IRS loses again in fight over records of anti-Christian scheme

Back in the days of Obama, in Washington, D.C., the Internal Revenue Service launched a strategy to discriminate against Christian organizations and deny them tax-exempt status, or at least delay it.

The principals in the scheme were identified and recanted, and the government even paid out some damages.

But that doesn’t mean the leftist agenda was abandoned.

In fact, it was not quite a year ago that the American Center for Law and Justice took the Joe Biden version of the IRS to court over its continuing war against Christians, including one group called Christians Engaged.

In that case, the IRS put into writing the wildly untenable claim that the group’s beliefs about Christianity, the “sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, biblical justice, laws vs. lawlessness, freedom of speech, religious liberty, government and business ethics, human trafficking, fiscal responsibility in government budgeting, defense, borders and immigration, U.S. and Israel relations” all are “typically affiliated with the [Republican] party and candidates.”

The IRS soon had to back off, and it eventually granted Christians Engaged the status it needed to operate.

But there were so many questions left that the ACLJ filed a Freedom of Information Act request, then a lawsuit, over the IRS plans to target Christians with “discrimination.”

Now the organization has announced it has obtained a preliminary victory in the case, which is not yet over.

The ACLJ said in a report, “No government agency should target Americans over their political beliefs or religious convictions. That is simply un-American. But once again, emboldened by the Biden administration’s leftist ideology-driven agenda, the IRS is targeting conservative and Christian organizations.”

“Remember when we told you how the IRS initially refused tax-exempt status to a religious organization – Christians Engaged – because, among other absurd reasons, they encourage prayer for our leaders? In fact, as inconceivable as it may seem, the IRS actually listed the organization’s beliefs in prayer and Biblical values among the reasons in their letter for rejecting Christians Engaged from tax-exempt status,” the organization reported.

When it followed up with a FOIA process, the Biden administration ignored it, then refused to cooperate, the ACLJ said, so it pursued a legal action.

“This time we must’ve hit some kind of nerve. In response to our lawsuit, the Biden IRS filed a Motion to Dismiss. That means they asked the court to terminate our case before the court even had a chance to hear any evidence or make any rulings on the requests we brought in our lawsuit,” the organization said.

But the court, rejecting the IRS’ demand, said, “[T]he IRS has provided nothing more than conclusory assertions and oblique hints about the purported vague and burdensome nature of the request, without explaining why each category of records requested is vague and burdensome in context. . . . And although the IRS did include a declaration in support of its motion, that declaration also is conclusory about these alleged deficiencies.”

The ACLJ said its case now will proceed, “just as the law allows.”

The IRS failed in its attempt to block the records from the American public, and “that’s a win,” the organization said.

The ACLJ has long experience with the IRS and its agenda. It previously represented clients who got hundreds of targeting letters from the IRS, insisting that the groups give up their constitutional rights.

The IRS demanded questions about prayer and more be answered.

Back then, IRS executive Lois Lerner ended up issuing an apology and a federal court approved a consent decree “prohibiting the IRS from ever targeting these Americans for their beliefs again – a court order that is still enforceable to this day,” the ACLJ said.

“And yet, here we are again,” the report said. “Different president, same tactics.”

Under the Obama administration, Lerner left the IRS. Also, dozens of conservative organizations got settlement checks from the government for being “wrongfully targeted for their political beliefs.”

Many of the groups got checks for about $14,000, and some were larger in the $3.5 million resolution. A 2013 inspector general’s report found the IRS had singled out tea party and other conservative groups for negative treatment sometimes for nothing other than the sound of their names.

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