Carson Proposes Eliminating Tax-Deductible Donations for Churches and Charities (VIDEO)

Ben Carson appeared on the fifth episode of EWTN News’ “Candidate Conversations 2016” last Sunday. He strongly endorsed the First Amendment Defense Act, which is great news for voters concerned about protecting religious liberty.

But then he did something else, too. And honestly, I’m not quite sure what to make of it. You can view the whole exchange below:

After endorsing the First Amendment Defense Act and talking about the importance of religion, Carson went on to discuss his tax plan:

Well, you know, I have a good idea I believe, and that is a tax plan where you have a flat tax and no deductions and no exemptions, and therefore, churches won’t have to worry about tax deductions because there won’t be any…

Wait, what?

…But people will have a lot more money in their pockets and they will be, I believe, much more charitable under those circumstances. People have to remember that, before 1913 when we put the federal income tax in place, churches in this country were thriving. Charitable institutions in this country were thriving. I believe they will continue to thrive if we get rid of the tax exemptions and I think they will once again become those powerful voices of conscience which are so essential. If we let those voices be extinguished because of the systems we have put in place, it is going to be an everlasting tragedy, not only for this country but for the world.

Umm…

That sure sounds like a plan to eliminate the tax-exempt status for churches and charities, forcing these non-profit organizations to pay corporate taxes on good will donations, effectively ending their charitable operations as we know it. Continue Reading

Left Goes Berserk as Cruz Urges Pastors to Preach Against Planned Parenthood

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Ted Cruz has been rallying pastors to get involved in the fight to defund Planned Parenthood, and he’s asking them to preach about the issue from the pulpit on Sunday.

Here’s an excerpt from a suggested sermon Cruz sent out to the pastors:

Recent videos exposing the gruesome practice of Planned Parenthood’s harvesting of the organs of babies from their mother’s womb… There must be a point in which the accumulative error of an evil decision thrust upon the nation by secularist jurists stops… pray for your Congressman and Senators to hear from God regarding the ending of the slaughter of the innocent. Let them know that you are praying for them, and you are expecting them to do the right thing. You will no longer tolerate any excuse then they have the chance to vote to end government sponsored support of the murder and dismemberment of babies in this session of Congress. God hates it. You can stop it. For God’s sake, make it happen.

The Left is freaking out because this is a potential violation of the IRS’s rule that any church which “contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation” or “advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation” risks losing its tax-exempt status.

Cruz’s attitude? Screw the IRS, do it anyway.

The IRS’s rule is a blatantly unconstitutional attempt to silence churches, and a lot of the time it works. Continue Reading

Will Dems Take Away Your School’s Nonprofit Status?

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) (photo credit: iprimages via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack just asked major Democrats in the Senate whether or not they thought religious schools who require their employees to affirm the school’s faith tenets on marriage should have their tax status revoked.

Their reactions were not reassuring:

Sen. Richard Durbin told him they would be looking at a variety of laws to implement the Court’s ruling, but as to religious schools’ right to hire teachers who affirm their faith? “I don’t have a quick answer for you. I’ll have to think hard and long about that.”

Bernie Sanders said probably not: “I don’t know that I would go there.”

Maryland’s Sen. Ben Cardin was at least open to the idea: “Employment is subject to protections. I’m not sure how it applies to Christian-run schools.”

Only Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who is gay and proud, said immediately, “That is wrong and shouldn’t occur.”  Kudos to her.

But who will ask Hillary what she thinks?  Will any of them vote for legislation like the First Amendment Defense Act, which protects government employees from being fired for their marriage views and preserves the tax-exempt status of schools and charities?

UPDATE: Rick Santorum just tweeted this:

UPDATE: Thanks Erick Erickson for the Tweet!

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action. Continue Reading

Next Up: IRS Intimidation

Internal Revenue Service building, Washington, D.C. (photo credit: Ray Tsang via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

With a new Supreme Court decision that just institutionalized same-sex marriage nationwide, a lot of religious schools are wondering how far the government will go in pressuring religious schools to accept the new status quo. The New York Times reported on these concerns last week just before the ruling came down:

Conservative religious schools all over the country forbid same-sex relationships, from dating to couples’ living in married-student housing, and they fear they will soon be forced to make a wrenching choice. If the Supreme Court this month finds a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, the schools say they will have to abandon their policies that prohibit gay relationships or eventually risk losing their tax-exempt status.

…In a recent letter to congressional leaders, officials from more than 70 schools, including Catholic high schools and evangelical colleges, said that a Supreme Court ruling approving same-sex marriage would put at risk all schools “adhering to traditional religious and moral values.”

Perhaps more concerning than the concerns of religious institution leaders is the fact that the Obama administration has failed to rule such treatment out, as evidenced in the hearings on the latest marriage case:

“In the Bob Jones case,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said, referring to the 1983 Supreme Court decision, “the court held that a college was not entitled to tax-exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?”

Solicitor General Donald B.

Continue Reading