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Peoria bishop’s political rhetoric results in challenge to church’s tax-exempt status

 

Yesterday, I reported HERE on a tirade in which Daniel Jenky (above), bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, likened President Obama to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, the two worst mass murderers of the 20th century.

And now we have THIS:

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, meanwhile, filed a formal complaint asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the diocese, suggesting Jenky may have crossed a line that put the church’s tax-exempt status in jeopardy.

The group noted that in addition to the comments about Hitler and Obama, Jenky went on to tell those gathered Sunday that, “This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries – only excepting our church buildings – could easily be shut down.”

“No rational person could believe the bishop was doing anything but saying vote against Obama,” said the group’s executive director, Barry Lynn.

Federal law prohibits churches and other tax-exempt nonprofits from endorsing or opposing specific political candidates, but churches are allowed to engage in a wide range of political activities and the IRS rarely revokes a church’s tax-exempt status.

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16 Comments

  1. dogrescuer

    How wealthy this country would be if only religious organizations had to pay taxes like everyone else. With their billions of dollars in valuable land holdings alone, I believe it’s past time to think seriously about this.

  2. How poor this country would be if the religious organizations that pay no taxes had never provided billions of dollars of social support and charity care to it’s citizens.

  3. The Catholic church through the efforts of their lobby is awarded millions of dollars each year in federal and state grants to support social services.

  4. Yes, and they provide human resources, facilities and billions of dollars a year in charitable service.

    http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/page.aspx?pid=1408

  5. Over 65 percent of their revenue is from government funding. They do good works but should start paying the IRS as well.

  6. 65% of what revenue, funding what ?

    Reference please?

  7. shawnnews

    In some of the atheist sites I’ve visited, the tax the church theme is popular. However, it’s only merit would be if the churches weren’t following the rules of not-for-profit organizations. To say that churches are sitting on millions of dollars that could enrich the country is misleading: a church is like any other business — some make money, some don’t.

  8. ajhindalou

    Simply, the good bishop has reminded of some suggested reading. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen comes to mind.

  9. dogrescuer

    Yes, and one of the “rules” for churches to keep their tax-exempt status is not to politicalize. What do you think Jenky was doing?

  10. shawnnews

    Again, I’m not for taxation of churches for the sake of taxing churches — I am for the taxation of ANY not fot profit organization that violates the not-for-profit rules. As a result, the bishop has set his organization up for a fair investigation.

  11. Catholic Charities is supported by a number revenue sources such as individual fees, contributions, United Way and grants. In recent years government grants have represented as much as 65 percent of their total funding. Information was obtained from CC (2009) and National Catholic Register (2011).

  12. Catholic Charities is far from the only charitable outreach of the Catholic Church.

  13. Gweneth Johnson

    The Catholic Church is losing its relevance. For all of you who are stating they do so much in good works, balance that with the abuse of children, the subjugation of women and the perpetuation of homophobia, and they don’t come out so well. Not to mention how they blaspheme the teachings of Jesus. Let them be replaced with another provider who doesn’t want to force their voodoo on the rest of us!

  14. A church with 1.2 billion members is not irrelevant. In fact the Church is growing in relevance in the rest of the world.

  15. Reality

    Has anyone else noticed that political parties that say that the Catholic Church has become irrelevant have, themselves, become irrelevant? Is this just a coincidence, or is something else at work here? The U.S. Conference of Bishops opposed the “Affordable” Care Act from the outset, realizing what “Affordable” really meant. According to recent public opinion polls, the opinion of the Bishops mirrors the opinion of the public.

  16. The moral standing of the Catholic Church has been losing relevance for years, since the exposure of the institutional acceptance of molesting children. Moral relativism is alive and well with so many Catholics, it’s laughable. “Oh, sure, our priests molested thousands of children and our leaders covered it up. But, that’s OK, because we provide a lot of charity care.” Tell that to the kids whose lives were destroyed by priests. . .

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