IRS Needs to Enforce Prohibition Against Partisan Politicking by Churches

Cincinnati Campaign Signs at Church Reported

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation complained to the Internal Revenue Service today about campaign signs for Ken Blackwell, Ohio's controversial Secretary of State who is running for governor, spotted on the property of a Cincinnati church.

An Ohio Foundation member observed the campaign signs about 5 p.m. yesterday. He notified the Democratic Party about the IRS infraction later that day.

When he phoned the Foundation office this morning to report the violation, he was asked if he could photograph the campaign signs seen at The Encampment, 2129 West Bend Road, Cincinnati, Ohio. When he went back to the church, the largest sign, which had been planted near the church marquee, had been removed, but a "Blackwell" yard sign remained.

"The Encampment should be sanctioned for its blatant, illegal endorsement of a candidate for public office," Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor wrote IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson.

Noting that a movement of evangelical/fundamentalist "patriot pastors" has been openly and illegally promoting Blackwell's candidacy, the Foundation suggested that the IRS immediately notify Ohio churches and their political entities that partisan politicking, much less endorsement, by tax-exempt entities will not be tolerated by the IRS.

A large group of liberal clergymen from Ohio twice this year called on the IRS to take action against church politicking.

"The nation is watching what happens in Ohio. Will the IRS look the other way, or will it enforce its prohibition of partisan politicking by tax-exempt entities?" Gaylor asked.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., is a national association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics) that has been working since 1978 to keep church and state separate.
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The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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FFRF is a member of Atheist Alliance International.