Religious Discrimination Against Supporters of Biblical Marriage Must Be Stopped

By Bunni Pounds Published on May 4, 2023

When the Internal Revenue Service denied Christians Engaged our tax-exempt status in the summer of 2021, my jaw hit the floor.

Christians Engaged had just passed 18 months of operations. We were a new nonprofit with one goal in mind — educating the Body of Christ to positively affect the civic arena from a Christian perspective.

My jaw dropped, but I was even more dumbfounded after I read the denial letter: “[b]ible teachings are typically affiliated with the [Republican] party and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under IRC Section 501(c)(3).”

The IRS went on to say:

Information you present and on your website is not neutral. You instruct individuals on how Christians should use the Bible and vote the Bible. …

For example, you educate believers on national issues that are central to their belief in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. Specifically, you educate Christians on what the bible says in areas where they can be instrumental including the areas of sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, biblical justice, freedom of speech, defense, and borders and immigration, U.S. and Israel relations.

“Biblical Teachings” Shouldn’t be a Source of Discrimination

At Christians Engaged, we play by the rules. We never endorse candidates or political parties. We simply educate Christians from all backgrounds on their civic duties. We teach a biblical worldview, and how to build healthy habits of prayer, voting and engagement in the lives of believers. We preach not the donkey or the elephant but rather the lamb. We are a discipleship ministry with an activation component to help the Church positively impact our government through our Christian faith and biblically based values.

For the IRS to say that biblical teachings could jeopardize one’s tax status would have set a dangerous and unprecedented standard. Putting aside its arbitrary and capricious nature, under this new and blatantly unconstitutional standard, every Christian non-profit, including churches, could lose their tax statuses.

We have a small window of opportunity to shut the door on the federal government discriminating against us for our beliefs concerning marriage.

Luckily, with the help of our friends at First Liberty Institute, we fought the IRS and 21 days after we filed our appeal — we won. President Biden’s IRS granted Christians Engaged our tax status.

With our 501(c)3 status safely in hand, we have built the only nationwide Christian voter mobilization system for all 50 states and are actively training Christians to positively engage in their communities and develop a biblical perspective on the hot topics of the day.

You would think our difficulties with the federal government would be over. But the battle is far from finished for all of us.

Our American culture is changing radically and unpredictably. We all know this to be true.

What the Future May Hold for Us

In my lifetime, President Clinton, a Democrat, signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a bill that then-Senator now-President Biden supported. But today, with the ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ passing last Congress in a lame-duck session, every non-profit resisting the cultural sirens of today stands directly in the line of fire of Biden’s overzealous and radical bureaucrats ready to implement the worst parts of the Respect for Marriage Act.

If Biden’s bureaucrats implement the law their way — just like they have with the Inflation Reduction Act — my experience with Christians Engaged will look like a walk in the park.

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The Respect for Marriage Act includes a dangerous private right of action that could result in hordes of leftist lawyers descending on religious non-profits with frivolous and costly lawsuits. Think Masterpiece Cakeshop on steroids. In layman’s terms, this means that your favorite religious non-profit could be forced to choose between serving the poor or serving God and keeping a lawyer on retainer.

These millions of Americans and religious organizations and institutions desperately need affirmative protections in federal law.

The Roy Amendment Can Help

Lucky for me and the millions of God-fearing Americans, Congressman Chip Roy is leading the fight to ensure that these protections are included in federal law. With almost 30 of his colleagues, Rep. Roy sent letters petitioning House appropriators to include language prohibiting the federal government from discriminating against religious schools, faith-based organizations and businesses, and nonprofits like Christians Engaged that hold doctrinal statements that are sincerely biblical.

Just as the Hyde Amendment shields the conscience of pro-life Americans from funding heinous and barbaric abortions, the Roy Amendment would protect the millions of faithful Christians and organizations from government discrimination.

With Republicans writing this year’s appropriations bills, we have a small window of opportunity to shut the door on the federal government discriminating against us for our beliefs concerning marriage.

I believe that religious liberty and free exercise will define our generation.

We are now — as a nation — in the Valley of Decision.

Today, right now, call your Member of Congress and make sure they are joining the ranks of the brave who are pushing for the Roy Amendment to be added into the appropriations process.

 

Bunni Pounds is president of Christians Engaged. She is a lover of Jesus, former congressional candidate, 16-year political consultant, and preacher of the Gospel. Connect with her on Facebook @bunnipoundsTX, Twitter @bunnipounds, or Instagram @bunnipounds.

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