“A bit of advice that would be quite interesting to every church in America.”
IRS religious persecution of a Christian organization caught on tape.
(ADF Media Relations) –In March 2012, Ania Joseph received a call from IRS Exempt Organization Specialist Sherry Wan, who told her that Pro-Life Revolution cannot “force” its religion or beliefs on anyone else. Wan inaccurately told Joseph that the organization must remain neutral on positions such as abortion in order to qualify for a tax exemption. The IRS has approved applications for tax exemption for pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood and Life and Liberty for Women.
Full audio: adfmedia.org/files/ProLifeRevolutionIRScall.wav
Full transcript: adfmedia.org/files/ProLifeRevolutionCallTranscriptIRS.pdf
The IRS has call centers in China, who knew?
Agent (:44 – 1:17) – Yeah, you have the religious freedom; the freedom of speech. And other people also have the civil rights; human rights. You cannot, you know, use your religious belief to tell other people you don’t have a belief, so I don’t believe you need the right to do this, start confrontation, protesting, uh, prot, uh, protest. [unintelligible] You don’t apply for tax exemption.
Crosstalk (1:17 – 1:18)
Agent (1:18 – 1:38) – Nobody will go after you as long as you don’t violate the law. But when you come to apply for tax exemption, you have to keep your action to, you know, exactly what is
educational or religious, you know you [unintelligible].
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IRS caught on tape: Keep faith to yourself
Non-profit group waited for tax-exempt approval for almost 2-1/2 years
Monday, June 10, 2013
WASHINGTON — Alliance Defending Freedom made public Monday audio of a phone conversation that the Internal Revenue Service placed to a non-profit organization that provides support to women in abusive pregnancy situations. In the recorded phone conversation, an IRS agent lectures the president of the organization about forcing its religion and beliefs on others and inaccurately explains that the group must remain neutral on issues such as abortion.
Alliance Defending Freedom represents the group, which did not receive its tax-exempt status until last week, nearly two and a half years after applying for it.
“The IRS is a tax collector; it shouldn’t be allowed to be the speech and belief police,” said Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “The current scandal isn’t new but has merely exposed the abuse of power that characterizes this agency and threatens our fundamental freedoms.”
The IRS grants tax exemptions to religious, educational, and/or charitable organizations. In January 2011, Pro-Life Revolution, which operates from Texas under all three purposes, filed an application for tax-exempt status with the IRS.
Four months later, the IRS sent a letter requesting “more information” and an explanation of how the organization’s activities are educational or charitable even though IRS rules specify that an organization need only operate for “one or more” of the three exempt purposes. President of Pro-Life Revolution Ania Joseph nonetheless replied and answered the IRS’s questions.
In March 2012, Joseph received a call from IRS Exempt Organization Specialist Sherry Wan, who told her that, in order to obtain a tax exemption, “You cannot force your religion or force your beliefs on somebody else…. You have to know your boundaries. You have to know your limits. You have to respect other people’s beliefs.” The IRS has approved applications for tax exemption for pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood and Life and Liberty for Women.
In February of this year, the IRS requested additional information in another letter and attempted to apply a standard for tax exemption to Pro-Life Revolution that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held to be unconstitutional in 1980. Alliance Defending Freedom pointed this out in a letter responding to the IRS, which finally granted tax-exempt status to the organization in a letter received Thursday.
“The power to tax is the power to destroy,” added Stanley. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We cannot allow the IRS to ruthlessly dictate against legitimate non-profits simply because it does not approve of the organization’s mission. It must be held accountable.”
Photo: Ania Joseph, president of Pro-Life Revolution
Phone call between Ania Joseph and IRS agent Sherry Wan: Full audio (10:13) | Audio clips with words graphically displayed on screen | Full transcript
Pronunciation guide: Ania (AHN’-yuh), Wan (WAHN’)