Canadian IRS Strips Church of Charitable Status Because of Political Advocacy Activites

Sunday, January 24, 2010


The Kings Glory Fellowship Association, a non-denominational Protestant group in Calgary was told by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that based on spending too much of its time advocating on social issues like abortion and marriage, they could no longer issue charitable receipts.

Could this be how the IRS responds to the more than 70,000 written complaints against the Mormon Church over its political activities on such issues as Proposition 8, the  antigay marriage ballot measure that successfully repealed marriage equality in California?

The Calgary church lost its charitable status in part because it spent more than 10% of its time on “non-partisan political activities and therefore strayed into activities “outside its stated purpose.”

“We note the members of the Board of Directors espouse strong negative views about sensitive and controversial issues, which may also be viewed as political, such as abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc.”

In the United States, the IRS expressly restricts political activity by churches who receive tax exemptions, but the laws are largely ignored or enforced. Along with all the other civil rights the LGBT community is denied, we’re expected to pay for our own public lynching too. According to the Mormon Church, they have raised a staggering $6,727,964.43 to support California’s Proposition 8.

Back in 1978, the IRS was asked to look into the tax exemption of the Mormon Church based on church beliefs that Blacks were inherently inferior and not suited to hold leadership roles. A revelation suddenly bolted from Salt Lake City claiming God determined that Black people were not longer inferior and the IRS inquiry quickly went away.

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19 Responses to Canadian IRS Strips Church of Charitable Status Because of Political Advocacy Activites

  1. DMason says:

    I have said before and I will say again. America is drowning under the weight if billions and billions in debt. Within Bush’s first 6 months in office, the surplus Clinton left behind was gone and we were back to borrowing and spending. Organized religion has an obligation to pay taxes on profits and capital gains on the sale of commercial buildings just like any other identity. What the Mormons did with Prop 8 in California is criminal and they must pay taxes.

  2. HalfGay says:

    I thought someone the government was looking into the Mormon Church again due to the Prop 8 funding? Did that get swept under the rug??

  3. Icvillages says:

    In light of prop 8 in California, the representation without taxation in Alaska (Anchorage Assembly Chair allowing neighboring conservative Bible Belt Mat-Su residents to be bussed in to testify against an anti-descrimination ordinance) and the multi-million dollar military contractor Trijicon Jesus Scopes revealed, it’s time we teabag the fundies the way they teabag and bully the rest of America. Go Canada, way to show cajones!

  4. Estacada says:

    If the Mormons don’t want gay marriage then they shouldn’t have one.

    But, they have no business denying committed gay and lesbian couples the same union Donny Osmond and his wife enjoys.

  5. Rachel says:

    The Mormons have cost the state of Utah important tourism dollars and pressure has been brought on the Sundance Film Festival to relocate. Little wonder Salt Lake City recently passed a non-discrimination ordinance adding “sexual orientation.” Like David said, the LDS church should pay corporate capital gains everytime they sell a building in New York City or Chicago. The US Treasury is empty. It’s high time these wealthy churches contributed to the operation of the US.

  6. Conejo1982 says:

    With the exception of the depravity of slaughtering baby harp seals for their coats, our neighbors to the north are usually several steps ahead of the USA.

    This ruling is proof of that statement.

  7. In the past, the IRS tried to do this. They fought for years–over 13 I believe–to deny the “Church” of Scientology (i.e., the Mormon church minus 100 years history) tax-exempt status. The IRS was undercut by politicians due to pressure from “legitimate churches” that were afraid that if the IRS won, then it might be emboldened to look at the activities of the “legitimate churches.” The IRS tried to do the right thing, the politicians (and I believe it was a republican congress at the time) fucked them and us over.

  8. Rock says:

    I’d love to see this happen but it’s not likely to. Those politicians with the “R” behind their name will see that it never happens.

  9. Adirondacky says:

    The real power in the U.S. is centered in corporate America and organized religion. Not the Congress and certainly not the Executive Branch. It’s scary to think who really runs this country.

  10. LarryG says:

    I think they should all have to pay taxes, look at the wealth of the pastors who have built the mega churches, and might I remind you of the PTL scandal….the air conditioned dog house……..Jimmy
    Swaggart and his paying the hookers………Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, their groups who are courting our elected officials……..

  11. Fran says:

    Apparently, they only go after churches with the “wrong” agenda (meaning not the “right” (wing) agenda.

    Hell maybe the supreme court will take on the case & call it free speech too.

    Hate & buying votes are now “in” .

    So how many fundie & bible thumpers talking politics have been stripped of their charitable status as a result???

  12. Jonny says:

    And yet, Focus on the Family has received preliminary approval for a pro-family (i.e. anti abortion, anti gay marriage) 30 second ad for the the Superbowl (http://bit.ly/7v4Dbz). FotF is admittedly not a church, but I have to wonder how they raised the $2.5 – 2.8 million to air such an ad. If their funding comes in any way from churches, those churches should lose their tax-exempt charitable status. Should….but won’t.

    And of course, then there is the hypocrisy that the networks (CBS, specifically) have turned down “buy nothing day” ads during the Superbowl by Adbusters because they are clearly advocacy ads, but apparently promoting conservative views of “family” is not.

  13. libhomo says:

    The IRS tends to go after small or politically unpopular churches. By law, they should have revoked the tax exempt statuses of the Mormons, the Roman Catholics, and the Southern Baptists, to give a few examples.

  14. Mets Fan says:

    I remember a few years ago when the Mormons sold a skyscraper on East 43rd St. near Times Square. It has 1.5 million square feet of commercial space. What I don’t recall is the selling price.

    In any case, an organized religion, the LDS Church was able to sell the tower, pocket the profit and not pay a dime in capital gains taxes. Not. A. Dime.

    Whether you believe in the baby Jesus, or Buddha, or Allah or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, in the 21st century, when the U.S. is suffering massive budget deficits, it seems immoral to me to give these groups a tax free ride, forcing the American people to subsidize their activities.

  15. shematwater says:

    I have to say that a lot of people are idiots.

    First, the church itself did nothing, except to encourage the members to do something. The members acted on their own. There was no church orginaizing (accept maybe at the ward level) and thus no violation of Federal law or regulations.

    The real problem is that people don’t like others sticking up for their own beliefs. “It is all fine and good to believe something, but if it isn’t what I believe keep it out of the puplic arena.” Then, when someone actually does stand up to them they try to get the government to supress them through bullying tactics.

    Just thought I would attempt to beat a little sense into people who apparently don’t have any, but I will not be back.

  16. Abby Peripatetic says:

    Shematwater,

    I disagree. I think people should always, always be free to believe whatever they choose to believe.

    However, I run into problems when an organized religion is subsidized by citizens to push their beliefs.

    No one gives me a tax break to put political signs on my front yard in an election or comment on blogs.

    Churches should be no different.

  17. Eric Ross says:

    Help undo the hateful legislation that the Mormon church helped get into the California constitution. Go to http://www.RestoreEquality2010.com to learn about the efforts to repeal Prop 8.

  18. Rob says:

    Sorry, shemawater. When a highly homophobic church donates over $25k in their name to push through bigoted legislation then it IS a problem in my book.

  19. Prairiedog says:

    I’m not familiar with Canada, vis a vis, the political activity of a church but here in the USA, the rule know as 501.3.c is quite clear.

    The problem with laws is, they’re meaningless if not enforced.

    What we’ve seen over the years is an IRS cornered and afraid of taking on a church but fearless when it comes to prosecuting a single mother who made a mistake and took an earned income credit on her taxes amounting to $350.

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