I had a piece in the Guardian this week about the history of conservative grievances against the Internal Revenue Service:
For anyone who knows the history of the religious right, the possible revocation of tax-exempt status for claimed religious belief is a potent flashpoint. In his book, Thy Kingdom Come: An Evangelical’s Lament,religion historian Randall Balmer argues that contrary to conventional wisdom, which Balmar calls the “abortion myth”, evangelical voters were not propelled to political activism by the supreme court’s 1973 decision in Roe v Wade.
Instead, the issue that mobilized these voters was the IRS’s 1975 revocation of the tax-exempt status of the segregationist Bob Jones University. Rightwing religious architect Paul Weyrich told Balmer that it was “the federal government’s moves against Christian schools” that actually “enraged the Christian community”.
Now some pro-life groups — none of whom were deprived 501(c)(3) status — are complaining that the IRS harassed them with questions. In the piece, I also discuss why, under the law, some of the questions might have been appropriate.
(And the writer doesn’t write the headlines, you know.)