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.