Sunday, May 19, 2013

IRS: 'Tell us what you pray about'

From Yahoo News:

IRS asked anti-abortion group about content of public prayers
While applying with the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status in 2009, an Iowa-based anti-abortion group was asked to provide information about its members' prayer meetings, documents sent by an IRS official to the organization reveal. 
On June 22, 2009, the Coalition for Life of Iowa received a letter from the IRS office in Cincinnati, Ohio, that oversees tax exemptions requesting details about how often members pray and whether their prayers are "considered educational."

The Left's interpretation of the First Amendment: you can't pray in school because it violates the non-constitutional "separation of church and state".

But if you peacefully assemble for the redress of grievances and you pray privately, the IRS demands: 'tell us what you pray about'.   


  1. Despicable.
    Talk about brazen.
    But I suppose I am a paranoid for thinking this is yet another sign of government out of control?

  2. It took me about 15 seconds to find an incident in which the IRS audited a liberal body for similar reasons under the Bush administration (a liberal church in which the minister in a sermon criticized the invasion of Iraq). A Democrat politician wondered why the GOP didn't join him in criticizing the IRS.

    There are a number of hypotheses that occur to me:

    1. The IRS under Democrat administrations audit conservative bodies and the IRS under Republican administrations audit liberal bodies.

    2. The IRS audits both liberal and conservative bodies, but liberal bodies under Democrat administrations don't complain and conservative bodies under Republican bodies also don't complain. And the opposite also applies, including conservative bodies being more likely to complain about audits under Democrat administrations, and liberal bodies less likely.

    3. There are more conservative bodies, so the IRS is going to be auditing more conservative bodies than liberal ones.

    No matter how many cases you quote adding to the handful of cases in which the IRS audits conservative bodies, you're not distinguishing between the hypotheses. To do that, you'd need to know how many audits the IRS is doing nationwide of charitable bodies - and how many are explicitly liberal or conservative. And how it's changed over the years, comparing Democrat to Republican administrations.

    And if you think that Obama is targeting conservative bodies deliberately through the IRS, then there should be written directives from his administration to the IRS, which surely would have leaked, because there must be Republicans and Independents in the IRS, including in high positions.

    Pointing to conservative bodies only being audited (and asserting without evidence that liberal bodies aren't being audited) is a logical fallacy similar to claiming that miracles due to prayer occur, because a person with cancer with a 1 in 10,000 chance of being cured by treatment or spontaneously, recovers after being prayed for - without considering the numbers of people who survive with or without prayer. To determine whether 'miracle' cures rise above statistical noise.

    1. None of your gibberish is relevant, because the IRS has admitted targeting conservatives selectively using key words that correlate with conservative organizations.

      If you believe that the IRS is not targeting conservatives, your argument is with the IRS.

    2. Michael,

      And the IRS hasn't been targeting liberal bodies using other words? Liberal bodies won't be identified using words such as 'tea party'.

      Your evidence is no better than case reports, clinically. You need to do a controlled study, instead of relying on anecdotes and testimony. And anyway, the IRS in doing its job of doing audits is hardly evidence that the Obama administration is attacking its opponents by using the IRS politically. You don't have a 'smoking gun'.

    3. The IRS official in charge of the tax-exempt division apologized for targeting conservatives, and the IRS head resigned.

      Smoking. Gun.

    4. Michael,

      No. There's no 'smoking gun' linking Obama and the IRS audits.

    5. Yeah, sure. No 'smoking gun' linking Henry II with the murder of Thomas a Beckett either.

  3. No smoking gun yet, though it's also irrelevant.

    Look at the words used to determine who would and wouldn't be audited. Look at the intrusive and irrelevant questions they were asked. Look at the constitutional rights they were required to forfeit in order to qualify for nonprofit status. Then look at the sheer number of conservative organizations targeted.

    You've compared that to one church, and you assume that the church was targeted because of one sermon. Not likely. There were plenty of churches that spoke out against Iraq. It's more likely that this church was audited for entirely nonpolitical reasons.

    The Torch

  4. Let's not forget that they turned confidential tax information over to ProPublica, that they turned confidential tax information for NOM over to the Human Rights Campaign (militant homosexual group), or the confidential tax information of pro-life groups over to the abortion industry.

    You're going to have to work a lot harder to draw a parallel here, Bachfiend.

    The Torch