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.
In the formal complaints filed with the IRS today, Americans United noted that federal tax law does not allow non-profit organizations, including churches, to distribute partisan campaign material. The IRS Code forbids churches and other non-profit groups to “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
Individual complaints document instances of voter guide distribution in conjunction with a Republican candidate speaking from the pulpit, a Republican party official distributing Coalition voter guides in a church and church ushers distributing guides to churchgoers. (See attached sheet for more details.)
“These houses of worship are breaking federal tax law and penalties must be imposed,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “Partisan politics is not the business of America’s churches.”
The eight churches reported today are: Bayside Christian Fellowship, Green Bay, Wisc.; Calvary Chapel, Santa Ana, Calif.; Crossroads Cathedral, Oklahoma City; First Assembly of God, Worcester, Mass.; Lighthouse Baptist Church, St. Maries, Idaho; MetroChurch, Edmond Okla.; Sonrise Church, Hillsboro, Oregon and Wheaton Evangelical Free Church, Wheaton, Ill.
Lynn noted that the Christian Coalition has repeatedly demonstrated its partisanship. Last September, the group sent out a nationwide fund-raising letter seeking money to pay for its guides. The letter stated that distribution of the guides would help prevent the “nightmare” of Dick Gephardt, Barney Frank, Ted Kennedy and other Democrats regaining control of Congress.
“The Coalition is brazenly crowing about how it plans to use its guides to defeat Democrats,” Lynn said. “This fundraising letter is the smoking gun linking the guides to an orchestrated, illegal, pro-Republican campaign effort.”
TV preacher Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition and chairman of its board of directors, has indicated that his goal is control of the Republican Party and eventually both chambers of Congress and the White House. To meet this goal, Robertson has announced plans to draft 100,000 churches into the group’s political activities. At a closed-door speech in Atlanta in September of 1997, Robertson said the Coalition should emulate Tammany Hall, one of the most notorious political machines in American history.
Lynn noted that the IRS takes the issue of church politicking seriously. In 1995 the federal tax agency pulled the tax-exempt status of the Church at Pierce Creek, a Vestal, N.Y., congregation that in October of 1992 ran full-page ads in two newspapers asserting that voting for Bill Clinton was a sin. The church was reported to the IRS by Americans United.
Last September, Americans United launched an aggressive clergy education campaign, including distribution of 80,000 memos, warning that past Christian Coalition voter guides had all the earmarks of partisan activity, including selective inclusion of issues and unjustified summaries of candidate positions. In addition, the guides were released days before the election to give candidates who believed they had been unfairly portrayed little time to respond.
Eight Churches Reported By Americans United To The Internal Revenue Service For Partisan Politicking
On Nov. 10, Americans United reported eight churches to the Internal Revenue Service for distributing Christian Coalition voter guides. They are:
(c) 1998 Rational Recovery Systems, Inc.
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One month after he filed a complaint against Twelve-Stepping Judge Bolton of the Phoenix Drug Court, AA fugitive Brad Ballah was arrested by agents who entered his home using a key obtained from his landlord. Abstinent for a year, Ballah refuses to participate in the Drug Court’s user-friendly Twelve-Step program.
Ballah filed a complaint to the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct, which was posted on the Internet. It accused the judge on his case of conflict of interest due to her affiliation with Alcoholics Anonymous. Absconding from Drug Court programs is commonplace, the most usual reason being drug-related, the usual outcome is reinstatement into the Drug Court program. Incarceration for failure to attend Drug Court sessions, when there is no evidence of drug use, however, is unheard of.
Federal Court Plaintiff Bill Yates, who has accused the New Hampshire Dept. of Corrections of violating his civil rights by requiring Twelve-Step participation as a condition of release, was inexplicably transferred during the week of November 9, 1998, from Stafford County Jail to a maximum security facility where he was placed in solitary confinementl. He had been paroled from Concord State Prison do begin a federal sentence, with the agreement that he would use Rational Recovery as his means to abstain from the use of alcohol and other drugs. Yates was detained in solitary once before, immediately after he filed his pro se lawsuit. During his confinement, his legal files were confiscated and some were not returned. Yates had called this office [Rational Recovery Systems (530) 621-4374] early in November, stating he feared state authorities would attempt to once again sabotage his legal prosecution by “losing” (confiscating) his legal papers during his impending transfer to a federal facility.
If you have followed the writings of Garry Goff in JRR, you will recall that then the Bureaucratic Beast tells him he must attend AA, he says, “I will go.” And he goes, on the road again, to wherever his heart desires. Inevitably, he is caught and returned to jail, in a never-ending contest between the State of Ohio and a man who will not abandon his right to refuse government-sponsored religion. Last month, he was paroled and sent to a halfway house where they once again attempted to indoctrinate him by invading his conscience, but this time with the REBT secular humanism of Albert Ellis. When they told him he must go to recovery group meetings, he said he would go, and he did. He went AWOL, and is on the road again.