Friday, November 17, 2006

USCC Invited to Condemn Pro-Abort Politicians

Well, it's about time that someone tells IRS to go stuff it:

A religious liberties attorney Thursday issued an open challenge to the Internal Revenue Service, daring the tax agency to take church leaders to court for violating restrictions against religious involvement in political campaigns.

Kevin Hasson, founder and chairman of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, reissued a two-year-old offer to church leaders -- the organization would defend them against the IRS for free if they are charged with violating laws that prohibit non-profit, tax-exempt organizations from advocating for or against political candidates.

The USCC's legal counsel has told Catholic churches not to speak up about specific candidates (the abortion issue is pre-eminent) for fear of IRS' involvement. The USCC's position has disturbed some Catholics, to say the least.

USCC's political inclinations are well-known: the organization has often been called 'the Democrat Party at prayer.' This inclination extends back at least to the FDR era, when USCC was known as the National Catholic Welfare Conference.

But only in the last 30 years has the abortion question been on the table--and during that period, USCC's management and staffing has largely been influenced by (now-deceased) Jos. Cardinal Bernardin and his disciples.

Hasson said he believes the restrictions imposed on non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c) 3 organizations should not apply to churches because of the First Amendment freedom of religion.

He said restrictions on church involvement in political campaigning - instituted in 1954 by then Speaker of the House Lyndon Johnson - were never meant to prohibit "political preaching," but instead were only meant to prevent churches from intervening in political campaigns.

As one might expect, the Left reacted:

Elliot Mincberg, vice president and legal director of the liberal People for the American Way, disputed Hasson's argument, saying churches should be treated the same as other non-profit groups in the name of "fundamental fairness and equality."

It's possible that the USCC will 'grow a spine' in the next couple of years. A major re-org of the institution is underway and the Leftward tilt of member-Bishops has noticeably changed.

So--bring it on!!

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