Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and Archbishop Mahony: overstepping IRS regulations over the promotion of politics?

ToeJam13

Senior member
May 18, 2004
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Recently, former presidential candidate Howard Dean commented that an increasing number of tax-exempt religious organizations are breaking tax law by using their churches as political bases.

Although Dean's comments may have been a subtle warning to pro-Republican priests in evangelical circles, his comments hold true to all heads of church in America.

Not directly mentioned by Dean but making headlines regardless has been Roger Michael Cardinal Mahony, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles. Mahony is a prime example of a church leader overstepping the law by using his church as a tax-exempt political platform to rally support for granting amnesty for millions of illegal aliens currently living in the United States.

Last Easter Sunday, Mahony delivered a political speech to his attendees that recommended them to "Go to work. Go to school, [then] join thousands of us at a major rally afterward", referring to a pro-immigration march scheduled for May 1st. He also delivered a speech during Lent that encouraged other acts of civil disobedience.

Furthermore, Mahony in general has also been using his power as Archbishop to spread his pro-immigration message to hundreds of Catholic churches in his parish.

These actions are in clear violation of federal tax law barring the political involvement of churches. Should he continue with these unlawful activities, the obvious recourse would be for the IRS to revoke his church's status as tax-exempt and to collect back taxes during the time of his political involvement.

Hopefully, Mahony will either step down as archbishop or learn to use his podium for its primary purpose: to spread the word of God, not the word of Mahony.
 

shrumpage

Golden Member
Mar 1, 2004
1,304
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read up on the tax law.

Churches are allowed to be involved with issues, they can not endorse a canidate.

Civil rights movement would have been set back many years according to your views.
 

JEDIYoda

Lifer
Jul 13, 2005
33,981
3,318
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Originally posted by: ToeJam13
Recently, former presidential candidate Howard Dean commented that an increasing number of tax-exempt religious organizations are breaking tax law by using their churches as political bases.

Although Dean's comments may have been a subtle warning to pro-Republican priests in evangelical circles, his comments hold true to all heads of church in America.

Not directly mentioned by Dean but making headlines regardless has been Roger Michael Cardinal Mahony, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles. Mahony is a prime example of a church leader overstepping the law by using his church as a tax-exempt political platform to rally support for granting amnesty for millions of illegal aliens currently living in the United States.

Last Easter Sunday, Mahony delivered a political speech to his attendees that recommended them to "Go to work. Go to school, [then] join thousands of us at a major rally afterward", referring to a pro-immigration march scheduled for May 1st. He also delivered a speech during Lent that encouraged other acts of civil disobedience.

Furthermore, Mahony in general has also been using his power as Archbishop to spread his pro-immigration message to hundreds of Catholic churches in his parish.

These actions are in clear violation of federal tax law barring the political involvement of churches. Should he continue with these unlawful activities, the obvious recourse would be for the IRS to revoke his church's status as tax-exempt and to collect back taxes during the time of his political involvement.

Hopefully, Mahony will either step down as archbishop or learn to use his podium for its primary purpose: to spread the word of God, not the word of Mahony.

Just as i thought......somebody who doesn`t know anything about the tax law!!
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
62,855
11,260
136
ALL churches should lose their tax-exempt status. Just another "for-profit" business.
 

Zebo

Elite Member
Jul 29, 2001
39,398
19
81
Originally posted by: shrumpage
read up on the tax law.

Churches are allowed to be involved with issues, they can not endorse a canidate.

Civil rights movement would have been set back many years according to your views.

 

Cerb

Elite Member
Aug 26, 2000
17,484
33
86
Originally posted by: BoomerD
ALL churches should lose their tax-exempt status. Just another "for-profit" business.
Agreed.

I love this bit:
"referring to a pro-immigration march scheduled for May 1st. He also delivered a speech during Lent that encouraged other acts of civil disobedience."

So now, a rally about an important issue, which, unless they get violent, should be a well protected right, and possibly even civic duty, is now being considered civil disobediance?
 

BaliBabyDoc

Lifer
Jan 20, 2001
10,737
0
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Originally posted by: shrumpage
read up on the tax law.

Churches are allowed to be involved with issues, they can not endorse a canidate.

Civil rights movement would have been set back many years according to your views.

Well, I think when Democrats and Republicans mobilize within churches that should be considered OVERT activity considering the parties are just acting as a surrogate for particular candidates.

Churches should definitely be active in the "issues", but not to the extent they advance (or retard) a political party. It may be a fine line but it's pretty obvious that some entities (Focus on the Family, Family Research Council) regularly cross it.
 

Steeplerot

Lifer
Mar 29, 2004
13,051
6
81
Immigration is not a political issue, it is a civil rights one, but yeah, all churches should pay taxes I agree.
 
Jun 27, 2005
19,251
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Tax laws and constitution aside... The fastest way to divide your congregation and wreck your church is to bring politics to the pulpit.

When I was a kid our pastor noticed that someone had posted up a bunch of pro-life stuff on the church bullitain board. He took it all down. His reasoning was that he was not going to let a controversial issue like abortion divide his church. The church is there to worship and praise, and politics has no place in that.

What Mahoney is doing might not be in violation of any specific statute but it's not a healthy thing where his church is concerned.
 

shrumpage

Golden Member
Mar 1, 2004
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Originally posted by: Steeplerot
Immigration is not a political issue, it is a civil rights one, but yeah, all churches should pay taxes I agree.

Should musems, little league, animal shelter and religous based charities all pay taxes too?
 

Steeplerot

Lifer
Mar 29, 2004
13,051
6
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Musems, little league, animal shelter and religous based charities are not a clandestine form of governing a person as a religion is.
 

shrumpage

Golden Member
Mar 1, 2004
1,304
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Originally posted by: Steeplerot
Musems, little league, animal shelter and religous based charities are not a clandestine form of governing a person as a religion is.


No, but they all fall under the same code for tax exempt.


edited: changed shelter to exempt