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Lawsuit Attacks Billy Graham, Bishop for Saying Vote Pro-Life

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 11/15/12 2:33 PM

National

A prominent atheist group has filed a lawsuit with the IRS attacking evangelical pastor Billy Graham and a Catholic bishop for urging voters to vote pro-life in the 2012 presidential election.

In October, Graham urged Christians to vote their pro-life values and his organization, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, ran full-page newspaper advertisements in a number of newspapers across the country, urging voters to vote for candidates that support biblical values of life and religious liberty.

“The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren, and this great nation is crucial.  As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this could be my last,” he said. “I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.  Vote for biblical values this November 6th, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.”

Meanwhile, Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois wrote a letter he instructed priests to read in parish churches that took President Barack Obama and politicians who favor abortion to task — saying they are rejecting Jesus.

Bishop Jenky instructed priests in the Diocese of Peoria to read a letter to churchgoers that cautions them about President Obama and pro-abortion members of the U.S. Senate who have rejected attempts to make it so the Obama HHS mandate does not force Catholic churches, businesses and organizations to pay for abortion-inducing drugs for women.

“This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent in the American political and legal system,” Bishop Jenky wrote. “Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord. They are objectively guilty of grave sin.”

The Freedom from Religion Foundation, an atheist group, filed a federal lawsuit yesterday saying the Internal Revenue Service is violating the U.S. Constitution by allowing tax-exempt churches and religious organizations to engage in politics.

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“Its lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Madison argues that the IRS is not enforcing the federal tax code, which prohibits tax-exempt religious organizations from electioneering. Not enforcing it is a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment and a violation of equal protection rights because the same preferential treatment is not provided to other tax-exempt organizations such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the lawsuit contends,” according to AP. “The lawsuit, which was filed against IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, asks that the court order Shulman to initiate enforcement of the electioneering restrictions against churches and religious organizations.”

“It also asks that the IRS initiate legal action against any churches or religious organizations that are believed to be violating the restrictions,” AP says.