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IRS Caught on Tape Telling Nonprofit: “Keep Your Faith to Yourself”

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 6/10/13 3:37 PM

National

The IRS scandal is deepening as a new tape has been released today showing a disturbing phone call the Internal Revenue Service placed to a non-profit organization.

Alliance Defending Freedom, a pro-life legal group, made the audio available today of IRS officials telling a group that provides support to women in abusive pregnancy situations to keep its faith to itself. In the recorded phone conversation, an IRS agent lectures the president of the organization about forcing its religion and beliefs on others and inaccurately explains that the group must remain neutral on issues such as abortion.

ADF is providing legal representation for the group — which did not receive its tax-exempt status until last week after waiting nearly two and a half years after applying for it.

“The IRS is a tax collector; it shouldn’t be allowed to be the speech and belief police,” said Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “The current scandal isn’t new but has merely exposed the abuse of power that characterizes this agency and threatens our fundamental freedoms.”

ADF tells LifeNews that, in January 2011, Pro-Life Revolution, which operates from Texas under all three purposes for whcih religious groups can obtain nonprofit status, filed an application for tax-exempt status with the IRS. Four months later, the IRS sent a letter requesting “more information” and an explanation of how the organization’s activities are educational or charitable even though IRS rules specify that an organization need only operate for “one or more” of the three exempt purposes. President of Pro-Life Revolution Ania Joseph nonetheless replied and answered the IRS’s questions.

ADF indicates Joseph received a call from IRS Exempt Organization Specialist Sherry Wan in March 2012.

Wan told her that, in order to obtain a tax exemption, “You cannot force your religion or force your beliefs on somebody else…. You have to know your boundaries. You have to know your limits. You have to respect other people’s beliefs.”

In February of this year, the IRS requested additional information in another letter and attempted to apply a standard for tax exemption to Pro-Life Revolution that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held to be unconstitutional in 1980. Alliance Defending Freedom pointed this out in a letter responding to the IRS, which finally granted tax-exempt status to the organization in a letter received Thursday.

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“The power to tax is the power to destroy,” added Stanley. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We cannot allow the IRS to ruthlessly dictate against legitimate non-profits simply because it does not approve of the organization’s mission. It must be held accountable.”

“The IRS has approved applications for tax exemption for pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood and Life and Liberty for Women,” ADF said.

Phone call between Ania Joseph and IRS agent Sherry Wan: Full audio (10:13) |  Full transcript